Our Endearing Affection for Jose Mari Chan | OneNews.PH

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We call him Daddy Joe. He really knows how to make people feel loved, and he brings the spirit of Christmas into our hearts not just on Christmas but all year round.

It’s Sept. 1. That means the “ber” months are here and they always
bring countless memories of an extraordinary gentleman loved by my
family and so many families all over the world. His name is Jose Mari

I can never forget the first time we met this very talented
and gracious artist, businessman, singer, songwriter, comedian and
family man all rolled into one. Our American godfather Norm Turley came
to Manila for a visit. He was 87 and his ardent wish was to meet his
favorite Filipino singer, Jose Mari Chan, up close and personal. This
would be difficult to arrange I thought. But little did I know that my
older sister Jaqui had a connection with his beloved wife, Mary Ann, who
kindly delivered our invitation. So you can imagine our total surprise
when a beaming Mr. Chan appeared in our home for lunch, walked in to the
dining room, tenderly reached out to shake the hand of our godfather
who was speechless with delight and awe. They held hands as Papa Norm
asked him questions about his songs and his family. They shared the most
fascinating stories as my siblings Jaqui, Michelle, Mark, Christine ,
Yvonne and I watched spellbound and starstruck.

What really
touched us was his humility and attentiveness, his interest in people
and the sweet way he put everyone at ease.  Our only son Vincent was
just a little boy then and he reached out to Mr. Chan saying, “ Would
you like to see my rabbit?  He looked directly  at little Vince and
said, “ I would love to, young man.” Hand in hand they walked over to
the rabbit cage. After that Mr. Chan said,  “ now would you like to see
my Star Wars Christmas tree?” Vince immediately nodded.  Mr. Chan took
him in his car and drove to his home, showed him the huge tree with all
the ornaments and afterwards drove the little boy back home. Our son to
this day can’t stop wondering how a popular busy star paid special
attention to him. This encounter communicated volumes of love to a
child’s heart, made him feel special, a beautiful lesson of kindness and
loving presence.

The next time Papa Norm came back to the
Philippines we got together again with Mr. Chan and we felt his
heartfelt compassion towards us. He realized we were feeling so
orphaned, missing our parents who both passed away at such a young age. 
There and then he told us, “You can now call me Daddy Joe.” We shed
tears of joy and gratefulness. Since then he showered us with the
affection of a father through his encouragement and presence.  We would
enjoy family dinners together to catch up on each other’s lives.  He
shared his newest songs and travels with us. His excitement and zest for
life, his love for God and family was contagious. Traveling to the
provinces of Iloilo and Bacolod with him was an experience we can never
forget.  Everywhere we went, from the airport to the hotel, he was
greeted by people from all walks of life who received the same gracious
smile and friendly reception from the gentleman.  When we rode the ferry
boat out on the sea on that breezy, sunny day, there was a request from
his many fans for him to sing. Wow what a treat for everyone on board!
He responded so generously by singing his famous songs in a mini concert
right there on the deck where passengers applauded with appreciation.
We also witnessed how the tired ferry boat attendants were energized by
the surprise gift and their happiness was so palpable.

Every time
we would see Daddy Joe in Church, in wakes, funerals or healing masses,
he never failed to greet us. And if my husband and son were the mass
singers, he always approached and complimented them.  He expressed how
much he enjoyed listening to them and encouraged them to continue
singing. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, he and Tita Mary Ann
both visited me at home and attended a healing mass celebrated by Fr.
Gerard Deveza to offer prayers for me. When they heard of Fr. Gerard’s
advocacy to help underprivileged students go to a mission school, he
helped raise funds through a concert where he and his children sang. Its
was so beautiful. His generosity in sharing his talent and making
people laugh is something we continue to witness through his stellar 
performances especially in fundraising shows all sold to help Xavier
School’s scholars, my alma matter Assumption College mission schools,
support for the Verbum Dei missionaries and so much more here and

I remember one time, he was singing and the aircon unit
was faulty. It was very hot but Daddy Joe was not bothered by this. He
gave his full performance even though he was sweltering in his suit. He
kept us feeling cool because he kept us laughing the night away with all
his funny jokes.  

Daddy Joe continues to spread his loving
kindness to families like ours, as well as to many others all over the
world. He performs in different countries where he continues to bring
cheer to those in need.  He never holds back when it comes to giving his
time, his talent and most of all his love. He just gives and gives so
much of himself. That’s why we love him.  He really knows how to make
people feel loved, and he brings the spirit of Christmas into our hearts
not just on Christmas but all year round. See you soon Daddy Joe!

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