Modern family setups — like the ones where two individuals with their own kids come together to form a mixed family — used to be a formula for trouble, a problem too tricky to tread. These days, situations like these are not as complicated, and certainly not that unusual anymore: you see exes becoming friends for their children, and former rivals raising their half-sibling kids harmoniously.
One refreshing sight to behold is the close bond between a stepparent and a stepchild, as in the case of former professional basketball player Chris Tan and his wife Sherilyn Reyes's 19-year-old son Ryle Paolo Santiago. Ryle has been under the care of Chris since he was three years old. Now making a name for himself as a member of the dance group Hashtags on ABS-CBN's noontime show "It's Showtime," Ryle has nothing but good things to say about the man he calls "Dad."
“Sobrang thankful ako sa kanya na hindi niya ako pinabayaan… nakakalimutan ko nga na stepdad ko siya, e," he told Pep.ph in an interview.
“Ang alam ko, totoo ko siyang tatay, ganun siya ka-concerned sa buhay ko, ka-supportive, mapagmahal," he added.
His close relationship with his dad is also evident on social media, where he uses the surname "Tan."
On Instagram, Ryle openly expresses how proud he is of Chris.
Likewise, Chris is just as proud of him.
No one could be happier about this mutual affection the two share than Sherilyn. Even now that she and Chris have their own kids together, Ryle remains their priority, so much so that their plans often revolve around the teenager's schedule.
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"Everything is really adjusted to him. Pag wala sya, wala kaming gagawin. Even up to now. Dahil he's very busy, pag may gusto kaming gawin, e di hintayin natin si Pao," she said in a recent episode of ABS-CBN's morning talk show "Magandang Buhay."
"Mas gusto kong makitang mas close sya sa Daddy nya kesa sa akin. Kasi si Chris, niligawan nya din talaga si Paoie (Ryle) nung time na nag-uumpisa kami."
She also recalled an instance in the past when she, Chris, and Ryle were just starting their life together and they were so hard up. "Yung Christmas namin, pag pinag-uusapan namin, [sabi ko], 'Alam mo bang wala tayong pera nun?' Ang saya-saya ng Pasko nya pero di nya alam, wala kaming pera.
"We just wanted him to feel, 'You're part of this new family', na buy-1-take-1 tayo, hindi pwedeng hindi," she reiterated. Sherilyn and Ryle's biological father, ABS-CBN business unit head Junjun Santiago, separated after four years of marriage, and Sherilyn had to raise her son by herself until Chris came along.
Referring to Chris, Ryle told Pep.ph, “Never ko siyang itinuring na stepdad. Hindi ko 'feel' na Tan ako, kasi Tan talaga ako."