[et_pb_section background_image=”https://www.rafi.org.ph/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/eddie-copy.jpg” transparent_background=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” inner_shadow=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”off” custom_width_px=”1080px” custom_width_percent=”80%” make_equal=”off” use_custom_gutter=”off” fullwidth=”on” specialty=”off” disabled=”off”][et_pb_fullwidth_image src=”https://www.rafi.org.ph/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/DSC09888-copy.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1px” border_style=”solid” disabled=”off”][/et_pb_fullwidth_image][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section transparent_background=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” inner_shadow=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on” custom_padding=”0||0px|” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”off” custom_width_px=”1080px” custom_width_percent=”80%” make_equal=”off” use_custom_gutter=”off” fullwidth=”on” specialty=”off” disabled=”off”][et_pb_fullwidth_header background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” header_fullscreen=”off” header_scroll_down=”off” scroll_down_icon=”;” scroll_down_icon_size=”45px” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” content_orientation=”center” image_orientation=”center” title_font_size=”37px” subhead_font_size=”22px” content_font_size=”30px” custom_button_one=”off” button_one_text_size=”20″ button_one_use_icon=”on” button_one_icon_placement=”right” button_one_on_hover=”on” button_one_letter_spacing_hover=”0″ custom_button_two=”off” button_two_text_size=”20″ button_two_use_icon=”on” button_two_icon_placement=”right” button_two_on_hover=”on” button_two_letter_spacing_hover=”0″ disabled=”off” inline_fonts=”Merriweather”]

IAMRAFI: I Had Cancer;

Cancer Never Had Me

The Story of Nora Garcia Moreno, Cancer Survivor 

By Marco Paulo Trajano Deligero  | October 26, 2018

[/et_pb_fullwidth_header][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section transparent_background=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” inner_shadow=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on” custom_padding=”0px|0px|54px|0px” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”off” custom_width_px=”1080px” custom_width_percent=”80%” make_equal=”off” use_custom_gutter=”off” fullwidth=”off” specialty=”off” admin_label=”Section” disabled=”off”][et_pb_row make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”off” custom_width_px=”1080px” custom_width_percent=”80%” use_custom_gutter=”off” gutter_width=”3″ custom_padding=”0px|0px|16px|0px” allow_player_pause=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on” make_equal=”off” parallax_1=”off” parallax_method_1=”on” parallax_2=”off” parallax_method_2=”on” parallax_3=”off” parallax_method_3=”on” parallax_4=”off” parallax_method_4=”on” admin_label=”Row” disabled=”off”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ disabled=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_text background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” admin_label=”Text” use_border_color=”off” border_style=”solid” disabled=”off” inline_fonts=”Lato”][/et_pb_text][et_pb_text background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” admin_label=”Text” use_border_color=”off” border_style=”solid” disabled=”off” inline_fonts=”Abel,Arimo”]

Nora was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, but that did not stop her from living life to the fullest. After continuous treatment and therapy, she is now cancer-free and even formed a cancer support group called the Strong Defender, based at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City.

 

Calm Before the Storm

Nora Garcia Moreno, or simply Nora, grew up in the City of Digos, Davao del Sur. Her father, who died when she was 13 years old, was a local trader who sold almost anything to support the family, while her mother was a housewife, and she has 4 other siblings. 

She moved to Cebu after finishing high school, worked for several establishments and finally settled down in 1997. She has been blessed with three children — her eldest just finished an education degree at the University of San Jose-Recoletos, while the two others are still in high school.

 

On Discovering the Life Threatening Disease

In 2005, Nora discovered a ‘lusay’ or node/lump in her right breast which she did not take seriously, never thinking it could be life threatening. But through the years, that lump bothered her as the symptoms intensified. She had trouble sleeping, and suffered from frequent and severe stabbing pain in her breast which made her body shiver and burn with fever. 

It was only ten years after, in 2015, that Nora decided to go to the hospital and consult a physician who immediately referred her to the breast cancer clinic. On that very day, she had her biopsy.

“I cried and asked the doctor, ‘why do I need a biopsy?’”

The doctor said, “Because, what I felt on your right breast is malignant, 100%!”

Nora said that she felt like her world crushed, hearing the word ‘cancer’ made her feel that everything was hopeless, and that she was already going to die of the disease.

It took her two months to accept her fate and decided to undergo chemotherapy, saying that she needed to be brave in order to survive for her children who were still in school.

 

The Beginning of Her Battle With Breast Cancer, New Challenge

Nora underwent chemotherapy for three months, a mastectomy of the right breast, and then monthly radiation therapy. She had annual check-ups thereafter.

In 2017, she had a bone scan and discovered that there were suspicious cancer cells in her right ribs. The doctor advised her to take monthly medication for the bones, including injections of vitamins. Due to her perseverance and the support of people who mattered to her, she completed her treatment and overcame the new threat on her life.

“Today, I don’t think of my own challenges anymore; I am focused on how I could help my friends who have cancer, my ‘breastfriends,’ because I know that they need moral support like I needed before,”

 

Inspiring Women: Establishing the Strong Defender Support Group

Formed in 2016, Nora envisioned that their organization, the Strong Defender Support Group based in Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, would help the members in their own individual battles against cancer, which includes referral to different organizations that offer free treatment for cancer, and financial assistance for their fellow members who succumb to the disease.

Most importantly, Nora said that the main purpose of their organization is the camaraderie and moral support given to fellow members.

