Saturday, June 30, 2012

Three Twinkling Eyes

The world is a beautiful place, and it may be good to enjoy it with eyes closed, as we relish all kinds of sounds and sensations.   But it would be a lot better to enjoy it with eyes wide open.  And with clear vision.

These three lucky people got a chance to truly appreciate it, with clearer eyesight.  Read their stories below.

The Story of Nica Galvez

One day in the month of October of 2011, 4-year old Nica Galvez, while playing inside their house, got into a fight with her brother.  Her brother threw a pair of small scissors towards her, which accidentally hit her right eye.  She and her parents went to see a doctor the next day and it was discovered that there was an injury in her eye and she needed to have an operation.

With the help of the Tapulanga Foundation, they were able to go to Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital in Bacolod City for consultations, laboratory exams and even transportation and meals for free as even these two the family could not afford.  Little Nica finally underwent surgery in February of 2012.

Nica, when asked if her eye still hurts, shook her head and said “No.”  When asked if she can see better, she nodded, “Yes.”  Her father, Joey Galvez, had a big smile on his face when he said, “Madamo guid nga salamat sa Tapulanga Foundation.  Wala gid kami nabudlayan kay ara ang Tapulanga.  Mayo guid kay naging successful and opersyon sang bata ko.” (Thank you very much to the Tapulanga Foundation.  We did not experience difficulties because Tapulanga was there to help.  It’s good that my daughter’s operation was successful.)

The Story of Angelo Singson

Angelo Singson is a thirteen year old high school student of the St. Francis of Assisi School.  Angelo loves to read books like Harry Potter’s Sorcerer’s Stone and likes to draw, too.

His eye problem started when he was 11 years old.  He couldn’t see well if he covered his right eye.  He went to see a doctor and it was discovered that he had cataract in his left eye and he had to undergo surgery.

He was referred to the Rotary Foundation, which screened candidates for cataract operation at the Riverside chapel. With the financial support of the Tapulanga Foundation, Angelo was able to travel to Riverside Hospital in Bacolod City, undergo surgery for about an hour there, and acquired medicine (eyedrops) needed for his eye, and go back for checkups.  He underwent surgery very recently (in the month of May 2012).

He said that his eye still hurts a little bit but he said that, during class, he could see the letters written on the blackboard more clearly.  With a shy smile, he said, “Gapasalamat gid ko sang dako kay kung wala ang Tapulanga, indi ko ka kita.”(I am very thankful.  Had it not been for the Tapulanga (Foundation), I wouldn’t be able to see clearly.)

The Story of Ms. Yvette Jaranilla

Ms. Yvette Jaranilla is a new teacher in the high school level in St. Francis of Assisi School.

Ms. Jaranilla sensed a problem with her vision when she was 18 years old and still in college.  She had a hard time reading what was written on the blackboard.  And her vision was starting to become blurry.

She left it alone for a while until it came to a point when about three years later, she had a hard time recognizing faces.  She eventually had a check-up just recently and the doctor discovered she had cataract in the right eye and another was starting to develop in the left one also.   But the doctor did not advise operation because the cataract wasn’t mature enough yet.  So she was advised to wear special eyeglasses with thick lenses to improve her vision.

With the help of the Tapulanga Foundation, she was able to acquire free eyeglasses.  When asked how she felt after putting them on, she gave a big smile and said, “It feels good to have eyeglasses.” She has been using them for a month now and sees a lot more clearly.

She added that she thanks God and the Tapulanga Foundation for an answered prayer because she got the pair of eyeglasses that she really needs.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tapulanga for Sendong: The Story of Ampil (Part 2)

Tapulanga Foundation launched the Special Appeal for Sendong-Rebuilding Homes and Livelihood Assistance last January 2012.  This appeal aimed to raise funds for the victims of the typhoon.  We are sharing with you a report of the first beneficiary who was given support to make a living for himself and at the same time, rebuild his future.

The first part of the article showed Ampil's life before the faith-challenging event (see  In the second part we share how this event that changed his life forever.

Part 2

Ampil was living a simple life with his family in Iligan City, located in the southern part of the Philippines.

In the morning of December 16, 2011, Ampil’s children were very much excited for the yearly Christmas party in their community.  His children, Ferlie and Galfer, Jr. were talking about Christmas gifts and songs that they were going to sing.  His wife, Julie, who was then the Purok Treasurer, had already collected the money intended for the said party. In the afternoon, the children enjoyed playing with their cousins. At 5 p.m., his kids happily welcomed him and beaming with smiles as he just bought a new dvd player.  Around 8 p.m., the family enjoyed testing their new player as they happily sang Christmas songs even without a microphone.  Galfer, Jr. enjoyed the most as he even refused to sleep until the family went to bed past 10 p.m. already.

At around midnight, Ampil’s family was awakened by a great pounding on their wall and someone yelling, “Wake up! The river has overflowed!”  The water was already up to their knees so they hurriedly went to his in-law’s house which was not far from theirs.  He even went back and tried to save whatever he could from the flood, moving up his appliances to higher areas in the house thinking that the flood would not be that strong.  Soon enough, he realized that it was futile.  He went back to his in-law’s place thinking that his whole family was still there.  He was told by his wife’s uncle and aunt that Julie (Ampil’s wife) and his daughter transferred to his cousin’s house nearby.

