Prince of Pinoy Pop Dingdong Avanzado recalls changing his screen name twice

At a glance

  • After 12 years, Dingdong Avanzado is geared to make a highly awaited comeback to the concert stage.

Dingdong Avanzado

The Original Prince of Pinoy Pop, Dingdong Avanzado, will perform on stage at The Theatre at Solaire on July 19, 2024, to delight music lovers anew. 

After 12 years, Dingdong Avanzado is geared to make a highly awaited comeback to the concert stage. This comeback guarantees a remarkable experience, showcasing a blend of cherished classics and exhilarating new music.

His last major concert was staged at the Music Museum in 2012. "But in 2018, I did it with Jessa, the last major show we did together in Manila," said Dingdong during an interview in Quezon City recently.

Be clear: Dingdong has always been a part of the music scene, performing small shows with Jessa both locally and internationally. However, this year's concert at Solaire will mark his first major solo performance in 12 years.

Dingdong's family leads the lineup - his wife Jessa Zaragoza and daughter Jayda, his friend Randy Santiago, and, in a very special appearance - singer-songwriter Pablo of SB19, whom Dingdong has expressed a deep admiration for. 

Also among the guests are Idol Philippines Season 2 winner Khimo, Tawag ng Tanghalan Grand Duets champions Marielle Montellano and JM dela Cerna, and singer and award-winning actor LA Santos.

Dingdong chose each guest, and the singer-songwriter specially selected the songs they would sing with him. 

"Talking with my guests about the numbers we'll be doing and then discussing the details with my musical director, Elmer Blancaflor, and concert director, Jay Klio Bermudez, excited us all! We can't wait to perform these for the audience on July 19," Dingdong enthused. 


37 years ago

A successful singer-composer, Dingdong, 55, with a rich catalog of popular Filipino hits, recalled how he started in show business 37 years ago.

"My first television appearance was for Penthouse Live! with Martin (Nievera) and Pops (Fernandez). Parang I sang 'Leave A Tender Moment Alone' or 'Trapped in A Stairway.' Yun ang mga influences ko noon. Parang, I was wearing a cardigan. Uso yun noon di ba? That was in 1987."

"Mga 1986 umaaligid na ako sa industry. I was supposed to be launched with the New Minstrels. Apat kami noon. I watched Jo-Anne Lorenzana's concert in a bar in Greenhills. Roxanne Lapus saw me there. Sabi ko, 'Hi Roxanne!' Sabi niya, 'There you are! I've been looking for you!' Sabi ko, 'Really?'

'Sabi niya, 'Are you interested in becoming a solo artist?' Sabi ko, 'Yeah! Sure!' So sabi niya, 'Lets meet!' One weekend, we met. Her first question to me when we sat was, 'Do you think you're good-looking?'

"I paused. Sabi ko, 'What a question.' Sabi ko, 'Yes.' Sabi niya, 'Good! Because in this industry, it's 70 percent looks and 30 percent talent. I remember Roxanne," he said.

Dingdong mentioned that he misses Roxanne, who passed away before the pandemic. He said Roxanne helped him a lot when starting in showbiz.


What's in a name?

But did you know that Dingdong was not the first screen name they thought of for him? The singer gladly recalled how they settled on Dingdong.

"My real name is Fernando, and I am named after my grandfather. But my two grandfathers had Dings in their nicknames. My lolo Fernando, ang nickname nya is Nanding. And then my lolo on the father's side, his nickname was Ding, whose name is Fidel.

"But my grandfather, kaibigan nila dati si late Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee, nicknamed Dingdong. He was called Dingdong Teehankee. Noong time na yun, parang na fascinate sila at parang ang ganda raw ng pangalan na Dingdong. So ginawa nilang Dingdong," he said.

For a time, Dingdong asked his mom about the origin of his name. His mom answered: "Pasalamat ka Dingdong ang pangalan mo. Ang dali-daling i-recall."

"Sabi ko naman, sometimes it takes effort to take me seriously if your name is Dingdong. Lalo na sa States, I made fun of myself when I performed. They laughed about my name, but I told them that in the Philippines, Dingdong means cute.

"But when Roxanne Lapus discovered me, they changed my name. They tried to change my name. My name was supposed to be Easy Avanzado. Sabi ko, 'Why?' People have known me as Dingdong all my life. But thanks to Eat Bulaga. Dingdong remained. 

"They put it on a poster already. I was introduced in a show as Easy Avanzado. Roxanne said I was easy on the eyes. That's why it was Easy Avanzado. I was 19 at that time. Before, I auditioned for The New Minstrels. 

"Andoon pa nga si Boy Abunda noon. They like changing names. Noon kasi uso yung Keno, mga one word names. Si Ogie (Alcasid) nga Rock pa ang name sa kanya. Kasi noon bato-bato si Ogie nag-gi-gym kaya Rock ang name niya.

