Candy Pangilinan could not help but become emotional as she opened up about her struggles as a single mother of a child with special needs.
In an interview with Toni Gonzaga for her vlog, the comedian and TV and theater actress tearfully recalled the challenges she faced while raising her son, Quentin, who has autism.
“Actually ‘yung rejection, marami kasi eh. Sobra, ang dami. [‘Yun ang pinakamasakit] for a mother. Kasi sa kanya wala lang eh,” she said.
“‘Yung aattend ka ng party walang naglalaro sa anak mo. So si Quentin, umabot sa ‘pag alam niyang aattend ng party, nagdadala ng sariling laruan. Siguro alam niyang walang maglalaro sa kanya. Tapos dahil single mom ako, I had experienced also na ‘yung sa school, hindi ako tinatanggap kasi single mom,” she shared.
Candy then recalled a time that her son wasn’t allowed by the school principal to attend his own graduation ceremony, in fear that he would cause a scene during the event.
“Naiyak ako sa principal. Nagmakaawa ako. [Pero] ayaw pumayag... Nung pauwi na kami [galing school]... Ito na si Quentin, nung time na ‘yun hindi pa magaling magsalita. Sabi niya, ‘What’s wrong?’ Sabi ko, ‘Nothing.’ Tapos sabi ko sa kanya, ‘Quentin, do you want to go back there later? Practice tayo ng going up and down the stage for your graduation.’ ... Hinawakan niya ‘yung kamay ko, sabi niya, ‘No, Ma. I’m good. I’m okay.’ Lalo ako naiyak. Kasi parang sinabi sa akin ng anak ko, ‘Hindi na, Ma. Okay lang. Okay na tayo,'" she recalled.
“Sa awa ko, kinaibigan ko ‘yung barangay captain namin. ‘Di ba gumagawa ako ng events, so meron akong red carpet. Gumawa ako ng sariling graduation sa plaza. Kami kami lang. Nag-invite ako ng mga taga-church, taga-palakpak. Grumaduate siya sa plaza namin," she revealed.
When asked by Toni if her son threw a tantrum during the ceremony, Candy answered: "Hindi."
“Ang tingin ko, all parents, all mothers, who go through that, siguro gagawa rin sila ng paraan to rise above it. Because I think all mothers [want the best for their kids]," she added.
In the same conversation with Toni, Candy said she considers her son a miracle.
"He's my ticket to heaven. Kasi grabe 'yung tinuro niya sa 'kin. 'Yung pasensya, 'yung tolerance, tsaka 'yung to live simply. 'Yung ang simple ng buhay. Sobra siyang grateful and appreciative of simple things. Dati kasi, ako kailangan mo akong i-impress. Ngayon hindi na. Simple lang, nakakatuwa," she said.
Quentin is Candy's son with her former husband Gilbert Alvarado.
In 2017, the actress launched a book entitled Mommy Dear: Our Special Love, where she opened up about the ups and downs of raising a child with special needs.