“I’ve been there, I know exactly what my fellow cancer patients and survivors feel, that they are dying, this is what they fear the most,”

“Strangely enough, even our other friends avoid us. I used to have lots of friends, but when I had cancer, I lost them. You actually get to know who your real friends are when you are in that situation,” Nora said.

Nora also added that her family has become closer since her battle with cancer compared to before; they appreciate life now as family.

 

Before Survival: Living Life With Breast Cancer

In her firsthand experience with this dreaded disease, Nora said that she lost several people along the way — people she considered friends before rejected her because of her breast cancer.

“There were many times when it seemed like they didn’t treat me as a person, that they were disgusted of me; perhaps it was because of how I looked back then; they were distant when they talked to me, they thought I was going to die already — well, they were wrong!” Nora said.

She also said that during her battle, her only goal was to fight and survive for her children, she promised herself that she would never give up because of her three children, and her family.

 

Better Tomorrow: Life Successes

When asked how she is doing now, Nora proudly said, “I am very happy now!”

Her eldest child just finished college, and all along she thought that she would never see her children succeed in life.

“I told my children, for as long as I’m breathing, I shall never stop supporting them until they finish their studies,” Nora said.

“I thought then that seeing my children finish their studies was enough for me, but no! I want to see more of their successes in life, which is why I needed to be strong and fight cancer so that I can continue to live and be there for them, by the grace of God,”

“Look at me now! Who could even say that I had breast cancer? Praise God, I am very strong now!” she added.

Nora also actively participates during different cancer awareness events of RAFI-EJACC, sharing her story of survival to inspire other people who are currently battling with the disease.

“There is nothing impossible with God! I just want to live — this is what I am always thinking about, it really depends on the person’s attitude when fighting the disease, it’s all about the right mindset,” she said.

 

On Her Greatest Life Lesson, Happiness

Nora said that her greatest lesson learned is that your financial status does not determine how one faces difficulties in life, including a life threatening diseases like cancer.

“I want them to understand that being poor is not an issue to heal, cancer or not, it depends on the person’s attitude, never lose hope,”

“What matters most are the following — your relationship with the Lord (so pray always), the support of your family and from your real friends,” she said.

Nora shared that happiness, for her, is simply knowing that her children are successful, and that she could share life’s blessings to other people around her.

“Yes ‘life is short’ so you have to value that short life. It is really up to you on how you live this short life to make it memorable. As what people say, “life is what you make it,” she said.

 

Surviving Breast Cancer: People That Matters for Nora

In her battle with cancer, Nora thanks the Lord, first and foremost, for helping her survive it, second, her family, and third, RAFI.

“I am grateful that I am able to refer my friends to RAFI, this much I can do! Laban lang hanggang may hininga!”

“Before, I thought that when you have cancer you will surely die, but now, having experienced it firsthand, I know that people can actually survive, cancer can be defeated,” 

“Enjoy your life today because you cannot appreciate the present if you are always worried about the future.” #IAMRAFI

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_code disabled=”off”][/et_pb_code][et_pb_code disabled=”off”][/et_pb_code][et_pb_code disabled=”off”] [/et_pb_code][et_pb_gallery gallery_ids=”29846,29845,29844,29843,29841,29840,29839,29838,29837,29836,29835,29834,29833,29832,29831″ fullwidth=”on” posts_number=”43″ orientation=”landscape” show_title_and_caption=”off” show_pagination=”on” background_layout=”light” auto=”on” auto_speed=”7000″ use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1px” border_style=”solid” disabled=”off”][/et_pb_gallery][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

True to its purpose of providing an efficient learning environment to the schoolchildren of Cebu, the Education Development Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-EDU) collaborated with the Municipality of Sibonga for the construction of 12 new classrooms. 

After months of hard work and commitment, teachers and students from the beneficiary schools (see table below) received the new classrooms during a turnover ceremony held last Sept. 26, 2018. The ceremony was attended by Sibonga Mayor Caroline Bacaltos, Vice Mayor Cirilo Apuda, Schools Division Superintendent Rhea Mar Angtud, Public Schools District Supervisor Ma. Chona Redoble, and RAFI-EDU Executive Director Ernesto Alix. 

Name of School

Type of Building/no. of classrooms

Cagay Elementary School

1 storey – 3 classroom

Libo Elementary School

1 storey – 3 classroom

Sabang Elementary School

1 storey – 3 classroom

Simala Elementary School

1 storey – 3 classroom

 

The total project cost amounted to P10.2 million, with the Municipality of Sibonga providing P810,000 as counterpart fund.

RAFI continues to collaborate with stakeholders to provide the best kind of education experience our schoolchildren deserve.

The Education Development Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-EDU) helps in the formation of effective learning environments by providing high-quality, cost-effective school infrastructure and by capacitating school communities for the continuous improvement of learning outcomes.

To provide children with adequate psychosocial support, representatives from various sectors came together to hold creative play sessions for children survivors of the landslide in the City of Naga.

The three-day activity held last Oct. 4 to 6, 2018 was conducted by the Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-DACF), KIDSLIFE Foundation (KIDS Learning Initiative and Family Education), and volunteers from different sectors.

The children enjoyed social interaction with their peers through different creative play activities such as playing with thread dolls, coloring, and drawing. The children were also treated to afternoons of singing, dancing, and story reading.

