The challenge of caring for sick parents
The challenge of caring for sick parents
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - October 3, 2020 - 12:00am

When you see Ken Chan and Rita Daniela dancing and singing on the GMA shows All-Out Sundays and The Clash Season 3, you won’t think that away from the camera they are facing perhaps the biggest battle of their young lives. They are both helping their parents’ fight the Big C, Ken’s dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and Rita’s mom with breast cancer. They are both bread winners so you can imagine the challenges they are facing, not only financially. That’s why they are working so hard (they just finished shooting My First and Always for Heaven’s Best Films).

Paano mo inaalagaan ang mom/dad n’yo, especially during this pandemic?

Ken: “Doble effort ang pag-aalaga ko sa mom at dad ko, especially my dad who was just done his chemotherapy so he’s vulnerable to infection. His oncologist reminded us that not only my dad but also us na bawal talagang lumabas. We also try to follow a healthier lifestyle to strengthen our resistance. Ako mismo ‘yung nag-iisip ng menu for the whole week.”

Rita: “My mom undergoes chemotherapy. We give her whatever she needs for her medication.”

Ken as Journey Hosts of The Clash Season 3 which premieres tonight on GMA.

When were they diagnosed?

Ken: “My dad was diagnosed in 2018, stage 2 esophageal cancer. Sobrang nakakalungkot for our family. At that time, my soap My Special Tatay had just started so my mind was divided between the set and the hospital where he was confined. I drew strength from my dad because the soap was about a father. Na-aaliw din siyang panoorin ‘yung show. After the taping, I would rush to the hospital and bring him food.”

Rita as Journey Hosts of The Clash Season 3 which premieres tonight on GMA.

Rita: “We found out that she has stage 2 breast cancer last year around Christmas time.”

Rita with her mom Rosanna Iringan Ken with his dad Allan Chan

How has your parents’ illness affected your life and your work?

Ken: “Hindi naging madali. Kailangan kong magpakatatag para sa aming lahat. With my family’s help, naging mas matibay ako at mas lumakas ‘yung loob kong harapin ang mga problema. I have learned a lot. Thank God, we are able to face the challenges, ‘yung mga pagsubok. As long as my family is there, loving and supporting me, I know that I’m not alone. We are all in this together. I’m so thankful and blessed.”

Rita: “Honestly, mas mahirap ngayon kasi naapektuhan ‘yung trabaho namin because of the pandemic. Hopefully, maging normal na ulit ang lahat.”

Ken with his dad Allan Chan

What are the challenges you’re facing while combining work and taking care of your sick parents?

Ken: “Maraming challenges at maraming kinailangang isakripisyo. I have to focus on my work and I’m grateful that it’s my dad who is giving me encouragement, siya ang nagbibigay sa akin ng lakas ng loob. He would remind me not to worry because he’s fighting and he’d be healed. Sa tingin ko naman nagdilang-anghel siya dahil gumaling siya. It took me two years of praying for his speedy recovery. I continue to pray that my dad won’t suffer a relapse. With the help of my family, my friends, at ng lahat ng mga nagmamahal sa akin, nalampasan ko ‘yun.”

Rita: “I am the youngest sa aming magkakapatid and I am also the breadwinner. When I was a kid, nasanay na akong maging palaban at unahin ang ibang tao bago sa sarili ko. God is so good kaya kinakaya ko kahit mahirap.”

Kayong dalawa, do you share ideas on how to care of your parents?

Ken: “My dad was diagnosed ahead of Rita’s mom. As her co-worker and friend, I give her advice on what to do, kung anong dapat gawin, anong dapat kainin, at anong mga ginawa kong pag-aalaga kay Papa noon. We always talk. I always ask her how her mom is doing. Sa ngayon, happy kami dahil nasa mabuting kalagayan ‘yung mga magulang namin at sana tuluy-tuloy na po ‘yung paggaling nila.”

Rita: “Ken always gives me advice on how to take care of my mom, what food to give her, how to be patient and understanding. The situation radically changes your perspective in life. Malaki ang pasasalamat ko kay Ken kasi hindi niya ako pinapabayaan kahit man sa personal kong buhay. Lagi siyang nandyan to guide me and make me feel better.”

(E-mail reactions at For more updates, photos and videos, visit or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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