“NEVER give up.”

This is the motto in Ethan Jose Dacua’s young life of eight years.

Ethan is Sinulog Film Festival’s best child performer for the film “Pamilya Sinug.”

True to his motto, Ethan’s mother Ching said that the young actor doesn’t get tired and he never gives up.

“Even if he did three takes, he will still try. He doesn’t know any tiredness bitaw,” said Ching.

In “Pamilya Sinug,” Ethan plays the lead character Piolo Mozart Sinug. The film’s director, Chloe Veloso, also took home the best director trophy in the Sinulog Film Festival.

The film revolves around Piolo, whose birthday coincidentally falls on a Sinulog date. Unfortunately, the rest of the family gets too busy that Piolo is left home on his very special day. The film was written by Badidi Labra and presented by Tres Banderitas Productions.

The film’s goal was to garner laughs while instilling the value of family.

Ethan’s portrayal of Piolo earned him praise especially from his doting three-year-old spunky sister Jarryliana Belle (Yana), who told SunStar Cebu that her kuya is “Achiever!”

Truly, the boy’s natural and unstudied acting convinced the judges--along with so many viewers, many of whom gave him a “thumbs up”—that Ethan was the best child actor among the pool.

Ethan’s talent seems to be genetically inherited. His mother Ching Pelayo Dacua was a beauty titlist who hosted local morning shows. She is currently a senior marketing officer of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. His father, Jason Jose Dacua, is a keyboardist of the band Stagecrew. He is also a medical technologist of the Provincial Health Office.

No wonder Ethan never shies away from the stage.

But when asked where he got his talent from, Ethan said, “From daddy.” Indeed, aside from acting, he also loves music. He plays the guitar and ukulele. He sings, too.

Seemingly quiet, this young achiever still keeps a very energetic side. He enjoys playing and teasing his adorable baby sister Yana, who loves to follow him around.

When it comes to acting, Ethan has two challenges: memorizing long lines and “I’m always laughing.”

Jason explained that the “Pamilya Sinug” set was so relaxed that everyone felt comfortable just laughing behind the scenes.

“I think the plus factor is the environment,” said Ching of her son’s acting ability. “He was comfortable with the director and with the people around him. I don’t think he thinks about it as work.”

Ethan is no stranger to the camera. He started working when he was four years old. At eight, Ethan is already well versed with how advertisements work.

Does Ethan look familiar? One may have already seen him in the Kiddilets Paracetamol commercial where Ethan was one of the sick kids. He was also the cute kid in the Breadbox commercial, where he acted with his mom Ching.

Ching is a very supportive mom. She usually practices with Ethan—reading and learning scripts. But Ching admitted that it is Jason who could finish the job quickly.

Jason explained that he has a friendly relationship with Ethan, which is probably why the younger Dacua just wants to please him.

“Because we’re boys man,” said Jason.

Jason also imposes that Ethan be more active rather than spend a lot of his time playing online games like other children. Ethan loves to play and to watch cartoons.

Despite having a blossoming career, Ethan also works hard in school. The third grader picked Science as his favorite subject “because of the animals.”

Both parents still prefer that Ethan finish his studies—hopefully become a doctor—to balance his love for acting and performing. But Ching and Jason said they will never force Ethan to do something he doesn’t want to do. If acting is his passion, then they will support Ethan.

Another thing that is important to both Ching and Jason as parents is the sense of responsibility. The couple makes sure that the children grow to be responsible people, especially Ethan, who is the oldest of three children. The younger siblings are Yana and Liam.

“I always tell him to protect Yana because if we will be gone, it will be just them,” said Jason.

Jason is so proud of Ethan’s work ethic. He believes that Ethan is more hardworking and a tad more independent than some children his age. This was evident when the young man took the stage on his own when he accepted his best child performer trophy.

“Thank you, everyone, especially to Sr. Sto. Niño. Pit Senyor!” Ethan said upon receiving his award.

Fans can soon catch Ethan in CCTN’s annual Lenten special.

When asked who his favorite actor is, Ethan answered in jest: “Myself.” But he said that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson also gets his stamp of approval.(Contributed by Tessa Frances Aguilar)