Play therapy is important for children, especially for those who recently experienced trauma-inflicting events, as it could help them express themselves through different activities.

Before the actual sessions, RAFI volunteers were trained to conduct the intervention program for the children. The volunteers were taught the Waldorf kindergarten program that introduced healthy rhythms of indoor and outdoor play activities, games, songs, and snacks. Specifically, it included art activities like free drawing with crayons, watercolor painting, and crafts; circle time with songs, verses, and movement; snacks and hygiene (washing of hands), outdoor free play, and games.

The session ended with a healing puppet show. Healing stories with puppetry accompanied by meaningful rituals and songs aim to create a feeling of safety and security, helping the child victims re-orient themselves again.

The Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-DACF) aims to improve Early Childhood Care and Development condition at the grassroots level by providing capabilities to the Local Government Units to effectively track children’s development and by constructing quality early learning centers. Its Grants Program also supports initiatives promoting the welfare and development of children in all ages.

Students from Uling National High School of the City of Naga gave a sensational performance of their Dagitab Festival dance to bag the grand prize of the Mega Cebu Festival Dance Competition last Sept. 22, 2018 during the Mega Cebu Youth Convention at the SM City Trade Hall.

After the landslide in the city’s Barangay Tinaan on Sept, 20, 2018, the participation of the city’s contingent became uncertain. However, the day before the competition, Mayor Kristine Chiong allowed the dancers to compete, hoping to raise the spirit of hope of Naganhons.

By participating in the competition, the dancers performed not only to showcase the culture of the local government unit but to also inspire the people of the City of Naga to rise from the tragedy. 

“As the name of the city festival is DAGITAB, the dancers offered their performance to show that there is light and hope for all Naganhons after the incident,” said Lloyd Brian Davila, City of Naga Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council and purok mentoring team leader.

Despite the challenges, including the lack of means in going to the venue, the dancers’ persevered. They showcased their festival through their magical use of lights and their smooth but powerful dance performance.

Eventually, the City of Naga went on to win the grand prize in the festival dance competition. The Municipality of Minglanilla bagged the second prize with their Kabanhawan Festival dance. The Municipality of Consolacion landed third while the Municipality of Cordova and the City of Mandaue placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

The Governance and Linkages Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI-G&L) seeks to foster responsive institutions and an engaged citizenry through awards and recognition, good governance and leadership development programs, and active linkages and platforms of engagement and collaboration.

[et_pb_section background_image=”https://www.rafi.org.ph/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/eddie-copy.jpg” transparent_background=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” inner_shadow=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”off” custom_width_px=”1080px” custom_width_percent=”80%” make_equal=”off” use_custom_gutter=”off” fullwidth=”on” specialty=”off” disabled=”off”][et_pb_fullwidth_image src=”https://www.rafi.org.ph/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/IAMRAFI-Karen-Molijon.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1px” border_style=”solid” disabled=”off”][/et_pb_fullwidth_image][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section transparent_background=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” inner_shadow=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on” custom_padding=”0||0px|” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”off” custom_width_px=”1080px” custom_width_percent=”80%” make_equal=”off” use_custom_gutter=”off” fullwidth=”on” specialty=”off” disabled=”off”][et_pb_fullwidth_header background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” header_fullscreen=”off” header_scroll_down=”off” scroll_down_icon=”;” scroll_down_icon_size=”45px” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” content_orientation=”center” image_orientation=”center” title_font_size=”37px” subhead_font_size=”22px” content_font_size=”30px” custom_button_one=”off” button_one_text_size=”20″ button_one_use_icon=”on” button_one_icon_placement=”right” button_one_on_hover=”on” button_one_letter_spacing_hover=”0″ custom_button_two=”off” button_two_text_size=”20″ button_two_use_icon=”on” button_two_icon_placement=”right” button_two_on_hover=”on” button_two_letter_spacing_hover=”0″ disabled=”off” inline_fonts=”Merriweather”]

IAMRAFI: Never Give Up

The Story of Karen Molijon, RAFI-EJACC Cancer Patient 

By Marco Paulo Trajano Deligero  | October 23, 2018

[/et_pb_fullwidth_header][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section transparent_background=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” inner_shadow=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on” custom_padding=”0px|0px|54px|0px” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”off” custom_width_px=”1080px” custom_width_percent=”80%” make_equal=”off” use_custom_gutter=”off” fullwidth=”off” specialty=”off” admin_label=”Section” disabled=”off”][et_pb_row make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”off” custom_width_px=”1080px” custom_width_percent=”80%” use_custom_gutter=”off” gutter_width=”3″ custom_padding=”0px|0px|16px|0px” allow_player_pause=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on” make_equal=”off” parallax_1=”off” parallax_method_1=”on” parallax_2=”off” parallax_method_2=”on” parallax_3=”off” parallax_method_3=”on” parallax_4=”off” parallax_method_4=”on” admin_label=”Row” disabled=”off”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ disabled=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_text background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” admin_label=”Text” use_border_color=”off” border_style=”solid” disabled=”off” inline_fonts=”Lato”][/et_pb_text][et_pb_text background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” admin_label=”Text” use_border_color=”off” border_style=”solid” disabled=”off” inline_fonts=”Abel”]

(Warning: This story contains graphic descriptions of what Karen went through, the objective of which is to emphasize on the need to have yourself checked immediately at the slightest sign of this menace called cancer.)

 

 

As we continue to celebrate the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here is another inspiring story of hope and continuous fight with the life threatening disease.

