Martin Nievera opened up about his youngest son Santino, who was diagnosed with Autism, and how it changed his life.
Martin Nievera has been traveling back and forth to Manila and the US for concerts. But in his interview on Magandang Buhay aired last October 27, Martin, dubbed as the country’s concert king, opened up about being a father to his three boys – Ram, Robin, and lastly, Santino, who is diagnosed with autism.
Martin Nievera on Santino’s autism condition: It changed my life
During the interview, Martin said that it completely changed his life when Santino, 16, was diagnosed with autism. Santino is his son with ex-partner Katrina Ojeda.
“Sa lahat ng mga bata na nasa spectrum, it’s going to be a challenge talaga. And being the father that I am – I am never around that kind of father, ang hirap to instill in Santino, to teach him what I think the world should look like,” he said.
Getting emotional, Martin wishes everyone to see the world through the eyes of a child with autism. “There’s magic there. There’s hope there. We all need to self-improve.”
The “Be My Lady” crooner admits that his son being judged is one of his fears, making him an interpreter for Santino most of the time.
“The art of showbiz is to entertain. And now, I’ve learned to entertain because I’m literally every second of my life entertaining Santino so that he doesn’t see the world as ugly.”
“This is a lifelong condition,” he added. “So we have to learn to live with it and not apologize for it.”
Martin Nievera: I’ve stopped apologizing
Martin said that one of the things he has learned after his son’s diagnosis is that he should not apologize and blame himself.
“I’ve stopped apologizing. Like I’m so sorry. You don’t do that. Your child is special. Everyone’s child is special. Stop making apologies. There’s nothing to be sorry for. Stop blaming yourself for the situation that he’s in. Just be there. Just be present,” he said.
Martin said that whenever he sees his son, he feels the bond between them and the bond with kids with special needs.
“I wish I was a better father to all three boys but I am not,” he said. “But it is what it is. I do the best I can while I’m still here to entertain everybody but my real life is a challenge.”
It also helps that his two other sons, Ram and Robin, are with Santino and that he often goes to the US.
“They’re helping me now because they are close to Santino. So this could be a good thing that they are all in the same country together, that they can take over. Is God trying to tell me that’s it? You got your 40 years, maybe you have to start thinking what happens after, maybe that’s what this day is all about and it’s really scary,” he said.
This is not the first time Martin spoke about Santino’s condition. Last July, he talked about Santino’s condition during the Be You: The World Will Adjust concert.
Martin is currently preparing for his concert M4D: Martin 4 Decades at the Solaire Theatre on November 19.