Hola! I’m Allan. I’m the father of four children: my eldest son, who attends a special needs school for those with severe autism and atopic dermatitis; my eldest daughter, who is in elementary school; my second son, who is in kindergarten; and my third son, who is an infant.

Whenever I’m abroad, people think I’m a local and talk to me, but they’re often surprised that I speak fluent Japanese. I’m also native-level in English and Tagalog.

Life as Tarzan in the Philippines

I’m the second son of six siblings, and I was abandoned by my biological mother shortly after I was born due to the poverty of my family (my eldest brother had died)

Therefore, I was raised by my great-great-grandmother Carmen, who even hides strangers in her house.

Of course, my grandmother wasn’t wealthy either, and we lived in a house called a “bahay kubo” with a roof made of leaves, where the river was our bath and laundry room, and the occasional rain shower was our shower.

Like this

When I was about 5 years old, one day I woke up with a sharp pain in my left chest.

In the pitch black, I heard my great-great-grandmother Carmen yelling. Grandma Carmen, who lives in the jungle and doesn’t even flinch when she sees insects or snakes, was making a fuss!

Of course, it was pitch black at night, so I didn’t immediately know what had happened, but it seemed like a thief had broken in.

Apparently Grandma Carmen had bravely chased them away.

The thief had stepped on my chest as he fled…

Grandma Carmen was a very strong and kind person, and she let not only me but also many other people without relatives live in her house. So it was normal for there to be strangers in the house, and of course it was normal for us to have no money.

So why did a thief break in?

At the time, my aunt (now my mother-in-law), who was married to a Japanese man, was secretly sending us a money, but it seems that the story got leaked somewhere. Whether they’re rich or poor, Filipinos love to talk…

Grandma Carmen managed to chase the thief away, and the pain in her chest subsided, but I later heard that the thief had a naginata.

Great-great-grandmother Carmen won against the naginata with her bare hands.

I’m sure she is still protecting me as my guardian spirit.

Living with Grandma Carmen was so wild that I can’t even imagine it now.

Not only did we have roofs made of leaves and showers of rain, but Grandma Carmen also butchered the chickens she kept and treated everyone to them.

I remember her making her own alcohol and cigars, which I didn’t really understand, and enjoying them.

One day, five adult men from the village carried a giant snake.

Even though I saw it as a child, snakes in the tropics are really big and was scary!

I wondered what they were going to do with it, but they roasted it whole and everyone started eating it. Apparently it was delicious, but I was too scared to eat it.

That’s why, even though I like animals, I still can’t stand snakes.

The ocean and coconut palms were my playground. Swimming with sea turtles was a real luxury compared to my current life.

Living with Grandma Carmen was fun no matter how poor we were. It was fun even though there were lots of red ants that hurt so much when they bit me, even though they were so small.

I put on shoes for the first time in my life when I was in the first grade of elementary school

But the day came when I had to say goodbye to Grandma Carmen.

When I was 8 years old, my aunt who used to send me money came to visit me and was angry at the poor quality of my life (in a social sense).

“I send you so much money, but you’re making this child live like this. I can’t stand it anymore!”

After all, Grandma Carmen was taking care of strangers, so the money she sent me as child support was not enough.

I was taken in by my aunt. I left the small island I had never been to before and went to the capital, Manila. Grandma Carmen agreed to come with me to Manila.

I put on shoes for the first time in my life and rode in a car for the first time.

Why pink and purple…

On the island people went barefoot and it was common to travel long distances by buffalo cart.

Of course the road was bumpy and I vomited many times.

I wondered if it was really worth going through such pain.

My aunt, or rather my mother-in-law, already had a daughter, who was my sister. They didn’t get along so well that they would often fight with each other.

This is my oldest photo

In the mainland of the Philippines, Tagalog and English are the official languages. The language on the island where I lived was not just a dialect but a completely different language, so there were many misunderstandings.

I’m very grateful to my mother-in-law now, but at the time, we both had a very difficult future.

Moving to Tokyo, bullying and domestic violence

After that, I moved to Tokyo with my mother-in-law’s Japanese husband at the time.

I was surprised when I won a gold medal in a calligraphy competition, but I was in a foreign country and didn’t understand the language (I mastered it in 3 months with sheer determination), so I became a target of bullying.

My best friend is the deer in Nara Park

I was locked in a garbage can and rolled around, and when it was my turn to serve lunch, no one would eat the food I was serving.

So when it was my turn, I would run straight to the food everyone liked and monopolise it all for myself. Even though I was just a child, I can’t forget the frustrated looks on my classmates’ faces.

Let’s stop bullying.

My stepmother would hit me with a belt for any reason, and my husband also did karate and was quite strict. I couldn’t relax even at home because he would hit me every time he scolded me.

In the midst of all this, I heard that my biological mother had passed away when I was in the second year of junior high school. I decided to go to the funeral with my stepmother.

The funeral of my heartless biological mother

I shouldn’t have been sad because she abandoned me shortly after I was born. But strangely, I cried at the funeral.

I was in the middle of adolescence, and even though they were family, I didn’t know everyone, so I didn’t really understand my own feelings, but now I think I didn’t cry because I was sad. I think I cried because I was frustrated.

When I was in the sixth grade, my stepmother went to Japan to complete the paperwork to marry a Japanese man, but my step-sister and I had to stay in Manila for about three months.

Who would take care of us then? To my surprise, it was my biological mother.

I was surprised when my biological mother suddenly came to our house.

Her new husband was there, but far from being an emotional reunion, she didn’t seem to have any emotion when she saw me.

