Baby Ali, 11-month old with heart disease pleads for help, prayers

Published: August 18, 2019 09:15am | Philippines


He just turned a month shy of his first birthday last Aug. 16. But there are no celebratory cakes and candles just as yet.
For infants his age, it might have been a happy celebration, with friends and relatives coming over to give him and his delighted family well wishes. But Baby Zayn Maquiel Pagcaliwangan is not your normal child. He hasn’t been like that since being born nearly a year ago.

You see, the infant has practically lived all his life inside the confines of a hospital. The infant, whose family hails from Barangay Poblacion, Aborlan town in Palawan, was born with congenital heart defects.
Baby Zayn has DORV (double outlet right ventricle) in which the arteries that connect the heart to the lungs are reversed from their normal position, VSD (ventricular septal defect) or hole in the heart and PDA (patent ductus arteriosus), or an opening in the heart of a human fetus that did not close even after the baby was born.

The infant’s dire condition has sent him to the hospitals several times and in long durations each. According to his mother, 20-year old Pollyn, Baby Ali—as Zayn Maquiel is dotingly called by those who love him——was so gravely ill that his vital signs monitor went to a flat line several times.

His medical condition has cost the family so much, with hospital bills running to over P2 million. The infant’s medical emergency has drained his family’s finances, prompting relatives and friends to shell out money and help.

In between, Baby Ali’s condition swung from bad to alright then back to bad again. He underwent a series of delicate operations. The latest of which came two months ago when he was rushed to the Philippine Heart Center (PHC).

Now, his frail body is fighting as his stay at the PHC is nearing to end. But the bills are mounting as his family is racing against time to find doctors who can save him. The financial burden is only part of the family’s predicament. Many relatives and friends have remained steadfast to help. Among them is Rea Rodriguez and her coworkers at Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. (YBHPI), maker of wellness product Yamang Bukid Turmeric 10-in-1 Tea.

During an impromptu lunchtime fund raiser, Rodriguez and her colleagues had raised about P35,000 which they gave to the baby’s mother, Pollyn.
But the amount is still paltry compared to the expected costs as Baby Ali again goes under the knife. The family and all those who love Baby Ali are knocking hearts for help and prayers.

They are not giving up on Baby Ali. Ever.

For those who want to help, you may contact Ms. Pollyn Pagcaliwangan on Facebook.

Cash deposits may be made to this account:

POLICARPIO M. PAGCALIWANGAN Landbank of the Philippines Account number: SA 3636-0115-75

Related Stories


Tree scientist wounds hands to reach dreams

  • He used to scrub floors and pigsties until the back of his hands ruptured and bled just to get an education. Decades later, the wounds have healed and scarred and the owner of the hands, Dr. Rodolfo Abalus Jr., is now an educator and a tree scientist. Be awed and inspired by this moving tale of a man who dared to dream big and worked to realize it.

    The scars on his hands are a mute testament to how Rodolfo Abalus Jr. fought and conquered poverty to get to where he is now today. A son of a farmer who toiled on another's land, Jun as he is to his family and friends, dreamed of getting a college degree and owning land.

    "After finishing elementary, it was certain my parents could no longer send me to high school," Jun, the eighth in a brood of 11, reminisced. So he had to take matters into his own hands. And literally he did. At 13, the teenager from Nueva Vizcaya convinced his father to find him a family who may let the young man work in exchange for schooling.

    "I saw in his eyes how he was devastated, his fatherly pride shrunk, because of his apparent failure to send his son to school," he recalled. To his family, Jun was an obedient and hardworking young man. He would help his mother sell vegetables harvested from their backyard during school breaks.

    The young man would carry basketful of veggies while following his mother who had on her head a winnow of their produce. "We would cross a river and trudge a hilly path down to the market. We did it many times a week," Jun said. During those times, his childhood and youth years breezed so quick that he did not even had the time to experience what his contemporaries did, like going to other barangays to participate in basketball matches. He just had no enough time for such juvenile diversions as he was busy helping the family.

