On February 17, 2015, I joined Carminda Aldeza and her family in the groundbreaking ceremony of two new hospital lobby areas for the JP Rizal Memorial Hospital in Calamba, Laguna, the only charity hospital in the Laguna area, located 100 kilometers south of Manila. The hospital serves over 20,000 indigent patients and it’s the only medical facility for miles that provides charity care. However, it did not even have a proper hospital lobby. All indigent patients have to wait out in a makeshift shed with a few corrugated metal sheets attached together as a roof and a few slabs of wood as benches. I’m glad that it was a nice sunny day when I visited. I wondered what happens when it rains and you have to wait out in the open?
Carminda Aldeza and her legion of volunteer Filpinas called ‘Adorables‘ (Carminda Aldeza, Dr. Dorothy Anoina, Aurora Gagni and Eva Torres) immediately got to work and fundraised for the hospital lobby project, in honor of my late cousin Peter Aldeza, honoring his memory, his goodwill and his legacy. The new lobby will offer protection from the elements while patients wait to be seen by doctors.
I am proud that the Bayanihan Foundation made it possible that the charity donations of the ‘Adorables’ became a reality and made real impact in people’s lives in Calamba, Laguna. After construction, the new hospital lobby will be used by over 20,000 indigent patients every year that otherwise would have to wait outside in the elements. ‘The Adorables’ demonstrated that the four golden Filipino values are alive and well:
- ‘Tiwala’ (trust)
- ‘Kabalikat’ (interdependence, sharing responsibilities)
- ‘Pagkakaisa’ (mutuality, helping each other)
- ‘Tradisyon’ (traditional values of helping ‘bayanihan’)
I also would like to extend my sincere thanks to Evelyn Castillo of the Bayanihan Foundation and Dr. Doreen Sales for all their help in making this project possible, despite first challenges in implementing the project.