Karen is currently battling with Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), the most common type of breast cancer, and is on her second round of chemotherapy treatment.

Now, she encourages women to undergo annual screening for early detection. This is her advocacy, and this is her inspiring story.

 

Life Before Cancer

Karen Molijon was born in Mindanao and has three siblings. She experienced difficulties early on in life. Her father, who worked in a pineapple farm in Bukidnon, lost his job at the plantation and so their family decided to move to Lapu-Lapu City to start life anew. In order to support the family, her father became a tricycle driver.

After finishing high school in 1993, she worked as a factory worker at the Mactan Export Processing Zone in Lapu-Lapu City until the start of her health challenges in 2010, which led to her early retirement.  

 

Discovery of Benign Cysts on Her Breasts

Karen got married in 2008. When she gave birth, she was not able to breastfeed her firstborn because there was a problem with her breast milk duct. She had herself checked, and she was told that she had a benign cyst in her right breast.

She was given a certain medication for a week, but the problem was not resolved and because of that, the doctor advised her to have her right breast removed. 

“I was afraid because I thought, what if removing my right breast won’t solve the problem? I was worried,” Karen said.

It did not stop there; further examinations showed that she also had cysts on her left breast, so she had to undergo a minor operation where the cysts were removed from both breasts.

She started having discharges coming out from her nipples, but she thought that this was just due to the operation. Two years after the surgery, she still had blood-like discharges, which ranged from tan to brown in color, and most of the time profuse.

She was then referred to other doctors, and with more tests, she was informed that the cause of the discharges was the very first problem she had, the milk duct itself. Apparently, the cysts removal surgery that she underwent, that she hoped would fix the milk duct problem, did not resolve it after all.  

With this new finding, she was advised to undergo Core Needle Biopsy of the Breast. However, she didn’t trust doctors and medical procedures anymore.

“After the failure of the first operation, I didn’t trust medical procedures anymore. Imagine, I was subjected to different kinds of pain and yet my problem was not resolved. I wallowed in self-pity, plus the additional financial costs was too much to bear,”

After that consultation, she did not return to the doctor anymore and just took traditional medicine or herbal medicine.

 

‘My Breast Exploded’

In 2010, with all the pain she was feeling and all the financial difficulty brought about by the operation, she felt like giving up. But two years after, she got pregnant with her second son.

“I got depressed and worried for my baby; I was battling with this strange disease, and I didn’t want him to get affected inside my womb,”

After giving birth, she noticed that her right breast was growing abnormally; she even said that as the child grew her right breast likewise grew. It was hard and she said that her right nipple had those discharges again, this time more profuse.

When asked if she ever suspected that it was breast cancer, she said that it never crossed her mind.  

She further shared that there were times when she felt that her right breast was about to ‘explode;’ producing unusual blood flow, and she had to put a piece of cloth or even a baby diaper to absorb it.

And then one day in 2015, Karen’s right breast ‘exploded,’ producing continuous massive blood discharges coming out not just from the nipple but from the side of her breast. She placed ice to ease the pain and blood flow.

“I then wrapped a huge blanket around my right breast to lessen the blood flow; I thought I was going to die!” she said.

 

On Being Diagnosed With Cancer

Karen said that she already prepared herself for whatever the findings would be on her right breast. The diagnosis came, she had breast cancer.

And while she was loosing all hope, the people around wanted her to live.

“My friends and family were very supportive; my church mates were very supportive as well — they contributed what they can to help me,”

“That was when I realized that I needed to live! Because people around me wanted me to live!” she said.

Now, Karen is so thankful to the Lord for she already had two operations on her right breast.

“I have not asked the Lord for anything, but He already gave blessings to me. Now, because of God and the people around me, I am more determined to fight this cancer!” Karen added.

For Karen, prayers are powerful because whatever she asked from God, He gave it to her. And she is now asking for complete healing. She is currently going through several sessions of chemotherapy. 

 

On Her Life Lessons Learned

Karen said that being optimistic and hopeful are two of the lessons she has learned in life, setting aside problems and living life to the fullest for the love of her children and family.

“Though I am prepared for whatever might happen, I still pray for healing, I still want to see my children grow up, they are still young,” she said.

Karen shared that her father is also going through health challenges, and she constantly motivates him to continue to fight their battles.

“I am thankful that I was able to summon the strength to fight this battle with cancer,” 

She also said that she is helping other cancer patients by referring them to the Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-EJACC).

“While I am alive, I can still help them to fight with their own cancer battles,”

 

On People Who Matters to Her

Karen said that she is happy with the support that her parents, family and friends are giving her.

“I am so thankful to my ‘breastfriends’ in our organization, the Strong Defender Support Group, because we are all helping each other,”

Karen continuously emphasized that early detection is very important, and encourages women to be brave and not be afraid, and be open about it because early detection saves lives.

“Early detection is early cure, that is why I advice them to have annual screening and immediate check-up, it is already enough that I am the one who experienced it already, I want them to be more careful, and always take care of their bodies,”

“Health is really our wealth; we should all be really careful and fight cancer!” #IAMRAFI

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_code disabled=”off”][/et_pb_code][et_pb_code disabled=”off”][/et_pb_code][et_pb_code disabled=”off”] [/et_pb_code][et_pb_gallery gallery_ids=”29795,29794,29793,29792,29790,29789,29788,29787,29786″ fullwidth=”on” posts_number=”43″ orientation=”landscape” show_title_and_caption=”off” show_pagination=”on” background_layout=”light” auto=”on” auto_speed=”7000″ use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1px” border_style=”solid” disabled=”off”][/et_pb_gallery][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Twenty-six members and officers of the Client Advisory Board (CAB) of RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RMF) City of Naga branch extended their help to landslide survivors during the relief operations conducted by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) last Sept. 28, 2018.

