People keep telling Candy Pangilinan that she is lucky to have a child with autism, and she explains why they say such.
“Actually ho, kasi, siguro sinasabi nilang maswerte ka kapag may anak kang may disability kasi bumabait ka bilang magulang,” she explained during her contract signing renewal for Viva Entertainment last Thursday, December 12. “Marami kang ipinagdadasal, marami kang iniingatan, so bumabait ka, tingin ko kaya sinasabi nilang maswerte.”
Apart from minimizing her late-night gimmicks, the comedian-actress believed that she tamed down since having Quentin, the name of her 16-year-old son.
“I have to learn to tame down and calm down for my son to calm down,” she said. “Sabi nga ng doktor ko ‘Candy, nagtataka ka pa kung hyper si Quentin, e ’di ba hyper ka?’ [...] [’Pag] magkasama kaming dalawa, it is the most difficult because I have to calm down. So, doon po ako mas pagod, ’yong pakalmahin ang sarili ko for him to calm down. That’s not me.”
She added that she learned to bite her tongue, meaning to use words properly instead of saying something inappropriate. Quentin also made her see things in a positive light.
“Dati laitera ako. Ngayon, I use proper words because---especially noong hindi pa siya (Quentin) nakakasalita---I learned that kahit hindi pa sila nakakasalita, they absorb everything, hindi lang nila nasasabi, so kailangan puro positive words ’yong lumalabas para ’yon ’yong na-a-absorb niya,” she narrated.
However, the biggest change Quentin has given to Candy is that she has become more grateful when it comes to life.
“I have become more grateful, because [...] there [are] so many things we take for granted,” she said. “’Yon po totoo, kasi ’yong simpleng pagsalita, pagcommunicate, pag-open ng hands, ’yon po ’yong mga bagay na hirap na hirap na ginawa ng anak ko. ’Yong pag-pick up ng 25 cents, ’di ba ho? [There are] so many things we take for granted that I realized ‘Wow, it’s a gift pala.’”
HOW SHE FOUND OUT
When the doctor informed Candy about her child’s condition, at first, she did not understand what it meant that is why she did not go to a stage of denial.
“’Yong sinabi ng doktor na kailangan po ng therapy, um-oo ako kaagad,” she recalled. “Hindi ko ho kasi na-realize, akala ko ’pag nag-therapy, eventually ho, gagaling. It’s only after a while doon ko na-realize [na] ’di pala gumagaling. Lifetime pala ito.”
It was only after when she witnessed other children getting treated in therapy that she realized that having autism is a lifetime thing for her son.
“Hindi pala ’to nakukuha sa Biogesic,” she said in jest. “Hindi nag-sink in agad sa akin kasi noong nasa doktor ako, ang [sabi ko] ‘Oh, sige. Ano hong kailangan? Game. Gawin ho natin ’yan.’ So, hindi ako nag-denial. Dumaan ako doon sa shock, siguro? ’Yong nagsisink-in na ho, doon na ako talaga naiyak.”
When Quentin turned one year old, Candy had already accepted his condition. She recalled that after he was diagnosed with autism, she traveled to the States for a comedy show. It was the late film director Wenn V. Deramas who helped her realize her acceptance during her stay in the USA.
“Dinala ako ni Direk Wenn sa mga center,” she recounted. “Para maintindihan ko. Sa Amerika, dinala ako ni Direk Wenn. Hindi ko alam kung para intindihin ko o parusahan ako, pero, sa bawat city, humahagulgul ako habang nagsa-stand up comedy kami. I really remember that. Sabi ni Direk Wenn sa akin, ‘ito ang pagtrabahuan natin.’”
HER MESSAGE TO PEOPLE
She, then, gave words of wisdom to families who share the same situation, living with a member who has a disability.
“Don’t feel bad about it. You just have to embrace it,” she said. “Ang dami pa rin ho kasing tinatago, nagugulat, kinakabahan, kinahihiya. Actually, ang term ko nga eh bakit kinahihiya? Hindi lang nila alam kung ano po ang gagawin. Ang sa akin lang po ay just embrace the situation given in front of you. Tanggapin lang.”
“Just embrace the situation, accept it, and just go with the flow, and ’yong blessings and miracles will come,” she added. “Doon ho talaga ang simula, eh. ’Yong tigilan na natin na mag-deny na matigas ang ulo, spoiled lang, delayed, kasi the more na we do not accept the reality in front of us, the more na hindi natin matutulungan ’yong bata.”
You are an inspiration to families everywhere, Candy! More power to you and Quentin!