MANILA, Philippines – Who would have thought that someone who sings like an angel once had a cleft palate?
That was the case for singer Chadleen Ladco-o, who shared her spot in the limelight when she became part of the cast of the now defunct ABS-CBN television musical series “1dol.”
Ladco-o was born with an opening in her palate. She said she had difficulty talking and that was the reason some people made fun of her when she was young.
“Kahit anong gusto mong gawin, 'yung pangarap mo hindi mo marating. 'Yung mga tao hinihila ka pa pababa,” she said.
Ladco-o admitted that she was not spared by her classmates who teased her and treated her like she was useless, so much so that she almost quit school.
According to Ladco-o, she was two years old when she first underwent an operation but unfortunately, it did not turn out successful, which left her parents devastated.
“My parents spent a big amount of money and hindi naman po kami mayaman so mabigat po 'yun sa amin. Ang masama, after four days, natanggal ang tahi sa ngalangala ko. My parents were so devastated,” she said.
But everything changed when she underwent her second surgery through Operation Smile two years later. Operation Smile is an non-governmental organization conducting free operations to people who have cleft palate.
Ladco-o said she eventually developed and improved her speech because of her singing.
“Mga ilang months, pero nag-improve dahil sa singing ko,” she shared.
Since then, Ladco-o said it delights her when people approach her just to thank her for inspiring them.
“Sa tuwing kumakanta ako, may lumalapit sa akin and they say ang ganda ng story mo nakaka-inspire ka. Big deal po sa akin na nakaka-inspire ako ng mga tao. Napapansin na nila ako ngayon,” she said.
Ladco-o is now among the ambassadors of Operation Smile.
And just recently ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs show “Ako Ang Simula” fulfilled Ladco-o’s wish of meeting her long-time idol: Angeline Quinto.
Ladco-o said that just like Quinto, she was also once a dreamer and she did not let anything hinder her in achieving her dreams.