RAFI, with the help of volunteers, prepared 1,800 relief packs that were distributed to 11 evacuation areas. RMF Cebu District Head Naomi Navacilla said they were able to locate RMF clients living in the landslide area and ensured that they were given the relief packs and additional 5 kilos of rice.

“We are really thankful that we have such active CAB members and officers that assisted us in the distribution. This is also our way of showing to our clients that they are not left behind and that RMF is here to assist them in many ways possible,” Navacilla added.

The September 20 landslide in Sitio Sindulan, Barangay Tina-an, Naga City displaced over 1,714 families from their homes; they are now staying in 11 different evacuation centers in Naga and San Fernando. Of the number of families affected, 793 are RMF clients. They lost their homes and livelihood while some lost family and friends to the tragedy. 

 

Tales

 

One of the CAB officer volunteers was Nanay Carmelita Bonghanoy, who had previous experience in relief operations. She and her husband have been helping distribute relief goods coming from various donors right after the landslide occurred.

“This is the right time for all of us to come together and help each other, especially the CAB members who were affected. After all, CAB’s mission is to promote the welfare of its members. With all the help we’ve been getting, I believe the survivors can still hope for the best,” Nanay Carmelita said in Cebuano.

An RMF and landslide survivor, Nanay Susana Canque lost her home and livelihood. She farms for a living to feed her 15 grandchildren who live with her and her husband in one of the mountainous area in Naga.

As she shared her experiences after the landslide, Nanay Susana said she is still thankful that her family is safe and that they are still able to survive despite having no income in the evacuation center. 

“We were reluctant to leave our place but we know we are safer here in the evacuation center. We are also thankful for everyone who donated in whatever way they can,” she added.

Another RMF client, Nanay Sisil Silana lost her brother during the tragedy. While her family is saddened by the loss, they are determined to rise above the situation for the sake of her parents and her own family.

Nanay Sisil and her family survived as they were inside the church then for the morning prayer. Her brother and his girlfriend were found five days after the incident by her father who persisted on looking for the missing body of his son.

“All we can think of now is how to rise above this but we don’t know where to start. We want to return to our place but we can’t because our house was destroyed. We’re just thankful that we have been getting help from RAFI,” Nanay Sisil added in Cebuano.

The Microfinance Program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI Micro-finance, Inc.) provides financial and non-financial services to micro-entrepreneurs with a mission of elevating lives of the vulnerable and disadvantaged communities through stable and rewarding livelihood.

Over 2,000 seedlings of native hardwood trees were planted by more than 200 individuals in Barangay Kabalaasnan, Municipality of Dumanjug during the annual Run2Plant last Sept. 14, 2018.

The variety of native seedlings planted during the activity were narra, tugas, tindalo, lamio, sopa, and cinnamon.

The Integrated Area Development Program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI-IAD) Executive Director Anton Dignadice said he was grateful for the partnership with different local government units in achieving one goal.

“We would like to extend our biggest gratitude to the Cebu Provincial Government, the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, and the Municipality of Dumanjug in pursuing our shared goal in improving Cebu’s forest cover, making Cebu a greener more livable place to live,” he added.

Participants of the half-day event were led by Dumanjug Mayor Guntrano Gica, municipal council members and department heads, representatives from the Bureau of Fire Protection and Philippine National Police, Cebu Provincial Government employees, and some high school and elementary students.

The event started with a zumba session as a warm-up exercise facilitated by the Dumanjug local police, followed by a briefing on the proper way to plant the seedlings conducted by RAFI forester Maximo Palen. Mayor Gica then fired the gun to mark the start of the 600-meter run towards the sloping planting sites. 

Run2Plant is a symbolic annual running event, which aims to raise awareness and consciousness to care for the environment through planting native trees and address Cebu’s degrading forest covers. It also seeks to provide a venue for individuals to contribute in rehabilitating and protecting the environment.

The event was made possible in partnership with the Cebu Provincial Government, the RAFI-Integrated Area Development Program through its Biodiversity Conservation Program (RAFI-BioCon), and participating local government units.

The Integrated Area Development Program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI-IAD) provides Local Government Units (LGUs) with technical assistance towards socioeconomic development.

More than 1,000 youth leaders from different local government units (LGUs) in Metro Cebu gathered last Sept. 22, 2018 for the 6th Mega Cebu Youth Convention held at the SM City Trade Hall.

With the theme “Mega Cebu: Lamdag sa Kabatan-onan,” the event aimed at inspiring the youth to be self-starters and become a part of an advocacy for a better Cebu. It featured inspirational speakers who shared life stories and contributions to the youth community of Metro Cebu. The event was organized by Mega Cebu in partnership with Club Mega.

Actor and amateur artist Baron Geisler spoke about second chances as he shared his spiritual journey during his rehabilitation in Cebu. After speaking fondly about his time in Cebu, he then courageously opened up about his transformation. He also shared a poem he composed.

