Paolo Ballesteros has led a quiet and simple life in his career. The Zaido and Eat Bulaga! mainstay has had a number of other projects in his name and seems quite contented with his life right now.
However, his peace was shattered when he found out that his father, Mr. Elito Ballesteros, has mild dysplastic anemia, a rare stem-cell disorder that causes an inability of the bone marrow to produce red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The disorder leaves the patient at a heightened susceptibility to illness and compromises the ability to fight illness when it occurs.
Paolo's father is currently confined in a hospital in the States.
In a taped interview with Showbiz Central yesterday, January 13, Paolo related how he first thought that his father's illness was nothing serious until he discovered how serious the situation was.
"Sinabi sa akin ng kapatid ko na ganun nga, nasa ospital daw," said Paolo. "So sabi ko na, ‘Ah, wala, kaya ‘yan ni Papa.' Ganun lang ako. ‘Tapos nung sinabi na nga sa akin na na-chemo na, e, naluha na ako."
He added, "Bumababa ang red blood cells at white blood cells. E, diabetic pa siya. Sinabi naman ng doctor na treatable naman ang sakit, kaya lang, e, yung will lang nung tao [his dad]. Siyempre, sixty-eight na yung tao. Nahihirapan siyang huminga; ‘pag umuubo siya, nahihirapan siya huminga."
Paolo also reveals that his dad has been in an intensive care unit since Christmas. Though not really close to him because of his father's absence when Paolo was growing up, the actor still feels the pain a son endures whenever a father suffers.
"Hindi kami masyadong close ni Papa," Paolo admitted. "Actually, may tampo nga ako sa kanya. Since I was six, e, nasa New York na siya at meron na siyang wife dun."
Things changed, however, when Paolo finally visited his dad a few years back.
"When I went there to visit him, doon ko naramdaman na malungkot talaga ang buhay doon [sa Amerika]. Simula nun, parang I make it a point na tawagan siya lagi. Bumabawi na talaga ako. The whole [time] na yun, e, magkasama lang kami, nagpe-painting," Paolo narrated.
Now, Paolo is just waiting for his visa to be approved. The moment he gets it, he will find time to be at his father's side. For now, Paolo sends his wishes.
"Papa, I love you. Kahit na alam mo nga na tuwing nag-uusap tayo at nagba-bye-bye, sinasabi minsan na ‘I love you.' Ngayon, ‘eto galing sa puso at hindi dahil nakasanayan na: Mahal na mahal kita. Mahal na mahal ka namin. Ang pinagdadaanan mo ngayon, e, pagtutulungan natin, ‘tsaka malalampasan natin ‘yan. Just stay strong."