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Candy Pangilinan Recalls When Son Was Not Allowed To Graduate: 'Paano 'Pag Nagwala?'
PHOTO BY (FROM LEFT) Instagram/candypangilinan, Instagram/celestinegonzaga
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    Candy Pangilinan is touching the hearts of parents everywhere.

    The actress-comedienne recently guested on one of Toni Gonzaga's YouTube videos and shared her parenting journey, from her husband leaving her, becoming a single mom when her son Quentin was just one month old, to suddenly having to navigate how to raise a child diagnosed with autism and ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactive disorder).

    The red flags were all there, Candy shared, even before she and her ex-husband tied the knot. When she got pregnant with Quentin, she said her husband was already telling her he’d be leaving her, referring to the baby as a “souvenir.” After a month of giving birth, he left her.

    “Hindi na siya umuwi. Nagpaalam naman siya sa ‘kin. Sinabi niya mag-go-golf siya.”

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    Candy says he would call her crazy because she would accuse him of having an affair. This was why her husband said he abandoned her.

    Suddenly a single mom, she was processing all her emotions by herself. This prompted her to seek the opinion of a psychologist, if she was indeed out of her mind.

    “Hindi naman daw, dahil totoong hindi ko naman bra ‘yon!” she even managed to joke. “Pero ‘di ba, totoo nga ‘yon. Love is really blind, but your neighbors can see.

    "People around you, they see the truth, pero ikaw hindi mo nakikita. Ano ka e, ang gusto mo lang paniwalaan, dun ka. So hindi ka nakikinig sa iba.”

    It was a good thing Candy’s sister brought her to a spiritual counselor, the advice of whom she says marked a turning point in her life. At this point, she realized that there were so many signs she had chosen to ignore.

    “‘You know, Candy, ganito lang ‘yan. Kunwari reregaluhan mo ‘ko ng Lacoste na shirt. Tapos pag punta mo sa bahay ko, nakita mo yung shirt na Lacoste na bagong-bagong binigay mo sa ‘kin, ginagawa kong basahan. Sasama ba loob mo?’”

    Quentin was diagnosed with autism and ADHD. Even as a toddler, Candy said they had already noticed he was different and that he was not displaying the typical milestones of children his age. It slowly dawned on her that having therapy sessions and medication would be enough to deal with it.

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    Candy, however, felt no bitterness or resentment. “Ang totoong sinabi ko kay Lord is, ‘Help.’ ‘Lord, Father God, be a father to me and a father to Quentin.’”

    She even considers events like the collapse of her marriage a blessing because it helped prepared her to raise Quentin. If not for her child, she might still be living her old life.

    “[Quentin] is my ticket to heaven kasi grabe yung tinuro niya sa ‘kin. Yung pasensya, yung tolerance, saka yung to live simply, yung ang simple ng buhay. Sobra siyang grateful and appreciative of simple things.”

    Candy shares three nuggets of wisdom that she got from her spiritual counselor: “Do not compete, do not conform, do not compare, so your life will be satisfied and content.”

    “‘Di ba, habang yung ibang bata nagpapakitaan, ‘Grades, o,’ ako, iba. ‘Pasado, o.’ Yung lahat hino-honor ng kung ano-anong mga medal, ‘Naku, best attendance! ‘Di nag-a-absent ‘yan ‘saka ‘di nale-late. Ayaw niya, e. ‘Saka best in costume ‘yan. Kahit anong costume susuutin niya.”

    As a mother, Candy says the most painful thing is seeing Quentin go through so much rejection, like when kids won’t play with him at parties. She also recalls the time she broke into tears and pleaded with Quentin’s principal— who pulled the boy out of rehearsal for Kinder graduation (for the third year) — because it would be embarrassing for the school if he throws a tantrum.

    "Nakita ng principal, pinull-out nga. Punta ko sa principal, nagtanong ako, 'Bakit po hindi siya ga-graduate?

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    "Sabi niya, 'Hindi lang naman po kinder ang ga-graduate, may ibang levels din. Paano 'pag nagwala ang bata, nakakahiya.'"

    Candy eventually had to stage a 'solo' graduation at their barangay's plaza. She invited friends from church and Quentin's yaya acted as a  classmate.

    Toni asked, "Nagwala ba siya nung 'solo' graduation?" Candy replied, "Hindi."

    When people ask Candy how she is able to bear all these challenges, she honestly does not know, and that moms will just “make it work.”

    “Napagsasabay lahat. I think all mothers are like that. Because alam mong kailangan mo ‘tong gawin kasi ‘yon ang purpose mo.

    "Mothers are made for a purpose and God will help you do it. Make it happen because that is your purpose," she says.

    Watch Candy’s heart-to-heart talk with with Toni here:

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