[PHOTO -Diego Castro won’t cry in public, saying, ‘I’m not allowed]


Former young star Diego Castro remembered the last few days he spent with his broadcaster father Angelo Castro, Jr., who succumbed to lung cancer on April 5.Former young star Diego Castro remembered the last few days he spent with his broadcaster father Angelo Castro, Jr., who succumbed to lung cancer on April 5.

Describing his last moments with his dad as “beautiful,” Diego recalled, “I’d sleep in my dad’s room. If I try to sleep in any other room it’s quite difficult. Somehow kalmado ako sa room niya,” on “Showbiz Central,” April 8.

The former actor explained that his last hours with his dad afforded him “closure,” and revealed that while “nagmamahalan kami,” he and his dad have “on and off fights.”

But when his father got really weak, Diego said that whatever their fights were about, they all went “down the drain.”

Letting him go

Diego the revealed, “I was the one pa nga who let him go. My mom and [the] others, ayaw. He wrote to me and he told me ayaw na niya [na mahirapan]. No one wanted to make decisions,” he said.

Apparently his dad’s life could have been prolonged with the use of a machine. “Yeah,” Diego confirmed.

“There was that choice. Pero [ang] ginawa ni dad, he took away the choice away from us already kasi siguro he was sensing it was difficult. Siya na ‘yung nag-decide.”

At that point, near his death, Angelo also had difficulty speaking.

“He tried to talk pero garbled so nagsusulat siya. We’d write each other messages. Pero when he started to talk a little again, that’s when I told my mom, ‘malapit na ‘to’ coz’ he’s trying to say something,” Diego shared.

“The night he went, he said na parang ‘I’m tired’, parang may sinulat siya, ‘Ayoko na.’ And then the next morning improved lahat. Ang ganda lahat ng signs. Nag-thumbs up siya, went for breakfast. Pagbalik he just ripped his mask off tapos tinago niya sa amin. And then I tried to put it back. Sabi niya, ‘Bakit?’ Siyempre, we said, ‘We love you.’ Sabi niya, ‘If you love me ‘wag na, no more.’ ‘Yun na, we watched him slowly leave us.”

He treated his father’s death as a ‘happy’ event.

“For me it was ano, parang happy na lang kasi I’m so used to... Alam mo parang chicken and the chick, parang ganoon ako. I’m always under his wing and then seeing him so helpless now. Parang, ‘Go na, be stronger somewhere else.’”

Relationship with his dad

Diego likewise revealed that he sees his dad as “acombination of friend and boss.”

He noted, “Lahat, every detail sa buhay ko had to be perfect as possible. It’s difficult also to be, you know, to follow [him because] people know him. Maraming expectations being the son. But on top of it, when it came to family, that’s one thing I learned from him—family is always first.”

Looking back, Diego said he has no ill feelings with his dad being the strict disciplinarian.

“I stopped resenting,” he said. “I let go of all anger when he was diagnosed. We became as close as ever. I started to drive for him again. We started to eat out together again. We’d watch DVD together so it’s like blessing in disguise kasi we started to reach out [to each other].”

Dealing with his mom’s ailment

With his dad now gone, Diego faces another battle as his mom, multi-awarded broadcaster June Keithley, is also battling breast cancer and brain tumor. But it isn’t easy.

“I don’t know how I’m dealing with ‘coz I’m looking at my dad and then I’m looking at my mom,” he said, recalling when his dad was still around.

“One month after [my dad was diagnosed] kasi, she collapsed, we rushed her [to the hospital] and the next day, from the breast nasa brain already.”

Thus, he shared, “I guess I’m not grieving much kasi may one more battle, parang one down, isa pang laban.

But in truth, Diego isn’t sure how he is coping with life’s challenges. “I don’t know. Siguro my family. I have to, eh kasi... I don’t know. I don’t know.”

He did share that he draws strength from “my kids, my mom, prayers.”

He added, “I guess leave it all up to God. Sabi ko lang may purpose lahat. And then my mom would just tell me, ‘Siguro God is calling all of His army’ or whatever ‘coz there’s a battle that befalls in another place. Siguro it’s my turn na lang daw sa family.”

Big shoes to fill

Losing his father leaves Diego with some very big shoes to fill.

“It’s scary,” he admitted. “Ang hirap no’n, grabe…especially my mom she has the tendency to try to do things for us. ‘Wag na. You rest.’ So everything, sa wake, wala siyang… she’s lying sa bedroom namin sa house.”

When asked how they want the public to remember his dad, Diego said that his dad was the same whether he was at home or at work.

“There’s no difference from what you see sa TV and sa home. The difference I guess is the way he wears his Americana and clothes. But it’s the same, what you see is what you get.”

Messages of love and praise came pouring in after Angelo died. For this, Diego is truly thankful.

He said, “He kind of thought nobody really appreciated, ‘di ba? He thought, all he was doing was his job. Hindi naman niya alam na ganoon ang magiging response ng mga tao. At least, wherever he is, makikita niya ang response so I’m happy for him. Actually, ano nga, touching, ‘coz ‘yung friends and everyone else mas umiiyak pa kaysa sa akin. So they’re wondering ba’t gano’n.”