    He worked as errand boy for a well-to-do family who promised to send him to high school. Jun's day would start before daybreak, as everybody else was still in deep sleep. "I would clean 13 rooms, scrubbing them until these become slippery shiny. I also cook for the family and tend to the household's ornamental plants," Jun recalled. He also had to clean 13 pig pens with eight sows each, hosing away pig dung and scrubbing dirt and manure off the concrete flooring. His constant scrubbing was so vigorous that the back of his hands rubbed the rough flooring until they become ruptured and bloodied. "It was so painful that I could not get enough sleep during the night," Jun said, showing off his scarred hands.

    Despite his harrowing ordeal, Jun chose to stay with the family since they fulfilled their end of the bargain of financing his studies. They were even generous enough to send him to college until he finished his BS Forestry degree at the Nueva Vizcaya State University in 1995. He took and passed the forestry licensure exams that year. His farming background and a friend's encouragement made him decide to study forestry, even as he also liked mathematics and numbers.

    Jun worked with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) where he used his knowledge in helping preserve and develop different tree species. His job brought him to Palawan where he also shared his learning to the young by becoming an instructor at Western Philippines University before he was transferred to another government tertiary institution, Palawan State University (PSU).

    His desire to continue going up to the tertiary education ladder and increase his knowledge prompted Jun to pursue graduate and, eventually post-graduate studies of forestry.

    With the help of a scholarship from the Department of Social and Technology (DOST), Jun became a doctor of philosophy major in forestry in 2017 at University of the Philippines in Los Banos (UPLB). "As a son of poor parents, I really wanted to get a good education so I can help them and my siblings. With my experiences, I was able to prove that there's nothing impossible in getting what you wanted if you will just strive hard," he said, now dotingly called by friends as "Doc Jun."

    Aside from his teaching duties at PSU, Doc Jun is currently helping Yamang Bukid Farm, an emerging agro-tourism destination at Barangay Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, in giving inputs about the farm's project on forestry. "We also give advice on matters related to operation and improvement of farm operations," Doc Jun explained. Doc Jun hails the farm's practices as a fine model of sustainable ecosystem.

    The farm's integrated approach to agriculture ensures its sustainability, and Doc Jun's tasks include teaching farmers scientific and modern ways of cultivating crops. "I wanted to help farmers on how to improve their ways of doing things for the betterment of the farm and to everyone there," said Doc Jun. The farm, he pointed out, is not only pro-people, which is shown by fair treatment and competitive pay to workers, but also pro-environment.

    "Here, we plant at least ten trees a day. The farmers also join tree-planting activities," Doc Jun said. He said the farm, which used to be a grassy hilly area with few plants, has regenerated, as many species of plants and animals slowly coming back.

    "Before there are only few trees, now more have grown. Not only individual trees, but whole indigenous species," Doc Jun said. Currently, Doc Jun is an accomplished farmer and an emulated academician who has published many journals about his field of expertise. In his family, he was the first to earn a college degree, and the only one ever to get a post-graduate one. It was an accomplishment and an extraordinary feat attained by hardwork, determination and grit. "When my students asked what happened to my hands, I would tell them the reason. At first, they would not believe it, but after hearing my story, I would hear gasps of wonder, disbelief or awe."

View Full Post

New employees find love, care in Yamang Bukid

  • Just six months into being employed, Hecille Manansala could not help but wonder in awe how fortunate she was when Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. (YBHPI) sent her gifts for Noche buena and home buiding materials last Dec. 18.

    Hecille was at her house near a rice paddy and flood-prone community in Barangay Manolo, Naga City; the wooden structure covered with tarps with beaming faces of local politicians and that of a bookseller chain.

    Her home which she shares with husband Christopher and their two teenage kids incurred damage as Typhoon Tisoy (international name: Kamurri) so getting house repair kits from her new employer was a bit of surprise to her.

    The Philippines’ number 1 turmeric tea maker, YBHPI, has gifted Hecille and 13 other sales personnel and employees in Bicol food and house repair kits to help them cope with the devastation brought by “Tisoy” after the powerful storm battered the eastern Philippine region with 200-kilometer per hour winds and intense to torrential rains last Dec. 2-3.