"Buti na lang noong nasa Eat Bulaga ako, wala si Roxanne noon. So they asked me, 'Ano ba talaga yung name na ilalagay namin?' I had to make a choice. So sabi ko Dingdong. And the rest is history," Dingdong said.

However, the renowned musician declared that plans to change his name did not end there.

"In the 10th year, they considered changing my name again because I was at a crossroads.

"So sinabi ako ano ba ang pangalan na gusto ninyo? Ilabas n''yo? Wala talagang nag-stick. So ganito na lang, 'Umabot ako ng sampung taon and I think I would live and die as Dingdong Avanzado. Tinangkilik na ako. So they agreed and put out the album. Nag-platinum, ibig sabihin gusto ka ng tao," he said.


The sound of Dingdong

Dingdong is man behind the hit songs "Basta't Kasama Kita," Maghihintay Sa'yo," "Makapiling Ka Sana," Tatlong Beinte Singko Lang," and "Wish I Could." He also wrote the ballads "Paalam Na" and Much Longer." He is grateful that his songs are still being played on the radio today.

"I'm truly grateful. Hindi lahat ng artists lasted their careers like this. Thirty-seven years later, I'm still performing. It doesn't matter how big the audience is. You're still around as long as your fans grow up with your music."

"Basta't Kasama Kita" has experienced many versions, it became a movie, teleserye, a duet (kami ni Jessa Zaragosa). Until now it's still there," he also said.

"Paalam Na" was a letter I wrote, which Rachel (Alejandro) made into a Tagalog poem. And then she said, 'Can you make it into a song?' I said, 'We're going to make it into a song, and then we broke up?'

"A lot of people can relate to the theme of the song. I stared at a blank wall for a couple of hours, not knowing where to go. This was a poem based on my love letter. I knew the emotions because that was what I was feeling.

"After a while, it hit me. A Barry Manilow song, 'Weekend In New England,' inspired the song. And then tuloy-tuloy na," Dingdong said.


'Thank you, I appreciate it'

Over the years, Dingdong said he made efforts to improve his voice. One of his critics was his daughter Jayda, who commented on his singing voice.

"Surprisingly, it has become higher and stronger. Before, when Jayda heard my songs, she would say, 'Dad, why is your voice like that?' Sabi ko, Jayda, I was only 19 at that time.' It's so thin. Manipis daw. But my range now is higher. Probably it was because of the years I was singing. You keep working on your vocal cords by singing.

"And there was a conscious effort in my 10th year to improve my craft. To make it last, I had to be more than just a pretty face, and people would have to take me seriously.

"So, I attended seminars and workshops, which I had already done before. But my efforts now were deeper. I had a vocal coach. I worked at it.

"Freddie Santos was one of my early mentors. Kasama ko pa nga noon si Regine Velasquez and wala pa akong pangalan noon. We were doing these movement workshops. Ka-partner ko noon si Regine.

"At that time, I was a decade in the business, and Freddie was directing the show. On the mic, he said: 'You know Dingdong, I have to say it. I am impressed at how much you have improved as an artist. Ang laki na ng improvement.' That was on the mic. Sabi ko, 'Thank you. I appreciate it."

Dingdong and Jessa in Australia (Facebook)

Dingdong and Jessa

Dingdong and Jessa successfully hit the concert stage, having sold-out shows in the US and Australia.

"You buy tickets for a concert for the whole experience. We managed to make it work. When you do a concert, you don't just sing the shows. There has to be a story for me. That's the challenge. That allows me to connect with the audience when I have a story. 

"The best concerts that I've watched have that. It's more personal. I like doing all-hits concerts, but if you can do everything in one, it is a complete experience. When I do a show, I'm selling the experience," he said.

Dingdong and Jessa

Advice for young singers

Dingdong also advised young musicians who want to stay in the entertainment business longer.

"Every performance that you do should be your calling card. No matter what. If your performance is lackluster, it will reflect. Magkakaroon ng agam-agam. Kahit na ilang tao pa yan, when you perform the same passion, nararamdaman ng tao yan. That is if you're after longevity. 

"Some artists are focused on being technical, which is fine. We have so many talented artists. But they can do a two-hour show? You have to pour your heart out when you perform. Please don't treat it like a contest. Maraming kontesera ngayon. Ang galing! But the ones who stand out are the ones that you feel. They may not sing perfectly, but if they know how to perform the song correctly, gusto ko yung nararamdaman ko. Of course, you have to be original. Authenticity is what sets you apart," he added.

Tickets to "Dingdong Avanzado, The Original Prince of Pinoy Pop" are now available online at Ticketworld at