Muslim convert finds love, acceptance from family, colleagues

Published: August 13, 2019 08:22am | PHILIPPINES


For Tintin Moreno Zamora, turning her back on the family religion to follow her heart was no easy feat.
“It was difficult because my family and friends might not approve of it,” recalled Tintin. But she was adamant on her desire to follow the religion of her husband, a Muslim. “I was also moved by the fact that not all Muslims are bad. Most of them are deeply religious. I saw that on my husband,” she said.

For two years now, Tintin has been working as a sales staff for Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc., the Baguio City-based maker of the hugely popular Turmeric 10-in-1 Tea. Her colleagues have known her as a Christian, so her plan to convert to Islam may have come to them as a surprise.

So when she was able to muster enough resolve to tell family and close friends about her change of faith, Tintin was equally surprised and elated they accepted and respected her decision.
“They were happy and did not judge me. They treated me as same as when I still shared the family religious beliefs,” said Tintin, adding her co-workers and superiors also did not mind it.

“How YB (Yamang Bukid) treated me when I was still a Christian remained as is,” she said.
As a would-be Balik-Islam (convert), Tintin said she will try to accustom herself to the practices of her newfound faith.
“We agreed that we will serve Allah as one family,” Tintin added.


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Kids, hundreds others run for ailing infant

  • More than 200 runners from all walks of life joined the first-ever run for a cause organized by turmeric beverage-maker Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. (YBHPI) in Baguio City.

    Donning orange and green shirts, at least 274 runners took off from Burnham Park and sprinted in three to five-kilometer categories in designated routes around downtown Baguio amid an overcast sky and chilly Saturday morning for the Run for Life charity event.

    The fun run was aimed at generating financial support for Ariel Fesetan Jr., a one-year old boy from Baguio who has been suffering from biliary atresia, a congenital liver disease that needs surgical treatment abroad for him to live normally.

    (Photos by Redentor Glen and Brother George)

    It was a fun-filled event, with a zumba exercise at past 5 a.m. pumping up the joiners. Participants included employees of the Philippines’ number 1 turmeric tea brand, Yamang Bukid Turmeric 10-in-1 Tea, as well as school-based organizations, sports groups and even entire families.

    “This is my second run. I’m excited to finish the full three kilometers,” said Jasmine Guadana, an 11-year old student from Baguio Patriotic High School, as she and 14 other students were doing pre-race warmups.

    Other participants included Team Cordillera, a sporting group based in Baguio that had earlier raised funds for baby Ariel.

    (Photos by Redentor Glen and Brother George)

    Runners also included several children with disabilities (CWDs) as well as entire families.

    Among them is the father-and-son tandem of Jenard and Jerald Christopher, both surnamed Cervantes.

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    “It was somehow painful in the legs but fun. I would love to run again,” said nine-year old Jerald Christopher.

    His 52-year old father, Jenard, is an athletic man who often brings along his family to events like Saturday’s.

    “We are fond of joining fun runs to stay fit,” said the elder Cervantes, adding his wife was not able to take part due to health reasons.

    He said he also felt happy the registration fees he and his son paid would go a long way to help save an infant’s life.

    Ariel Fesetan Sr. said he and his wife Mary Grace were grateful to the organizers and participants of Saturday’s fun run.

    The family needs about P2.5 million to shoulder Ariel Junior’s operation, which is clinically-ideal to be done in an hospital in India.

    “I’m thankful to Yamang Bukid and to those who joined for helping my son. Whatever amount we will get will come a long way to help save my child,” said the 29-year old Ariel Senior, a construction worker. His wife, also 29, is a public high school teacher. The charity event coincides with YBHPI’s sixth anniversary.

    (JL)
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Youngest PH triathlete sells cookies to finance world championship bid

  • She is the youngest to represent the Philippines to the toughest triathlete competition in the world.
    But for 20-year old Madeleine Jeanne Argosino, her simple athletic dream was just to run races and nothing else.
    Her participation to this year’s Ironman 70.3 World Championships on Sept. 7 is therefore a validation that she can be capable of anything if she will just put her heart into it.

    Madeleine Jeanne Argosino jogs around the University of the Philippines-Los Banos campus. The 20-year old junior development communication student from UPLB is the Philippines’ youngest triathlete to compete in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice, France on Sept. 7.

    “What I wanted before was just to tag along with my elder brother every time he practiced. He is the first triathlete in the family,” said Madeleine, known to her circles as Madel.

    At six, Madel was already running races. Her parents and the rest of the family were supportive of her. When she won in last year’s Alveo 70.3 Ironman in Davao City, Madel was pictured being kissed in the cheek by her mother, a businesswoman.