    “I could not go to work for two days because of toppled electric poles that blocked the highway to Legazpi,” Hecille said, adding she was also worried for her family as floodwaters were slowly rising at the back of their house.

    When the storm subsided, her house was flooded knee-deep and the family had to flee to safer grounds.

    Now weeks after the typhoon, the family of the 35-year old sales staff is picking up the pieces of their lives as they find ways to repair their house, with its roof partially giving way due to rainwater and high winds.

    “I just could not believe Yamang Bukid visited us here and brought gifts. I’m just six months with the company and its personnel and officers are showing their concern to all of us being affected by the storm,” she said.

    Over P115,000 worth of food packs and house building kits were given by YBHPI to its personnel affected by the storm in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Sorsogon, according to Kim Malipe, YBHPI vice president for special events. “This is our way of helping our staff affected by the typhoon to cope and recover,” said Malipe.

    Hecille said the goodies they got would mean a happy Christmas for the family, especially the kids.

    “We will have food for the noche buena,” she said, tears welling down her cheeks. Despite being new in Yamang Bukid, Hecille said she felt being valued as part of a family.

    “I used to work at the production division of a pizza company when my husband, who works for a bookseller at a shopping mall in Legazpi told me about Yamang Bukid hiring sales personnel. I applied and was lucky to be accepted,” she said.

    Working with Yamang Bukid, she said provided the needed income to augment her husband’s and helped the family meet its financial plans, including the slow payment for the lot they’ve built their house in.

    She said the family is optimistic for the coming year even if they have experienced the wrath brought by the previous weeks’ typhoon.
    “Im grateful for Yamang Bukid for not leaving behind its employees in this time of calamity. We can celebrate a merry Christmas after all,” Hecille said.

    (JL)
View Full Post

Doing business with a heart: Yamang Bukid employees live mantra in Ifugao outreach

  • For over a year now, Danilo Gomez was in the thick of selling Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc.’s wellness goods. The 38-year old sales staff based in Tarlac City has come to know and love YBHPI as the country’s leading manufacturer of turmeric-based wellness products, particularly its flagship turmeric 10-in-1 tea. So when an opportunity to take part in an activity the Company is also known for came up, Gomez readily signed up for it.

    Gomez was one of the two sales personnel who joined Yamang Bukid’s outreach mission to an indigenous community in the middle of Magat Dam in the borders of Ifugao and Isabela provinces late last month. The charity mission saw YBHPI and its partners—Christian missionary group Mensaheros and well-meaning medical practitioners motor for nearly 16 hours and navigate a river for almost an hour to reach the IP community of Halag in Aguinaldo town, Ifugao.

    There, doctors and dentists weighted children, plucked rotten teeth and handed out medicines as Gomez and other YBHPI personnel assisted in setting up tents to distributing medicines. Teachers and village officials also accepted school supplies intended to school kids from the village’s two elementary schools from the Company. Meanwhile, young evangelists from Mensaheros shared the Word of God to the villagers, which they warmly accepted. “It’s worth it,” Gomez said about his joining the outreach mission. “I’m happy to help others,” he added.

    Gomez said the Company’s mantra of doing business with a heart was being put to action in activities like this. “I’m grateful for this opportunity to lend my time and effort in doing good to others,” said Gomez, who was among those tasked to maintain order and control the flow of people into the venue—-portion of the schoolyard that is covered with tarps and transformed into a makeshift hospital holding area. Jong Villaruz, another sales staff assigned in Nueva Ecija agreed. “That’s why I love to join in these activities. It motivates me to strive hard as a salesperson because I know the company is generous in helping not just its employees but also those others who are in need as well,” Villaruz said in Filipino. “This is my second outreach mission.” The YBHPI team which also included quality assurance personnel Leni Caluza, two drivers and two documenters, was led by Ms. Kim Malipe, vice president for special events.
View Full Post