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9 Quotes From Boy Abunda About His Nanay Lesing Who Has Passed Away At 90

In remembrance of the matriarch who was loved and adored by the King of Talk, we share some of the most touching things he has said about her over the years

Boy Abunda's mother has passed away.

Licerna "Lesing" Romerica Abunda would have turned 91 years old in January, but a month before her birthday, it was decided that she had lived her life to the fullest, that it was time for her to meet eternal rest. 

Prior to her passing, it was known that she had been unwell and was receiving medical treatment. Though the exact reason for her death has not been disclosed, Tito Boy has talked openly about her physical condition in the past, often citing dementia as the most apparent consequence of her old age. 

The "King of Talk" loved Nanay Lesing; unabashedly, he would tell the world how her maternal love had shaped him, motivated him, and continued to give him strength even has he made a name for himself in show business. Far and wide, it was a fact that there was no one in his life like his mother and that she had done beautiful things for her son, and that her legacy will forever be kept sacred by him. 

As we pay tribute to Nanay Lesing and the life she leaves behind, we take a look at some of the most touching, heartfelt stories that Tito Boy has shared about her over the years:

On remembering the words of his mom that have remained to be a source of strength in the most challenging of times:

"...Dito ako humuhugot sa mga pagkakataong nanghihina ako bilang tao, bilang propesyonal. In a fiercely competitive business like ours, sabi niya sa akin, 'Even before a contest begins, you're my winner.'" 

On what he was most thankful for as he celebrated his birthday last year:

"I will forever be grateful to my mother... for making me believe that I am okay. I'm able to say I'm okay because nanay made me believe that I was okay, and I am okay."

On the last statement that he would want to be remembered saying, should the world be unable to hear anything any longer:

"Make your nanay proud, whatever it is. Because when you make your nanay proud, you make tatay proud, you make her family proud. And when you make your nanay proud, you're kind." 

On thanking the Lord that he was able to prepare for caring his mother at her old age:

"Pinaghandaan ko ang pagkakataon na ito na maalagaan ang aking ina, na hindi ko problema ang pagbayad sa ospital. Pero, hindi pala madali. Kasi ang aking ama ay namatay sa loob ng taxi in the arms of his mother on the way to San Juan de Dios. And I will not forget that experience because we had five hours waiting in the hospital lobby dahil wala kaming pambayad para mailabas ang katawan ng aming ama. That was the very moment when I had that resolve na magtatrabaho ako dahil ayaw kong maranasan ng aking ina, lalo na, ang naranasan ng aking ama."

On the twin emotions of joy and pain that came with caring for his ailing mother: 

"I am grateful in both joy and pain. Grateful because kahit nasasaktan ako, I'm being given the chance by God to be the best mother to my mother. And I'm able to say thank you to her."

On living life without his mother by his side:

"I don't know how I'm going to live my life without the presence of my mother. Pero katulad ng maraming sugal sa buhay ko, susuungin ko. Because that's the only way." 

On his memories of doing a photo shoot with Nanay Lesing:

"'Pag nalulungkot ako, inaalala ko lang 'yung nanay, 'yung kalokohan namin habang nagpi-pictorial kami. When I see these photos, I remember life, I remember my mother, I remember the fun I had with her."

On getting to use their experience on set to introduce his mother to the world:

"Ang saya ko. Ang saya-saya ko na ipakilala ang nanay sa mga tao, na sabi kong, 'I'm proud of my mother.' I'm proud of my mother kahit bungi; siya ang tumatawa noon. [Sabi niya]. 'Boy, makikita 'yung wala na akong ipin.' Sabi ko nanay, naalala mo 'yung sinasabi sa akin, 'Be proud of who you are?' That's who we are, and that's okay!'"

On one of the wisest lessons she imparted to him:

"When you have a problem, start with yourself. Doon ka mag-umpisa. Kung maso-solve mo 'yung problema doon, maganda. But you cannot start solving a problem, a personal problem, from the outside... Ang translation ko sa kanya, noong ako'y nandito na sa industriya na ito ay hindi ako marunong mangdamay."

As a way to give back for all his mother had done for him, in 2012, Tito Boy also established the Make Your Nanay Proud Foundation (MYNP) in 2012, a non-profit that encourages everyone to participate in acts of kindness to better society to do just that: make their mothers proud.

Since it was launched in 2012, MYNP has spearheaded projects that include the Sine Nanay Festival 2015, Best Nanay Awards 2015, Tulong Kay Nanay Project, MYNP Outreach Projects, engagements with mother-LGBT, and a compilation of research materials and articles on motherhood.

However, perhaps the most notable MYNP-related achievement is the widely successful Make Your Nanay Proud book published by ABS-CBN in 2014 which features a heartwarming collection of recollections, musings, and memories of many of the country's most famous about their mothers. A second book by Tito Boy, called Nanay's Gay Boy, came out in 2018 and was meant to highlight his life growing up as a member of the LGTBQIA+ community. In it, he highlights the support he received from his mother who constantly gave him the courage to be who he was and be true to himself, through and through. 

In honor of how big a role his own mother played in his life, the books and his foundation's many projects were one of Tito Boy's ways to immortalize all the immeasurable good that Nanay Lesing has left with him.

Nanay Lesing's wake is being held at the Arlington Memorial Chapels in Quezon City. 

Photos from @makeyournanayproud