She treated her biological son, who she hadn’t seen in 12 years, like a stranger. She didn’t even hug me.

She stayed in my stepmother’s apartment and relegated me and my sister to the storage room.

My biological mother was a beauty who had won a beauty pageant, but I still can’t understand how she felt.

The allowance my stepmother sent for us was quickly spent by biological mother and her new husband every month.

Neither of them worked, they just spent all their time shopping and doing whatever they wanted.

They ate out and my sister and I ate instant snacks. We were like Cinderellas.

I don’t need to explain how angry my stepmother was when she found out about the situation three months later.

Why did she leave us in the care of my mother in the first place? That was one of her strengths, but my mother-in-law was too kind

After that, we moved to Japan and never heard from my mother again.

I was surprised at the news of her passing, but I couldn’t be sad because it was too complicated for her to understand…

In the countryside of the Philippines, there are a lot of children, and even six siblings is not that many, so an amazing number of relatives gathered at my mother’s funeral. I had no idea who was who.

Someone said, “Your mother kept talking about you until the end.”

I couldn’t hide my irritation at the obvious lie, and tears came from my eyes because I had nowhere to go.

Meanwhile, I noticed a man staring at me at the funeral hall.

Someone told me softly. “That’s your father.”

He was also the one who abandoned me shortly after I was born. He abandoned not only me, but also my mother and other siblings.

What’s more, I had heard from my stepmother that he had died.

I didn’t understand why he was at the funeral.

I don’t remember it very well because I didn’t understand it, but I do remember sitting on my father’s lap for a while without saying anything.

That was the last time I saw my real father.

Even though he was the one who abandoned me and my family, strangely enough, I didn’t feel any anger towards him.

I recently found out that my mother had remarried after having an affair with my father’s cousin…

I don’t know if that was the reason they left, but that’s why my father was at the funeral.

My stepmother runs away in the middle of the night, then flies to America

Shortly after I returned to Japan after the funeral, to add insult to injury, my stepmother had an affair.

My sisters’ biological father is someone else.

The cause was my father-in-law’s violence. She moved her belongings little by little to the house of the man she had an affair with, and one day she ran away.

The “apparently” part is amazing, because it was a night-time runaway without telling me anything…

On the day my mother-in-law and sisters ran away, I went to Ishikawa Prefecture for a badminton match (I was ranked second in the country, by the way).

When I returned to Tokyo, my coach drove me home, but when I tried to open the front door, I heard my grandmother-in-law, who lived with my father-in-law, arguing loudly in the back.

“Where on earth did you go? They’re clothes are gone. They was able to escape because you kept raising your hand. Why didn’t I notice they were carrying luggage?”

I quietly closed the door as it was half-open, and ran to the station with my racket on my back.

Just as my biological mother died, my mother-in-law also disappeared somewhere.

My biological father disappeared again, and my father-in-law was furious and would beat me if he was found.

I no longer had a place to stay.

So I just flew to California.

Returning to Japan after missing person report issued, and the period of desperation

I stayed with a family I had known for a while in California, and had the most enjoyable time since Leyte.

Two years later, I got a call from a friend in Japan saying, “You’re wanted in Japan.”

That wasn’t the case, but my mother-in-law had reported me to the police and my face was plastered all over town…

I thought she was so worried, so I returned home, and found the room I had been using filled with my mother-in-law’s diet equipment.

All the dozens of badminton and volleyball trophies had been thrown away, and there was no sense of welcome at all.

Still, I felt obliged to her, so I helped her open a snack bar.

After that, I worked at major electronics retailers and major fashion brand stores, where I was promoted to a management position within a few months. However, my superiors would always criticize me lack of ambition, saying, “Why are you here? Go higher,” and I also got bored easily, so I quit.

Even if I win a dance or vocal competition, I get bored of it.

It was during this time that I came across a gospel club that used membership fees to support developing countries.

I ended up joining one of them, and found my current wife singing in the front row of the tenor section, making strange movements.

My eldest son has a severe disability

I never wanted to get married because of all the trauma I had, but you never know what life will bring.

My eldest son, whom I gave birth to a year after we met, had severe atopic dermatitis and barely slept since birth.

He only slept about two hours a day in total, so both parents and son were sleep-deprived.

Even after turning two, he still didn’t speak, and it was discovered that he had severe autism. He wouldn’t even look me in the eye, and he wasn’t paying attention when I talked to him.

But he and my eldest daughter, who was two years younger, grew up well, and I went to Barcelona to relieve the stress that had built up from lack of sleep.

I was working at a Marriott hotel at the time, so it was at this time that I stayed at the coveted W Hotel for the first time.

During our two-week stay, my eldest son slept so soundly and played with the local children that it seemed like a different person.

He’s still not speechless at 11 years old, but I was surprised at how lively he seemed, almost ready to start talking.

This was the start of my obsession with traveling abroad, which has continued to this day.

Great-Great Grandma Carmen

Great-Great Grandma Carmen saved my life.

I don’t know her exact age, but she was close to 100, so she died peacefully. But shortly after I left the Philippines, she passed away as if a thread had been cut.

I couldn’t be with her until the end.

Even after I got used to shoes and cars, there wasn’t a day that went by without me thinking about the island and great-great-grandma Carmen.

I have a vague dream that I’ve had for some time.

The sea is so beautiful on Leyte Island, where I lived with Grandma Carmen.

The island itself is very poor, so the local children still don’t have a proper education and live like I did.

I want to build a school on the island where I was born.

Right now, I spend my time trying to get my children to travel a lot and become fine adults, but when they become independent, I want to realize that ambition.

I believe that this will be a way to repay my great-great-grandma Carmen.