Krizzel Rapiz, 36

Published: April 25, 2019 04:21pm | Tarlac


She lost her father when she was three and her husband was killed before her eyes in a motorcycle accident. The mother of a young daughter is trying to move on with her life and give her daughter the life she deserves by working as a sales staff of Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. This is her story.

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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."

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Regin “Ar-ar” Bolasoc

  • Eating rice and catsup for a meal to save up for books did not deter Ar-ar from striving in life. Watch how a determined student and a diligent worker rise from abject poverty to become an area manager of Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. for Bulacan.
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Banaba: Nature’s Best Anti-Diabetic Remedy

  • The next time you see banaba grown near your backyard, thank your forebears for it. Known in English as queen crepe myrtle, or pride of India and banaba in Filipino, Lagerstroemia speciosa is a small to medium-sized tree of up to 20 meters tall and with smooth, flaky bark.

    While it is grown and present in most areas of the world, cultivation of banaba has been prevalent in South and Southeast Asia, particularly in India and the Philippines where the plant, particularly its oval-shaped leaves are harvested for traditional medicinal uses. Before it was even introduced to the West and given a scientific name by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, the plant now known as banaba has been used for centuries by Filipinos and other Asian as traditional medication for diabetes-like illness. Its scholarly and scientific studies came and were published only as recent as 1940, according to Miura and Takagi (2012).

    The two Japanese experts, in a paper published by the United States National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reported a clinic study on the effects of banaba to humans with mild type 2 diabetes. The study revealed a significant 13.5% decrease in blood sugar levels and no side effects, negative or otherwise, were reported.

    A biomedical research by South Korean doctors Cheolin Park and Jae-Sik Lee on the other hand pointed to a component in banaba leaves extract called corosolic acid that acts as an anti-hypoglycaemic (blood glucose reducer) agent. Their study, published in 2011, asserted that coroslic acid helps improve the distribution of glucose to the cells of the body, thereby regulating blood sugar. The two South Koreans also supported banaba extract’s short and long-term use against diabetes and its safety against adverse side effects.

    With the plant extract’s mechanisms and functions, banaba remains among nature’s best antidiabetic remedy for prevention and treatment without the adverse side effects shown in current prescribed drugs.

    Therefore, they said, banaba could be a promising candidate for future antidiabetic drug as an ingredient or as a main component or base.
    Aside from its antidiabetic properties, studies also show banaba as a good antioxidant. It has compounds that help regulate and increase antioxidant compounds in the body, helping cells and tissues resistant to and fight off infections and diseases.

    You can conveniently avail of banaba’s antidiabetic properties and other health and wellness benefits by just a cup of Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc.’s Turmeric 10-in-1 Tea. Scientifically formulated to accurately extract nature’s antidiabetic plant, Yamang Bukid Turmeric 10-in-1 Tea is also mixed with turmeric and eight other powerful herbs to give you a spicy morning beverage with nature’s dose of health and wellness.
    (JL)
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