Another celebrity featured was Cebuano singer and 2010 Sinulog Idol winner Jacky Chang. She is known for her hit single “Pero Atik Ra” which she also sang during her time on stage. Chang talked about how she refused to give up on her dreams during her teenage years.

Two organizations were also invited to speak about their programs and projects in their respective communities. Philippine Accessibility Disability Services (PADS) Executive Director John Paul “JP” Maunes introduced his organization, which is a group that promotes inclusive development for persons with disabilities and envisions a disability-inclusive Filipino society. Along with him was Brylle Arambo, a PADS beneficiary who shared his journey about being an athlete with disability. 

The last speakers were Carmel Amigable and Michaela Jaycel Dolores, who shared about their project called the “Shoeperhero Campaign,” a community project in Barangay Kamagayan that aims a holistic growth for members of the Kamagayan Football Club through character development. The campaign has 35 beneficiaries who are students with ages 9 to 15 years old and residents of the barangay.

Aside from the inspirational talks, the convention also featured the Mega Cebu Festival Dance Competition 2018 where dance groups from Metro Cebu LGUs showcased the festival dance of their respective areas to promote their culture and that of Cebu. Students from Uling National High School representing the City of Naga went on to win the grand prize of the competition.

Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB) Research, Program and Organizational Development (RPOD) Executive Committee Chairman Gordon Alan P. Joseph was also present along with the MCDCB RPOD Program Management Office (PMO) director Evelyn Nacario-Castro.

The Governance and Linkages Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI-G&L) seeks to foster responsive institutions and an engaged citizenry through awards and recognition, good governance and leadership development programs, and active linkages and platforms of engagement and collaboration.

[et_pb_section background_image=”https://www.rafi.org.ph/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/eddie-copy.jpg” transparent_background=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” inner_shadow=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”off” custom_width_px=”1080px” custom_width_percent=”80%” make_equal=”off” use_custom_gutter=”off” fullwidth=”on” specialty=”off” disabled=”off”][et_pb_fullwidth_image src=”https://www.rafi.org.ph/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/IAMRAFI-Emmylou-Quilaton-Cabonilas.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1px” border_style=”solid” disabled=”off”][/et_pb_fullwidth_image][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section transparent_background=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” inner_shadow=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on” custom_padding=”0||0px|” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”off” custom_width_px=”1080px” custom_width_percent=”80%” make_equal=”off” use_custom_gutter=”off” fullwidth=”on” specialty=”off” disabled=”off”][et_pb_fullwidth_header background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” header_fullscreen=”off” header_scroll_down=”off” scroll_down_icon=”;” scroll_down_icon_size=”45px” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” content_orientation=”center” image_orientation=”center” title_font_size=”37px” subhead_font_size=”22px” content_font_size=”30px” custom_button_one=”off” button_one_text_size=”20″ button_one_use_icon=”on” button_one_icon_placement=”right” button_one_on_hover=”on” button_one_letter_spacing_hover=”0″ custom_button_two=”off” button_two_text_size=”20″ button_two_use_icon=”on” button_two_icon_placement=”right” button_two_on_hover=”on” button_two_letter_spacing_hover=”0″ disabled=”off” inline_fonts=”Merriweather”]

IAMRAFI: Life Is Precious

The Story of Emmylou Quilaton Cabonilas, Cancer Survivor 

By Marco Paulo Trajano Deligero  | October 16, 2018

[/et_pb_fullwidth_header][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section transparent_background=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” inner_shadow=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on” custom_padding=”0px|0px|54px|0px” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”off” custom_width_px=”1080px” custom_width_percent=”80%” make_equal=”off” use_custom_gutter=”off” fullwidth=”off” specialty=”off” admin_label=”Section” disabled=”off”][et_pb_row make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”off” custom_width_px=”1080px” custom_width_percent=”80%” use_custom_gutter=”off” gutter_width=”3″ custom_padding=”0px|0px|16px|0px” allow_player_pause=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on” make_equal=”off” parallax_1=”off” parallax_method_1=”on” parallax_2=”off” parallax_method_2=”on” parallax_3=”off” parallax_method_3=”on” parallax_4=”off” parallax_method_4=”on” admin_label=”Row” disabled=”off”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ disabled=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_text background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” admin_label=”Text” use_border_color=”off” border_style=”solid” disabled=”off” inline_fonts=”Lato”][/et_pb_text][et_pb_text background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” admin_label=”Text” use_border_color=”off” border_style=”solid” disabled=”off” inline_fonts=”Abel”]

Emmylou was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes. And with the help of her family and friends, and continuous chemotherapy and radiation therapy, she is now cancer-free for almost five years.

 

A Happy Childhood

Emmylou, or Melot to her close friends and family, grew up in Dumanjug, Cebu, where her father comes from. Her mother, who was from Dalaguete, passed away in 2017. Her father retired in 2009 after working for the local government unit of Dumanjug as the Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator for 33 years. 

Emmy finished her Business Administration degree at the University of San Carlos then took up Law at the University of San Jose-Recoletos in 2008.

Emmy considers her childhood as happy and memorable, as she grew up loved and protected. She is single and has four older brothers and a younger sister and brother, all of whom are married. She currently works as an online-based English translator.

“I have to train myself to be content and still manage to earn on a daily basis; I am content and happy if I could take care of myself, as long as I am clean and tidy I am content,” she said.

“And with my earnings, I could take care of my nephews and I can buy those toys that they want,” she added.

