WATCH: 30 years after he got lost, Fil-Australian returns to PH to be reunited with biological mom


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MANILA, Philippines - For more than three decades, Filipino-Australian filmmaker Joel “Jojo” de Carteret, had questions about the whereabouts of his biological mom in the Philippines.

Back in 1985, four-year-old Jojo was found wandering alone in Muñoz Market in Quezon City. Since he was too young to remember his home address, he never had the chance to return home.

Fil-Australian returns to PH to be reunited with biological mom
PHOTO CREDIT: Facebook/Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho
In his interview with “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho” (KMJS), Jojo recounted the moments leading to an event that forever changed the course of his life.

“One day, I stole some of his matches and I bring it to my room and I lit the paper. Next thing I know the whole wall and the bed caught on fire. My next memory from that was I went downstairs I couldn’t find my parents. I suddenly I realized I was lost,” Jojo recounted

Eventually, a jeepney driver found him and brought him to an orphanage. In no time, Australian couple Julie and George de Carteret adopted him and brought him to their homeland.

More than three decades after Jojo lost his way, the filmmaker who is now in his 30’s decided to return to the Philippines in search for his family. However, such feat was extremely challenging for Jojo as he had vague memories of his parents.

“My memories of my parents was that my dad was a jeepney driver and my mother was a dressmaker,” Jojo revealed.

Initially, Jojo met Danilo and Vicky, a couple who also lost their son 30 years ago. After undergoing DNA test, it was revealed that they weren’t related.

Determined to reunite with his biological family, Jojo continued his search for his real parents. Through the help of some residents in the area he got some information about his potential parents, Herminia Rio and Carding Culadilla.

Apparently, his father Carding already moved to the US and is now working as a chief mechanic. With the help of staff of KMJS, he was able to contact his dad.

“Im trying to find you for so many years. I keep coming back then to the place where your mom left you,” Carding told Jojo through a video call.

His brother Jurie Culadilla told him: “When I was a kid I used to be mean to you. I’m sorry. I love you.”

Still, Jojo knew he had to find his mom. After two months of continuous search, he decided to go back to Australia but not long before making an announcement in a radio program.

“This is Joel and this is your lost boy that went missing in 1985 and I’m back and I’m really eager to meet you,” Jojo said in the radio program.

Fortunately, that radio program announcement reached Herminia. A day prior to his flight to Australia, Jojo was finally reunited with his biological mom. A DNA test eventually confirmed that Jojo indeed is Herminia’s long lost son.

“Palagi ko siyang sinasama sa trabaho. Kaya lang noong araw na iyon, hindi ko nasama siya dahil natutulog pa siya. Nawalan na ako ng pag-asa. Nagdadasal na lang po sa Diyos na sana minsan magsalubong yung landas namen,” Herminia said.

Watch Jojo’s heartwarming story below.
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--Mini, The Summit Express

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