“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” ~~Anthony Robbins
The youngest in our college barkada just turned 24 last February 27. At 24, Par has had the most success in terms of getting a job with a really decent pay (Par, wag kang mag-reklamo). She’s been into traveling lately – joining Travel Factor trips almost every week and had just come back from a trip to Batanes – and has also been totally against boring weekends.
Being the lucky girl that she is, on the eve of her birthday, she decided to pay it forward. She and her BFF Steph looked for a not-so-popular home for the aged to give donations to. After months and weeks of searching, the lucky recipient of the kind deed was Bahay Kanlungan ni Maria Domenica in Antipolo, Rizal.
We were all but for it, since I’ve had the privilege to help the less fortunate last Christmas Eve. The feeling is just really unparalleled and there are no words to describe how good you’ll feel afterwards.
Mariko and I arrived late so when we got there everyone had their own lola (grandmother or just a word to describe an elderly woman in Tagalog) to entertain. We saw them talking and laughing with them. Even if I wanted to talk to them, depression kicked in. I was looking at all those old, helpless women, and I knew that if they start talking to me I might end up inside my car bawling. So I told Par I’d rather take pictures instead.
Par’s group from her current work also prepared a program. They had games like Hep Hep Hooray (a popular game in a now defunct noontime variety show here), a sing-off and a dance-off thanks to the Magic Sing, and also ask the young ones what they learned from their lolas. Everyone had so much fun and it was nice to see the smiles on the lolas faces. We made them happy even for just a while. Even Steph’s boyfriend, Cyrian, serenaded the ladies with a Rey Valera song.
Besides the program, we were also asked by Par to bring donations for the home for the aged. Mariko and I bought toiletries (alcohol, soap, rolls of tissue, and shampoo). The rest donated used clothes, towels, and blankets.
During the program, I interviewed a nurse. She told me that there were 23 patients in the facility – 3 of them were cerebral palsy patients (although she said they don’t accept patients with cerebral palsy anymore). The rest were all indigent patients who were either left by their families or were just staying in the facility due to lack of space in their families’ homes.
Since it started its operations in September 15, 1998, Bahay Kanlungan has served as a home for these elderly patients. They are very hands-on with these patients, and we saw how close the nurses and doctors are to the patients. Even though they are old and frail, they all look healthy, an obvious sign of how well they are taken care of in Bahay Kanlungan.
As the Blessed Maria Domenica Brun Barbantini, founder of the Camillian Sisters, said, “Every sick, suffering or dying person is a living image of the suffering Christ who has to be attended to, listened to, and cared for, as a mother would for her only son who is sick.” I believe all the volunteers and the staff of Bahay Kanlungan keep this in mind and in heart.
Bahay Kanlungan is very much open to donations. You could be a monthly, quarterly, or yearly benefactor to an abandoned Lola or one of the handicapped patients staying there. Of course donations in kind are also welcome.
Par, happy, happy birthday! Thanks for letting us in on your “pay it forward” act. Even though, we were late and didn’t do much, we had so much fun!
Here’s the address and contact details of Bahay Kanlungan ni Maria Domenica:
#10 Sampaguita St., Lourdes Subdivision
Mambugan, Antipolo, Rizal
Tel. Nos. 682-6189 and 645-4198