 

On Being Diagnosed With Cancer, Misdiagnosed

In 2014, at the age of 33, Emmy was diagnosed with cancer.

“There was one time when I discovered something on the right side of my neck, I thought it was goiter, and adding that I had dry cough for almost two months prior, I immediately submitted myself for check-up,”

Aside from the check-up on her thyroid, the doctor requested her to have an x-ray.

“It turned out that I had no goiter, but the doctor found a mass in my x-ray results, so he requested me to have a CT scan as soon as possible,”

The plain CT scan result could not determine if it was thymoma or lymphoma (these are diseases in which malignant (cancer) cells form). The doctor told her that if further tests show  lymphoma, she needed to undergo chemotherapy; if it showed thymoma, she needed to undergo a major surgery. Thymoma showed in her test results, so she underwent surgery in May of 2014.

Emmy shared that the procedure included a thoracic surgeon opening her chest, and confirmed that she had controllable stage 3 malignant thymoma.

“Upon learning of the result, nitulo ra akong luha (I just cried) because it’s cancer, I thought I was going to die,” the law graduate said.

After a month, she was admitted for her first chemotherapy. Her doctor then informed her that she had curable stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes, which further meant that from 6 chemotherapy sessions she now had to have 12.

“I was misdiagnosed, I now have a scar and wires on my chest because of the painful operation where they needed to open my chest,”

“One of the doctors told me that it was the pathologist who made [a] mistake.” 

She also shared that there were times when she felt so weak that even opening a bottled water was a difficult task for her. Thankfully, she has gained back her strength and can do the usual household chores.

 

Support From Family, Friends

One of the things that eased her pain was the support of her family and friends during those trying times.

“Supportive man kaayo akoa family and friends, labi na sakong treatment period, (my family and friends were very supportive, especially during my treatment period),”

Emmy shared that help and blessings poured into her during her treatment. She is grateful to the people who helped her, particularly the late Esperanza “Inday” Garcia, former president of Cebu CFI Community Cooperative (CFI).

“I didn’t have money for my major operation, she allowed me to avail of a loan of any amount, kung pila gastuhon nako sa hospital, nga mugawas ko nga walay bayranan (based on how much I needed to pay for the hospital expenses, that I would not have to pay for anything else when I was discharged).”

Emmy shared that there was a time when she posted a plea on Facebook for financial support for her treatment, and support rushed in from family and friends, from former Dumanjug mayor Nelson Garcia, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.

“I was blessed to have a loving family and good friends, my law classmates were very supportive of my battle including my high school friends in Carcar,”

“It was not an easy journey but with good people around, they have helped me cope, thanks be to God!” Emmy shared.

 

Mental Health, Depression, Suicide Attempt

Aside from her battle with cancer, Emmy had other battles to conquer including family and personal problems, which led her to experiencing clinical depression. It was so bad that she became skinny and bald, could not sleep well, experienced a nervous breakdown, and even committed suicide.

“I even reached a point where I committed suicide because I cannot handle the problems anymore, but fortunately, I did not die. And my parents brought me to a mental health institution to seek assistance,”

 

Turning Point, New Life

Emmy shared that those difficult moments were turning points in her life where she decided to fight, instead of quit.

“I decided I should fight because there was a reason why I was still alive despite my suicide attempt, and then I eventually realized that I was and am loved,” she happily shared.

In December 2015, Emmy started joining church-based organizations, with the help of the Famor family of Dumanjug who would bring her to seminars and trainings on leadership in Cebu City and in Manila.

But in April of 2017, Emmy lost her mother, and she decided to stay in Dumanjug for good where she pursued her passion in cooking. Now, she’s makes puto cheese and other delicacies.

 

Emmy and Her Journey to Healing

Emmy said that Luzviminda Melegrito, a Municipal Social Worker who was her workmate in Dumanjug and also happens to be a cancer survivor, led her to know about the Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-EJACC).

“Accommodating man kaayo to ang naa didto sa office sa Cupsi, without hesitation ning tabang gyud sila sako last chemotherapy, (the staff in the RAFI-EJACC office in Cupsi building were very accommodating, and without hesitation, they helped me with my last chemotherapy),” Emmy shared happily.

 

Emmy and Her Life Motivation, People Who Matters

After her mother died, she took on the responsibility of taking good care of her three-year-old nephew John Francis Niño.

Emmy shared that with her battle with cancer; she realized how short life is not to spend it with your loved ones.

“Even if I am not materially wealthy, I am wealthy with hugs and kisses from my nephews and nieces, I want to see them grow up and witness their successes in life,”

“I am so grateful to them for being God’s Gift to me, too many to mention but they know who they are in my life,”

Emmy is now working double-time as an online seller, and cooking and selling goodies such as Puto Cheese.

Emmy also shared her gratefulness to her parents who took care of her especially during her difficult chemotherapy sessions.

“Special mention to my father, Feliciano Cabonilas, Sr., and to my late mother, Carmen Quilaton Cabonilas who took care of me when I was so sick, when it is supposed to be me taking care of her,”

Emmy shared what happiness means for her.

