Actress Aiko Melendez has marked a major milestone in her son Andre Yllana's life.
On Sunday, June 13, the actress took to Instagram to share that her son has finished his automobile mechanic course at Don Bosco Technical Institute.
In her post, Aiko said she couldn't be prouder of her "panganay" as she congratulated him on his new achievement.
"Congratulations my Panganay! After so many trials, dramas.... This is legit. You've made your mother so happy and I couldn't be more proud of you! I love you anak! Thank you for keeping your promise. Graduate ka na!" she said.
In a separate post, Aiko could not help but turn emotional as she recalled all the hardships she went through to put her son to school on her own.
"As I write this, I can’t help but be emotional. Una kasi 'di madali yung pinagdaanan ko para mapagtapos ko anak ko. Yes, on my own. Single mom ako 'di ba. Not complaining. I remember there were days na I was lacking in terms of financial at that time. Mader Ogie Diaz somehow knows my story. It’s a story of my ups and downs. Kasi my son was going through a depression at that time. Umabot sa time nag-campus tour kami ng anak ko—from Ateneo, Lourdes, Colf. Pero sabi ko 'di ko susukuan anak ko, igagapang ko 'yan. Panganay ko 'yan gagawin ko ang lahat just to make him finish college," she said.
"Remember nag-artista siya for a time kaso ang dami nangyayari. So I spoke to him and he said he will finish school, and if show bizness is still kind and will welcome him still, babalik sya," she continued. "Few of my friends know hirap ako talaga. Pops Fernadez, Carmina Villarroel-Legaspi, Gelli de Belen ... 'yan ang may alam ng lahat ng luha ko, hirap... May oras sunod sunod tanggap ako nang tanggap ng work to meet our payables and all."
Aiko said another reason she feels bittersweet over her son's graduation was because it had been her late stepfather's dream to see Andre finish school.
"I'm happy and sad kasi dream 'yan ng Daddy Dan Castaneda ko kay Andre Yllana to finish school, kaso wala na siya. So Dad finally ito na yun! Graduate na apo mo. I know you must be as proud as I am now," she said.
She then thanked her family for helping her raise Andre, as well as her boyfriend, Subic Vice-Governor Jay Khonghun, for convincing her son to pursue his dreams.
Addressing Andre, Aiko finally said: "You know I just want only the best for you. 'Di man tayo kumpleto pero binuo mo and ni Marthena ang buhay ko. Love you son!"
Andre, 22, is Aiko's son with her former husband, actor-politician Jomari Yllana. She also has another child, Marthena, from her previous marriage to model Martin Jickain.
Earlier this year, Andre officially joined showbiz as he signed an exclusive contract with Viva Artists Agency.
At that time, Andre admitted it was his studies that had been hindering him from focusing on his showbiz career.
“Mas may time na po ako ngayon. Naging distraction ang studies before, if ever I would join showbiz. Now, I grabbed the opportunity. Not everybody is being given this kind of opportunity," he said.