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Gay father raises 3 children

By: JAIMIE ROSE R. ABERIA

Dating a woman was something that Eduardo Manalang only wanted to try after a few heartbreaks with men for a change.

Little did he know that the decision would indeed change his life.

The 52-year-old Eduardo, fondly called “Edna” by his friends, is openly gay. He grows his hair long, paints his nails, and wears women’s clothes, all while fulfilling his tasks as a husband and a father of three teenagers.

Edna shared that his love story with Luzviminda, 49, was nothing close to movie scenes. There were no butterflies or spark when they met because he was then in a relationship with a man.

“Walang kilig factor,” he said. “Pero tinatanong niya ako kung gusto kong magkaanak, parang nagpaparamdam siya.”

The next thing they knew, he was already an expectant father. “Walang ligawan na nangyari, nagkaroon lang ng hindi inaasahan hanggang sa lumaki na ang tiyan niya at nanganak na. Mula noon, hindi na kami nag-iwanan,” he said.

Edna, who discovered he was gay when he was just five, said that people’s judgment made him doubt if he was fit to become a father.

“Bata pa ako, elementary pa ako, nagkaka-crush ako sa boys, naglalaro ako ng manika, sinusuot ko yung bestida ng kalaro ko kaya alam ko at ng lahat ang kasarian ko,” he said. “Nalito rin ako kung uurong ba ako o hindi pero yung takot at duda, hanggang sa isip ko lang dahil buhay ang dumating at hindi naman basta bagay lang.”

Despite being man enough to accept the responsibility, there were still people who would say that the first child was just an “accident,” until Luzviminda carried their second and third kids. Edna and Luzviminda got married in 2007.

Growing up, he said his children – now aged 19, 17, and 15 – did not really demand for an explanation but already seem to understand.

“Katulad dati, may nambully sa kanila, sabi ‘Bakit ang tatay niyo, mahaba buhok?’ Sabi nila, ‘Oo, kaya sabihin mo sa Papa mo, pahaba rin siya ng buhok,’” he recounted.

Edna said that it was his decision not to pretend to be a man to please his children, only to reveal later on his true sexuality because he said it will only make things more difficult for them.

“Lumaki sila na Papa na ang tawag sa akin kahit ganito ang image ko. Nasa kanila na kung tatanggapin nila, basta pinakita ko kung ano ako,” he said. “Tanggapin man nila ako o hindi bilang isang magulang, ang mahalaga ipinapakita ko ang pagmamahal ko.”

The Manalangs live in their home in Pasay City, where the head of the family has put up a parlor business. The husband and wife said they work hand in hand – the former fulfilling customers’ requests and the latter working on the sidelines assisting Edna.

But aside from being the family’s source of income, the parlor is witness to the light moments shared by the family.

“Mula nang ipanganak sila hanggang ngayon, walang ibang humawak ng buhok nila. Ako lang talaga ang naggugupit sa kanila,” Edna said.

Edna said that becoming a parent himself made him realize the value of love. “Ang isang magulang pala ay hindi madali. Pero kahit hindi ko napaghandaan ang responsibilidad, hindi man perpekto, nagawa ko pa rin dahil sa pagmamahal ko sa kanila,” he said.

While people still judge his being gay, Edna said that nobody can question his being a father.

“‘Yung ibang mga tatay, madalas ngang nakatingin sa akin pero nakikita naman nila pag nagkakasakit ’yung anak ko, ako ang nagdadala sa ospital, sa center kaya baka sila pa nga ang nahihiya dahil tatay sila, hindi nila kayang gawin ‘yung mga ginagawa ko,” he said.

Asked what he thinks could be his difference from other dads, he jokingly said, “Sila, hanggang Superman lang, ako kaya ring maging Wonder Woman.”

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