Finding their way in the dark with only a few people having flashlights was very difficult. With his son, they tried to follow the others but was unsuccessful because the water was already chest high and the current was very strong.  Voices of children and adults could be heard all around asking for help.  They sounded powerless over the monstrous water.  His 3 year old little boy was in his arms crying, when the water rose up to cover the roof where they had climbed up to.  While he struggled to keep himself alive for his son, the fear of losing him kept him strong and hopeful even as they were both swept into the open sea.  He had witnessed the voice of his son slowly fading away.  He did not lose his grip on his son even when the boy wasn’t talking to him anymore.  He was thinking, “Junior might be dead. Nevertheless, I will not give up on him.”  In the dark of the night, Ampil tried to resuscitate his son on top of a log.  Not long after, they were swept again by the raging water.  He lost his grip on his son’s lifeless body.  He tried to swim under the water and recover his son but to no avail.  Logs and other unknown debris hit him everywhere in his body and almost cost him his very own life.  His body was literally black and blue when he was rescued.

Losing everything that you have is painful but facing the reality of death of your whole family was just too much to bear.  There wasn’t a day in the months after that Ampil was not crying over the death of his family. He made every effort going from every morgue, hospital, and other places, in and outside of the city just to find the bodies of his wife, daughter and son.  To be the only one alive in his family left him so guilty of being alive and breathing.  There is no amount of words that we could utter to ease his pain but it is only through the grace of God that Ampil is now moving on with his life.

Ampil may not have fully accepted the fate of his family yet, but one thing is for sure, when he received the tools and equipment that Tapulanga Foundation gave him, a smile was brought to his face that his family has not seen after the tragedy.

With the tools, he is now slowly regaining a happy disposition in life.  He has been accepting repair jobs to keep himself busy.  As of now he is still pre-occupied with the paper work for his family's death claims.  He dreams that once he has a stable job, he could save enough money to go abroad and become an overseas worker. He believes working abroad could somehow relieve his painful past and help rebuild his family's future (parents/siblings), for them to move on also.

To all the donors of the Special Appeal for Sendong-Rebuilding Homes and Livelihood Assistance, thank you so much for your generosity and prayers as well.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Tapulanga for Sendong: The Story of Ampil (Part 1)


Tapulanga Foundation launched the Special Appeal for Sendong-Rebuilding Homes and Livelihood Assistance last January 2012.  This appeal aimed to raise funds for the victims of the typhoon.  We are sharing with you a report of the first beneficiary who was given support to make a living for himself and at the same time, rebuild his future.

This is an article in two parts.  The first part will show us the life of this man before the faith-challenging event occurred in his life.  The second part will describe how he went through this challenge and got through it at the end.

Part 1
This is a glimpse of the life of Ampil before Typhoon Sendong hit the place that he lived at the most joyous time of the year.  Iligan City, located in the southern of the Philippines, was submerged in water.  An alarming number of lives were lost, some of whose bodies were never recovered. 


Galfer Hora Lasmarias, also known as “Ampil” is a 30 year old refrigeration and air-conditioning technician.  He got married to Julie Rina Kundiman 12 years ago (June 2000) when she was 29 years old.  They've been blessed with two beautiful children --- Ferlie, who had been 10 years old and in her 4th grade and Galfer Jr. who had been 3 years old.  They enjoyed living a simple life in their own house situated in Bayug, a small island within the vicinity of Iligan City. 

Coming from a close-knit family brood of 13, Ampil valued his family more than anything else.  He knew how to persevere in times of great need.  Being the breadwinner, he was a hardworking father, devoting all his time to his dear family and to his work.  He earned a meager salary of P6,000 a month.  To sustain his family, he made sure to do extra work or “sideline” even if it meant doing it on Saturdays and Sundays, repairing broken refrigerators and airconditioning units which gave him an extra income of P4,000 to P5,000 a month depending on his clients’ generosity. 

Everything had been going well for him, it seemed.  He was already contented with what he had: a loving and supportive wife, two precious kids, a roof over their heads, and a steady income enough for them to live a decent life. But everything in his world turned upside down in the early morning of December 17, 2011 when Typhoon Sendong hit the city, flooding the whole island where they lived.

In the morning of December 16, the day before the devastating event changed the course of his life, his children were very  excited about the upcoming yearly Christmas Party in their community.  Ferlie and Galfer Jr. were talking about Christmas gifts and songs that they were going to sing.  Julie, who was then the Purok Treasurer, had already collected the money intended for the party.  Nothing unusual happened that day.  In the afternoon, the children enjoyed playing with their cousins.  At about 5 pm, his kids happily welcomed him and beamed with smiles because  he just bought a new “DVD Player,” which they could use to practice singing their Christmas songs.  At 5:30 pm, Galfer started waxing the floor of their house.  At around 8 pm, the family enjoyed testing their new player. They were happily singing Christmas songs without a microphone.  Galfer Jr. must have enjoyed the most because he refused to sleep at around 10 pm. He wanted to watch more of the background scenes in the songs.  Eventually, the family retired to sleep at past 10 pm.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

35 Scholars in 35 Days Challenge - Another Success!

It is with great pleasure to report to you that four days before the campaign ended, we were able to reach not only 35 scholars but 60 SCHOLARS! Thank you to all the donors, some of whom we welcome as new donors to the foundation while others are existing donors already who have decided to be more generous by adding another scholar/s to help! Our new donors come from 6 countries all over the world:  U.S.A., Luxembourg, Dubai, Australia and Switzerland and of course, the Philippines.

The new school year opened last Wednesday, June 6, 2012 and all of these kids were very excited and proudly went to school ... thanks to YOU for making this possible!