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.

14 March 2012

“Ako Bodong, Hindi Budoy!”

By: Tiffany Tan, ASP Board Secretary

“Alam nyo, walang masama kung iba ka o may kulang sayo o may kapansanan ka. Ang importante, tanggap mo kung sino ka at kung ano ang pwede mong magawa sa iba,” a quote from the just concluded tele-serye, “Budoy”.

Bodong and Mom Telay

ASP interviewed one of the member-moms of ASP Diliman Chapter, she is also the Chapter's VP for External Affairs, Ms. Estela Echano or known to us as Mommy Telay and her son, Andre Benjamin Gaban aka Bodong, a young teen with autism. He related that schoolmates will sometimes call him Budoy, and that he would quickly clarify that he is his own person, and not to be confused with the TV fictional character with special needs. “Ako Bodong, Hindi Budoy!”. Presently, Bodong studies in Jose Abad Santos Memorial School (JASMS) and is mainstreamed in grade 5.

Mom Telay believes children with autism have their own interests. She said it is up to the parents to help them explore what these interests are and provide avenues to develop their skills. She said these opportunities can be stepping stones towards independent living. Below are some practical parenting tips.

“Sinasali ko sya sa isang photography workshop, sa tulong ni sir John Chua at ASP National. Na-feature narin ang mga photos nya sa exhibit sa SM The Block. Nakapagvoice recital narin si Bodong ng “Ditei Moi,” isang French song mula sa South Pacific, sa tulong ni Teacher Greg de Leon.”

Andre Benjamin Gaban aka "Bodong"

Mom Telay says, like any other children, Bodong matured in the way he behaved toward others or related to other people. “His plans for their future include having a girlfriend and eventually marrying.” Mom Telay took this opportunity to teach him about being “pleasant” to women.

“Nagkaroon ng mga crush na 7 babae, so I taught him about personal hygiene, like how to use deodorant, facial cleanser, soap, perfumes and how to maintain one's health. I also explain to him about being a teen-ager and also answer his questions about sex.”

Aside from having crushes, Bodong has his share of bullies, but has learned to alert his teachers when he encounters them. “Sa school, natutong magsumbong si Bodong sa teacher kung siya ay binubully. Kamakailan, ikinuwento niya na may kumuha ng pera ang isang kaklase; mga pananakit ng mga classmates sa school at mga paraan ng pagbubully sa kanya. In fact, sinumbong niya sa mismong magulang ang ginagawa ng kaklaseng bully.”

Bodong has been seen accompanying his mother’s travels to Palawan, Western Visayas, Tacloban, Ifugao, Bicol, Olongapo and Pangasinan. Mom Telay used this opportunity to teach him about strangers and personal safety. “I also teach him how to protect himself, like when to say ‘That is not allowed’ to someone who might harass or hurt him physically.”

“Sabi ni Bodong, hindi siya Budoy, siya ay nag-iisang Bodong.” He has his own individuality and he enumerated the following: 1) magpaalam kung gagalawin ang gamit ko (ask for permission before touching or getting his personal items); 2) huwag akong kulitin at sisigawan (not to pester him or shout at him); 3) isa-isang utos lang; nakakalito pag maraming salita; (use simple instructions, not complex or compound sentences, it’s confusing) - which are basically what a regular teen-ager might ask from his parents.

“Like any typical teen-ager, they don't like to be scolded in front of other people. We should be patient in teaching our child with autism. There will come a time that all our efforts will be paid off,” reminded Mom Telay.


Thank you to ASP Angel, Ms. Cathy Genovia, Bodong and Mom Telay for this article. If you have been inspired by this article, email us at

To know more about ASP Diliman Chapter’s programs and services, contact Ms. Jo Palomares, ASP Diliman Chapter President, at (0922) 847-2776.


Anonymous said...

Bodong and my son Rupert are BFFs. My son likes to eat vegetables because of Bodong's influence. His baons prepared by his Mom Telay are usually tasty and healthy veggy dishes.

Mom Aileen V.

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