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Filipino man finds his long-lost Taiwanese father

Overseas foreign workers in Taiwan help Filipino man find his Taiwanese father after 26 years

Ming-jen (left), Eh-chen (right). (Facebook, Chen Chen screenshot)

Ming-jen (left), Eh-chen (right). (Facebook, Chen Chen screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Filipino man on Thursday (Feb. 19) was able to find his long-lost Taiwanese father, who had not been seen or heard from for 26 years.

On Wednesday, Chou Eh-chen, 27, contacted Taiwan News to report that he was searching for his father, who he last saw when he was a little over one year old in 1994. Eh-chen's father, Chou Ming-jen (周明仁), who is a native of Taiwan's Pingtung County, married his mother, Caytana N. Ilao, in the Philippines on March 12, 1993.

The couple moved to Ming-jen's farm in Taiwan in June of 1993, where Eh-chen was born on Nov. 23, 1993. However, he said that his parents frequently argued and his mother eventually decided to leave Taiwan and return to the Philippines with the help of nuns on Dec. 23, 1994.

Filipino man finds his long-lost Taiwanese father
Chou Ming-jen. (Facebook, Chen Chen screenshot)

Eh-chen said that he never heard from his father again after his mother took him back with her to the Philippines. He says that after his mother passed away from a serious illness late last year, he decided to try to find his father and get to know him more.

Later on Wednesday, 39-year-old Filipina caregiver Raychelle J San Lorenzo said that she saw the Taiwan News article about Eh-chen's search on Facebook and realized that his father appeared to live in the same township she does — Pingtung's Xinyuan Township.

She said she immediately contacted Eh-chen and went to the Pingtung County Police Bureau. Police then searched through their database and were able to track down Ming-jen's exact address, but there was no contact phone number.

Filipino man finds his long-lost Taiwanese father
Ming-jen speaking to Yang. (Facebook, Chen Chen screenshot)

Officers told Raychelle that they would further investigate his whereabouts and would contact her when they had more information. On Thursday, police called Raychelle and provided her with Ming-jen's contact information.

That evening, she enlisted the help of her boss's sister to help her find the man's residence and serve as a translator. At around the same time, 27-year-old Filipina housewife Diane Rebellion Tamayo saw the Taiwan News post and realized that the man's address listed in the article was in her neighborhood.

She contacted Eh-chen and then went to his father's residence with her 28-year-old Taiwanese husband, Yang Kun-zhang (楊坤璋), who could act as a translator. Coincidentally, the two parties both arrived a Ming-jen's home at around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday evening.

Filipino man finds his long-lost Taiwanese father
Ming-jen (left), Eh-chen (right). (Facebook, Chen Chen screenshot)

At first, Ming-jen refused to speak to the visitors, but eventually acquiesced to conversing in Taiwanese. Yang started by saying he wanted to discuss some information regarding his wife and he agreed.

Ming-jen stated that when his son was one year old, his ex-wife absconded with his son, never to be heard or seen again. He said he then filed for a divorce at a local court and the divorce notice was sent to the Philippines, but he never received a response.

Yang then showed him a photo Eh-chen when he was a child, but MIng-jen claimed he did not recognize him. Yang explained that his ex-wife had died of cancer and that Eh-chen had never known about his father's whereabouts and was now trying to find him.

Filipino man finds his long-lost Taiwanese father
Ming-jen (left), Eh-chen (right). (Facebook, Chen Chen screenshot)

Ming-jen said that he later remarried to a Vietnamese woman and they have a daughter, who is now in her 20s. Eh-chen, who was witnessing the entire interaction with his father live via Facebook, said that had the impression that his father slowly began to acknowledge that he was his son as he spoke about his past.

However, when asked if he wished to reconnect with his son, Ming-jen said that too many years had gone by and does not want to be bothered by the matter. According to Raychelle, when they pressed him one final time to see if he would be willing to talk to his son on the phone, Ming-jen said in Taiwanese "no need" (免哪).

Despite his father's misgivings, Eh-chen was elated to see him and took to Facebook on Thursday evening to write the following:

"I'm already happy that I saw my dad even though it was through a video call. It's a good feeling that almost 28 years of deficiency has been made whole again. I was super happy when I saw the video, I told myself, 'That's my Daddy, I miss you Daddy and I love you,' You are too much Lord, I am so happy."

Eh-chen thanked fellow Filipinos and Taiwan News for helping to find his father. When asked what his plans are next, he said that despite his father's apparent rejection, he will write a letter to him and include photos of himself.

Filipino man finds his long-lost Taiwanese father
Ming-jen (left), Eh-chen (right). (Facebook, Chen Chen screenshot)

He said that he hopes to have the chance to visit his father in Taiwan when the pandemic is over. He is also exploring the possibility of applying for a Taiwanese passport and potentially citizenship.

One challenge that he faces is the fact that although he was born in Taiwan and his father is a Taiwanese citizen, his parents did not officially register him in the country before his mother took him to the Philippines.

Yang showing Ming-jen photos of Eh-chen on his smartphone.

Updated : 2021-04-23 23:47 GMT+08:00