But Diego revealed, “I cry in my own time but not in front of people. Ayaw ni daddy. I’m not allowed.”

On April 4, Diego was interviewed about his dad. He gladly obliged to the interview because he thought Angelo would die that day.

“Yeah. When I was interviewed nga the day before he died, I knew already. I thought it was that day. I had a feeling… but he didn’t want anyone to know. Parang secret lang daw. But my mom decided to come out.”

The show aired Diego’s interview, wherein he said: “I guess some people know by now. They both have cancer. Currently they’re both battling it in [the] hospital. My dad was diagnosed first with it and then a month later, si mommy naman na-diagnose din with cancer. Roughly they’re at the same stage but it’s an ongoing battle. The doctors won’t wanna give [any false hopes]… because when they were diagnosed four years ago my dad was given three months and it’s been four years. It’s a miracle in progress.”

Friends and family's support

“Our final mass is on Wednesday [April11]. Today [April 9] he has fraternity rites. He belongs to a fraternity. They will pay their last respects. Tomorrow [April 10] he’s going to ‘yung place of work [ABS-CBN]. They’ll pay their respects also,” Diego said in the interview.

With Angelo’s body cremated, Diego also said he wanted to keep his father’s ashes “siguro for a few months. He wanted to be put on a fishpond on top of his fishes. So I’ll give him that muna and then I’ll decide later on.”

Friends of the bereaved Castro family condoled with them and a few managed to give their message on “SC.”

Actor Robert Arevalo advised Diego to “be brave” because “God will always be there for you, with you, so that you can tackle every test that comes your way. ‘Wag kang mag-alala dahil marami ka pa naming tiyo na nandito at ako’y isa na doon.”

Michael Flores said, “Mahirap i-describe dahil kakaiba ‘yung nangyari sa kanya. Nandito lang kami para sa ‘yo. Alam mo naman ‘yon. I’ll see you soon. Be strolng and have faith. Pray always.”

Liezel Castro-Anderson, a cousin, feels that Diego will be able to carry on with life’s trials.

“I know it’s not easy for you pero you are another child of God, eh. Saka hindi ka anak ni Angelo Castro, Jr. for nothing, at ni June Keithley pa, hindi ba? You won’t be that for nothing. The mere fact na anak ka nila, you have it in you. Kaya mo ‘yan... Alam kong tao ka lang, mapapagod ka paminsan-minsan pero nandito lang kami ‘pag nagkataon. I’m so proud of you, ‘yun lang ang masasabi ko. Bilib ako sa ‘yo,” she said.

ABS-CBN pays tribute to Angelo Castro Jr. By Caroline Howard, ANC Posted at 04/10/2012 2:28 PM | Updated as of 04/10/2012 2:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines - ABS-CBN and its affiliate, the ABS-CBN News Channel, will pay tribute today to veteran broadcast journalist Angelo Castro Junior.

At the Dolphy Theater, ACJ's friends in the news industry are poised to pay their final respects to a colleague and comrade in arms in the media.

Castro served as news manager of ABS-CBN after the EDSA People Power revolution in 1986. He helped create the flagship newscast TV Patrol, and served as one of the most enduring and well-respected anchors of the long-running newscast The World Tonight.

For all his professional achievements and media stature, at home ACJ was a dutiful husband, a caring father, a loving son and brother. Perhaps no one else understood him better than his blood family.

In an interview on The World Tonight on Monday, ACJ's siblings Gary, Benjie and Grace shared their fondest memories of him.

"The Ylagan and the Castro clan call him O.A. or overacting. When he was active in stage plays and the movies he'd bring home his scripts and practice on us," said ACJ's sister, Grace Castro-Tuason.

"The first question he would always ask is how are you family ok? Then we talked about the latest cars being restored," said ACJ's brother, Gary.

His siblings remember him as a respected member of the Castro brood, a strict disciplinarian they all looked up to.

Grace remembers him as a doting brother who looked out for other members of the family, and was at times even protective to a fault.

"He was truly overprotective. That's why some guys who wanted to court me, even asked permission from him," recalled Grace. "But he was not rude or strict about it. He would walk around the garden. You can just sense him lumayas ka na... a very loving brother."

His brothers, Gary and Benjie, remember him as an endearing brother who, just like their father, was also a stickler for perfection.

"I'm in broadcast and I always wonder how he finds time to correct me. How does this guy find time to monitor my products via merchandising or radio?" added ACJ's youngest brother, Benjie.

"He would always correct me like how my dad used to correct him during his time. We didn't only lose a father but also a friend."

Gary, who world as a general manager for a company and lives with his family abroad, said he would seek out ACJ's editorial sense and tap his brother’s superb editing skills on his own monthly reports and business plans.

"I would always call Angelo ask to help me with the presentation. As you know, he's a fantastic student of English and there was a time I sent him a presentation thru e-mail and when it came back to me he only retained two things in my presentation, and that was the date and my name," Gary recalled.

Gary admitted the 30-minute newscast would not be enough to make a sufficient narration or their brothers most memorable moments.

ACJ's siblings said they will remember him for such small yet meaningful gestures. That showed the big heart of a family man who, despite his busy schedule, always managed to give of himself.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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