I Ran Away From Home with a Broken Dream

April 22, 2018


Growing up, I knew that my family expected me to take over the family business, which I didn’t mind. But I also dreamed of playing bass guitar with a band.

But after graduating college with a business-management degree, I went straight into Dad’s restaurant kitchen and cooked in front of high-flame burners for 10 hours a day, with only Sunday evenings off for 6 years—trying to take over our family restaurant so that Papa could finally relax and enjoy life, after 30 years of sacrificial work in the kitchen for us kids.

With my dad (left) and granddad (right) in the kitchen of the original Mr. Poon Restaurant which started in 1974.

But my dad didn’t want to relax or slow down.  He had other plans. One day, we clashed so strongly that I had to get out of his way and do my own thing. I ran away from home.

Running away from home gave me more time for my dream in music—considered an UNSTABLE JOB for most Fil-Chinese families. But I was determined to fight for my dream.

These were the most uncomfortable years of my life. I struggled to make a living on my own—–I gave back the car my dad gave me when I graduated from college and started to commute.

I worked in a restaurant during the day, and played with my band at night. I was so eager and optimistic! I was going to achieve my dreams all on my own!

doing back up vocals and playing guitar for acoustic band Uturn with Teri(lead vocals), Bam(guitar), and James(drums). 2002-2006

But eventually, the restaurant I worked for closed down.

I was left with my band, singing until 1-2am in bars weekly. Minus rent, water, food and transportation, I barely had enough to make ends meet. Soon, I was deep in debt.

One Christmas eve, I couldn’t even afford P200 for a kris kringle gift with my friends! I cried when I got a Thai cookbook in that gift exchange(with nothing to give).

What happened to my dream?  What happened to: “anything is possible if you believe?” It was depressing.

met my good friend and now manager Erickson way back in church in early 2000.

At this troubling time, my best friend (now manager), Erickson Raymundo, had an idea:  kumanta ka kaya ng standards. Parang Bublé. Wear a suit. Go solo. Use your real name…”

Use my name? No!!! I wanted to be in a band, not go solo! !!! SINGING SINATRA OR BUBLE WAS NOT MY DREAM!

Back in my small apartment, as the flimsy wooden floor rattled with every jeepney passing the street below, I felt God was LEADING ME TO A DIFFERENT PATH. Maybe Erickson was right after all. I needed to stop being so fixated on one dream, and one way to achieve it. My way, may not be the best way after all.

In January 2008, I was launched in ABS-CBN’s Sunday variety show “ASAP” as a solo crooner, and my first album hit double platinum the same year. All that success, came from an idea that I would have never thought of on my own.

This year, 2018, it will be my 10th year as a chinito crooner, I’m SO grateful for my manager Erickson’s “visionary” idea. Because of him, my dream in music came true, even if it wasn’t in the exact way I wanted it to be.


My dad and I are better now, too. He watches my every concert and TV guesting. He still goes to work at the restaurant at 79 YEARS OLD!!  I visit him almost every Sunday. We still disagree on many things(esp. business), but I will never stop admiring him for his amazing ability to develop good food. All my cooking skills , I owe to my Dad:)

There are still many years ahead of me. I don’t know everything the future holds, all I know is that I just need to be OPEN because God may have a DIFFERENT way of making it come true.

Do you have a dream that seems to be dying? Listen to the important people around you, maybe there’s something better on the way!

Take heart!


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Posted by relationshipmatters, April 22, 2018


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