The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

01 September 2011

Blessed Singleness

By: Tiffany Tan, ASP Board Secretary

As Gabby was refilling his glass with water from the cooler, some ladies were swarming over him with questions like “Do you have a girl friend?”, “How is your love life?” “Have you ever been heartbroken?” Gabby Atienza is after all, one of the most eligible bachelors in the autism community.

Gabby took part in the special screening of HBO’s “Temple Grandin” biopic together with ASP National and Chapter representatives, held at Quality Life Discoveries, August 23, 2011. He also served as one of the panelists during the media interview.
The Panelist: HBO Asia’s Senior Executive of Communications Ms. Angela Poh,
PWA JR Tan, PWA Gabby Atienza, ASP Chair Emeritus Dang Koe
and Dr. Tippy Tanchanco, Developmental Pediatrician

The Temple Grandin Biopic premiers on September 2, 2011 (Friday) 10pm on HBO Asia and HBO HD on Channel 54 on Sky Cable and Channel 39 on Destiny Cable.

“My brothers and sisters are married….and I cannot commit (to a relationship), so why can’t I be an exception?” reasoned Gabby candidly. “Life is about moving on….and we have to find our reason to live… There are plenty of other reasons for us to live.”

Gabby moves on to talk about the movie. “This movie of Temple Grandin has taught us not to be too quick to dismiss ideas that are supposedly crazy- like her hug machine invention. Einstein was taught to be crazy at one point in his life, also John Nash, the Nobel Prize winner.”

“Also, vegetarians might not agree with this film, but this is about Temple’s gift of kindness to animals. This is her gift to humanity.” Temple Grandin, portrayed by Claire Danes, is a doctor of animal science and a consultant to livestock industry, promoting humane livestock handling processes. Numerous books on the subject are to her credit.

When asked what his favorite scenes in the movie were, “It’s the anxiety of Temple’s mother whether her daughter will make a fool of herself in school. But in the end, Temple made a ‘name’ for herself.”

Other scenes that also caught Gabby’s attention were the CGI (computer generated imagery). “The drawings of the surrealistic images and concepts from Temple’s mind posed a real challenge to the film makers.” Gabby is also passionate special effects in movies, particularly those of George Lucas and Pixar. He is currently working on his new comic book “The Adventures of Deputy Dodgers,” evolves from his sketches to digitally enhanced drawings, courtesy of computer technology. Some of these are posted in his Facebook site.

His first work, “My Life as a Comic Book” published in 2009, which documents his life from childhood and coming to terms with his Aspergers diagnosis at the age of 48. Click here to read more. Gabby now works as an in-house artist for Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) in Paranaque City.

When asked again about what his advice would be for those who are still searching for their soul mates or for those who are heartbroken, he looked down on his empty glass, paused for a few minutes and said, “This is a difficult question.”

“Experiencing hardship is given, but the challenge is recovering and being able to sleep after experiencing hardship. Then, wake up with a renewed meaning. Acceptance is the key. I am now ‘single-blessed’. The Pope is not married, his line ends with him. My line ends with me, but this is not a reason to despair. At least people will be reminded of my name and my legacy.”

And so, Gabby, what IS your legacy? “My art and being a middle-aged autistic.”

Gabby Atienza is currently working on his new comic book “The Adventures of Deputy Dodgers”. For more information log on to Gabriel de Jesus Atienza’s Facebook site.


Temple Grandin's Biopic airs on September 2, 2011 (Friday) 10pm on HBO Asia and HBO HD on Channel 54 on Sky Cable and Channel 39 on Destiny Cable. Call your local cable operator for more information.


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