    Madeleine Jeanne Argosino saddles up for her biking practice around the University of the Philippines-Los Banos campus. The 20-year old junior development communication student from UPLB is the Philippines’ youngest triathlete to compete in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice, France on Sept. 7.

    The Argosino patriarch who works for a pharmaceutical company also dabbles in sports, said Madel. He occasionally plays golf with colleagues and friends, she said. Her athletic talent blossomed in full bloom however when she decided to start practicing as a triathlete. It just dawned upon her that she can follow the strides, pedals and strokes of her brother, now currently working in the hotel industry.

    “My brother influenced me to do triathlon,” she recalled. When she turned 15, Madel was already on her way to becoming a triathlete to reckon with.

    Madeleine Jeanne Argosino poses on her bike during a break in practice. The 20-year old junior development communication student from UPLB is the Philippines’ youngest triathlete to compete in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice, France on Sept. 7.

    After lording over her division in the Davao triathlon event in March of 2018, Madel made her international debut at the 70.3 Ironman Langkawi in Malaysia later that year.
    The year before that, she was second in the Durianman event also in Davao.
    “It felt very overwhelming considering that I am racing against foreign competitors, considered elite in the division,” Madel recounted.

    The young lass from Los Banos, Laguna did not disappoint as she emerged second in her division in the Langkawi event.
    This was her qualifier to next month’s biggest test yet.
    “It will be a tough test on me because the terrain is steep and mountainous. Also the climate there is colder than my previous competitions. And it’s the world championships so you expect to face the best of the best triathletes,” Madel said, adding she and her father will leave for the French Alpine city on Sept. 1 so there will be enough time for her to acclimatize.

    Madel will compete in the 18-24 year-old division. As she prepares for the toughest fight of her athletic dream, Madel juggles her time practicing, studying and making brownie cookies and selling these so she can have enough money to send her to Nice, France.

    As part of her training regimen, she drinks Yamang Bukid turmeric 10-in-1 tea. “I felt relieved every time I drink this,” Madel said as she gulped down a cup of the food supplement tea after a swimming practice at the University of the Philippines-Los Banos (UPLB) swimming pool recently.

    She said the drink also helped her cope with her academics as it helped her in memorization and other school-related activities.
    “I want to write or become a journalist,” the junior development communications student at UPLB said.
    (JL)
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Yamang Bukid Farm's pro-biodiversity business model lauded at int'l confab

  • PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Local and international panelists commended Yamang Bukid Farm for its efforts to help preserve biodiversity and provide former destroyers of the environment an alternative livelihood in its sprawling farm tourism development in Puerto Princesa City.

    The commendation came following Thursday’s presentation by Yamang Bukid Farm’s Bro. George Maria of the farm’s unique business model during the second day of the International Conference on the Biosphere and Sustainability at a posh hotel here. Maria, a seminarian now on his immersion, said the farm has evolved into a haven for biodiversity and as a tourism draw from being just a simple getaway for officials of wellness products maker Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc.

    "Yamang Bukid was created because of a demand—a demand coming from our hearts to do business with a heart by living a life for others,” Maria told the panelists and dozens of local and foreign scientists, academicians and business leaders. “From a simple dream, something very beautiful happened. We believed our biggest contribution to biodiversity is by taking care of the most important component or the prime mover in biodiversity which is the people,” he added.
    He said the “best thing I can share today for biodiversity is the stories of our farmers,” whom he called “the most beautiful people I have ever met.” Maria said that business model of “doing business with a heart” helped the farm effect behavioural change towards environment conservation in a community that used to rely on illegal logging and other destructive forest activities for livelihood.

    “The former illegal loggers are now very proud to say they have become farmers. They stopped cutting trees and are now planting food food for our tables. They led environmental protection campaigns,” he said.

    Maria also highlighted the farm’s efforts of protecting and conserving endemic and exotic flora and fauna that have thrived within the 42-hectare farm tourism estate by tapping experts from various universities as consultants and training technical people for biodiversity conservation. He hoped the Yamang Bukid Farm experience would help policymakers in crafting measures on agriculture, food security and biodiversity. “If a small company like Yamang Bukid can do little change for the environment, what more can we accomplish if we all work together? This is mostly the realisation of tourists visiting the farm, ‘If a former illegal logger is now taking care of biodiversity, how about me?’, he said.
    Also presenting during the conference was Dr. Rodolfo “Jun” Abalus Jr., a forest scientist and professor of Palawan State University.

    Abalus, who is also a Yamang Bukid Farm forestry consultant, talked about the carbon trapping of trees within the forest cover of Mt. Makiling in Southern Luzon.
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