MANILA – For entertainment reporter Jobert Sucaldito, life really began when he turned 40. That was when he held his son, Carlo Bryan, for the first time 14 years ago.
"The first day that I saw him sa buhay ko, sobrang saya ko, sobrang galak ko. It's so much of a blessing, Sucaldito told ABS-CBNNews.com. “Kaya sabi ko nga life begins at 40. Totoo ‘yon sa akin, it applies to me. He came to my life."
That day, Sucaldito started a new life as he embraced fatherhood.
Jobert Sucaldito poses for a photo with his son, Carlo. Photo by Reyma Deveza, ABS-CBNnews.com
"It's a beautiful experience and a big responsibility dahil may binubuhay kang kaluluwa from day one that he came to your life until the end of time. Taking care of a child, hands-on ka dapat. Ang sarap sarap and mahirap in some sense. Pero ang totality niya is very fulfilling,” he said ahead of Father’s Day, which will be celebrated on Sunday.
“Sabi nga nila, the essence of a woman is to bear a child; sa ama naman is to provide for a child, to give him good life. Mapag-aral mo siya, maturuan ng tamang values at ‘yung dreams mo for him ay matupad."
And for Sucaldito, being gay shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to fatherhood.
“He knows I'm gay, pero bale wala 'yon. Walang nakakabawas sa pagkatao ," he said.
"For me, it's being a dad regardless if you are straight or gay, if you are rich or poor. It's about raising a child. It's about giving the child ‘yung kaukulang pagmamahal and pag-aaruga. Kung ang gay dad is a lesser of tunay na lalaki, of course not. It doesn't make me less or more of a man whether gay or not, for as long as you are a good parent, a good father. And being a good father is not just to provide; you have to look after him, grow with him," Sucaldito explained.
Sucaldito’s son, who is now a Grade 9 student, is a picture of a proud son. "Ayos po siya. Mabait po siyang kasama at mapagbigay. Itinuturo niya po sa akin palagi kung ano ang tama," Carlo said. "We are very close. Madalas din po kaming lumabas, nood sine, kain sa labas, out of town madalas.”
For him, Sucaldito has all the qualities of good father. "Nandiyan siya palagi kapag kailangan mo," noted Carlo, who is also fine about having only one parent. "Hindi po mahirap, okay lang po," Carlo said.
He also sees nothing wrong with having a gay father.
"Ayos lang kasi nakasanayan ko na din, normal na naman. Wala naman pong maling ginagawa," he said, adding that he doesn’t see a difference with having a straight or gay dad.
"Ang iniisip ko what is a father and what is his duty to a child at ‘yun ang ginagampanan ko,” Sucaldito said. “I bring him to the best school that I can. Kung may kailangan siya, I attend to it. Minsan 'di kami magtagpo sa oras pero kapag may pangangailangan siya, he tells me ahead of time and I will do my best to provide."
For Sucaldito, what matters to them is their love for each other as father and son.
"He knows I'm gay but we don't talk about it because it's the love I have for him amd his love for me, ‘yun ang mahalaga," he said.
"We are family, just the two of us."
Asked of how he handles those who still can't accept the idea of gay fathers, Sucaldito said: "I don't care, proud ako. I don't argue with them kung ang paniniwala nila ay ganoon pero ako I'm a good father. I may be a better father than you are. Walang umaapi sa akin at ‘di naman ako papayag na maapi ng kahit sino. I won't let anyone mock me because I'm a gay father. I'm proud to be a father to my son. Bihira na lang ang batang lalaki na ganyan, na maayos. Straight dad ka kung anak mo naman ay nag-a-adik o tambay. Ako, ang anak ko I tell him kapag mali siya at maguusap kami.”
“Mabuting bata yan at mahal na mahal ko ‘yan,” he stressed.
Sucaldito said as a parent, his only wish is that he can raise him to be a good man.
"Ang pangarap ko lang sa aking anak ay for him to grow up gracefully and for him to finish school and maging God-fearing," he said.