“For me, happiness is being content, and I have found that happiness through the love and support of my family and friends.” #IAMRAFI

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_code disabled=”off”][/et_pb_code][et_pb_code disabled=”off”][/et_pb_code][et_pb_code disabled=”off”] [/et_pb_code][et_pb_gallery gallery_ids=”29752,29751,29750,29749,29748,29747,29746,29745,29744,29743,29741,29740,29739,29738,29737,29736,29735,29734,29733,29732″ fullwidth=”on” posts_number=”43″ orientation=”landscape” show_title_and_caption=”off” show_pagination=”on” background_layout=”light” auto=”on” auto_speed=”7000″ use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1px” border_style=”solid” disabled=”off”][/et_pb_gallery][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) conducted its relief operations on September 28, 2018 and distributed hygiene/dignity kits to landslide-affected population in the City of Naga, Cebu, especially to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the evacuation centers.

 

Around 1,730 families or estimated 8,650 individuals from 11 evacuation centers received hygiene/dignity kits enclosed in a pail, which contains basic needs such as bath soap, laundry soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, alcohol, mat, and blanket. RAFI also distributed diapers, sanitary napkins, towels, and underwears for children and adults.

 

John Davin, a 20-year-old evacuee who has been in the evacuation center a day after the landslide on September 20 and has been helping repack used clothing, said he is thankful for the kit.

 

During the relief operations, the Cebu Seagull Rescue Unit International and the Client Advisory Board (CAB) of RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. City of Naga branch were present to help in the distribution.

 

Cirila Repunte Barcelonie, a CAB member, said their group is very grateful for having been given the opportunity to help the survivors in Naga. 

 

“We enjoy serving in our own way. We are here ready to serve more people whenever needed,” she said.

 

In a statement, RAFI President & Chief Operating Officer Dominica B. Chua said, “We hope the relief packages would be of help, especially for those living in the evacuation centers.”

 

“We share the burden of their fears, as well as the adverse impact of the calamity. Through the provision of relief packages to these internally displaced families, RAFI hopes to alleviate their lives and cope with the various challenges especially in living in evacuation centers,” she added.

 

The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) is a non-stock, non-profit organization with the strategic goal of creating happy and livable communities with high levels of well-being through a comprehensive approach that champions best practices in community development.

To continuously provide quality service to its clients and stakeholders, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) is working together with ABM Global Solutions, Inc. (AGS). The two formalized their partnership last Sept. 5, 2018 at the Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center (EADSC).

AGS, the leading business management solutions provider in the Philippines established in 1993, provides client centric consulting services through its quality support expertise.

Present during the memorandum of agreement signing were AGS Sales and Marketing Group Head Percival Flores, AGS Chief Operating Officer (COO) Dave De Leon, ePLDT SVP & Group Chief Operating Officer, and AGS President Nerisse Ramos. Representing RAFI were its president & COO Dominica B. Chua, Chief Finance Officer Riella Mae Guioguio, and Chief Technology Officer Edwin Marfil.

“I would like to express our gratitude for your trust and confidence in entrusting to us a very special project such as this. We would like to help you in any we can to execute your brand essence of ‘touching people, shaping the future,’ and we would like to help shape that future together,” AGS COO Dave De Leon said.

The partnership will result in the implementation of the Microsoft Dynamics 365, the next generation of intelligent business applications in the Cloud, which will deliver new purpose-built applications to help manage specific business function and shall adopt to business needs.

“Definitely, there will be more solutions that needs to be developed. RAFI is a growing organization, and we need to continue to be relevant to the community we serve, and definitely technology has a big place in our growth,” said RAFI President & COO Dominica B. Chua.

“The clients we serve are now technology-driven. In our survey, 98% of our clients in RAFI

Micro-finance, Inc. have cellphones, and around 75% of them have two smartphones. So now we ask, ‘How can we make technology improve our efficiency, both in our processes and in our services to these people?’ That is why we have digital transformation to reach and help serve the unserved,” she added.

Earlier this year, RAFI evaluated technology platforms to replace the current, complex, ERP system with a more flexible, easy-to-use system at a reduced cost. The Foundation concluded that Microsoft had the most advanced, integrated and cost-effective solution both for ERP and CRM.

The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) is a non-stock, non-profit organization with the strategic goal of creating happy and livable communities with high levels of well-being through a comprehensive approach that champions best practices in community development.

Recognizing the role of play in therapy sessions, the Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-DACF) and KIDSLIFE Foundation (KIDS Learning Initiative and Family Education) organized a one-day creative play workshop and orientation for volunteers last Sept. 30, 2018. 

The activity included making different toys made from natural materials that will be used in conducting creative play therapy sessions for children affected by the recent landslide in the City of Naga in Cebu.

Play therapy is often used for children who experienced trauma as this provides them opportunity to process their emotions that they may not be able to express in other ways.

The volunteers who participated in the orientation workshop came from different sectors and saw the call for volunteers posted by RAFI in its different social media platforms. Four of the volunteers were high school students who committed to join the onsite sessions for children.

The rest of the volunteers were professionals who also signified interest in joining RAFI-DACF and KIDSLIFE Foundation activities in the City of Naga.

RAFI-DACF, volunteers, and KIDSLIFE, headed by Ms. Grace Ferreros, will visit two evacuation centers in Naga to conduct a three-day creative play therapy sessions to answer the psychosocial needs of children who experienced trauma and disruption caused by the recent disaster.

The Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-DACF) aims to improve Early Childhood Care and Development condition at the grassroots level by providing capabilities to the Local Government Units to effectively track children’s development and by constructing quality early learning centers. Its Grants Program also supports initiatives promoting the welfare and development of children in all ages.