This website requires JavaScript.

Why We Love Jose Mari Chan So Much

 Why We Love Jose Mari Chan So Much
Music legend Jose Mari Chan

It’s Sept. 1. That means the “ber” months are here and they always bring countless memories of an extraordinary gentleman loved by my family and so many families all over the world. His name is Jose Mari Chan.

I can never forget the first time we met this very talented and gracious artist, businessman, singer, songwriter, comedian and family man all rolled into one. Our American godfather Norm Turley came to Manila for a visit. He was 87 and his ardent wish was to meet his favorite Filipino singer, Jose Mari Chan, up close and personal. This would be difficult to arrange I thought. But little did I know that my older sister Jaqui had a connection with his beloved wife, Mary Ann, who kindly delivered our invitation. So you can imagine our total surprise when a beaming Mr. Chan appeared in our home for lunch, walked in to the dining room, tenderly reached out to shake the hand of our godfather who was speechless with delight and awe. They held hands as Papa Norm asked him questions about his songs and his family. They shared the most fascinating stories as my siblings Jaqui, Michelle, Mark, Christine , Yvonne and I watched spellbound and starstruck.

What really touched us was his humility and attentiveness, his interest in people and the sweet way he put everyone at ease.  Our only son Vincent was just a little boy then and he reached out to Mr. Chan saying, “ Would you like to see my rabbit?  He looked directly  at little Vince and said, “ I would love to, young man.” Hand in hand they walked over to the rabbit cage. After that Mr. Chan said,  “ now would you like to see my Star Wars Christmas tree?” Vince immediately nodded.  Mr. Chan took him in his car and drove to his home, showed him the huge tree with all the ornaments and afterwards drove the little boy back home. Our son to this day can’t stop wondering how a popular busy star paid special attention to him. This encounter communicated volumes of love to a child’s heart, made him feel special, a beautiful lesson of kindness and loving presence.

The next time Papa Norm came back to the Philippines we got together again with Mr. Chan and we felt his heartfelt compassion towards us. He realized we were feeling so orphaned, missing our parents who both passed away at such a young age.  There and then he told us, “You can now call me Daddy Joe.” We shed tears of joy and gratefulness. Since then he showered us with the affection of a father through his encouragement and presence.  We would enjoy family dinners together to catch up on each other’s lives.  He shared his newest songs and travels with us. His excitement and zest for life, his love for God and family was contagious. Traveling to the provinces of Iloilo and Bacolod with him was an experience we can never forget.  Everywhere we went, from the airport to the hotel, he was greeted by people from all walks of life who received the same gracious smile and friendly reception from the gentleman.  When we rode the ferry boat out on the sea on that breezy, sunny day, there was a request from his many fans for him to sing. Wow what a treat for everyone on board! He responded so generously by singing his famous songs in a mini concert right there on the deck where passengers applauded with appreciation. We also witnessed how the tired ferry boat attendants were energized by the surprise gift and their happiness was so palpable.

Every time we would see Daddy Joe in Church, in wakes, funerals or healing masses, he never failed to greet us. And if my husband and son were the mass singers, he always approached and complimented them.  He expressed how much he enjoyed listening to them and encouraged them to continue singing. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, he and Tita Mary Ann both visited me at home and attended a healing mass celebrated by Fr. Gerard Deveza to offer prayers for me. When they heard of Fr. Gerard’s advocacy to help underprivileged students go to a mission school, he helped raise funds through a concert where he and his children sang. Its was so beautiful. His generosity in sharing his talent and making people laugh is something we continue to witness through his stellar  performances especially in fundraising shows all sold to help Xavier School’s scholars, my alma matter Assumption College mission schools, support for the Verbum Dei missionaries and so much more here and abroad.

I remember one time, he was singing and the aircon unit was faulty. It was very hot but Daddy Joe was not bothered by this. He gave his full performance even though he was sweltering in his suit. He kept us feeling cool because he kept us laughing the night away with all his funny jokes.  

Daddy Joe continues to spread his loving kindness to families like ours, as well as to many others all over the world. He performs in different countries where he continues to bring cheer to those in need.  He never holds back when it comes to giving his time, his talent and most of all his love. He just gives and gives so much of himself. That’s why we love him.  He really knows how to make people feel loved, and he brings the spirit of Christmas into our hearts not just on Christmas but all year round. See you soon Daddy Joe!