Tag Archives: Ruby Plagata

Out of the abundance of the heart…

I have been tempted to blog on the kindness and generosity of people towards me in times like these. But I kept on resisting it, for some time, mainly because they don’t want publicity. Secondly, I don’t want to be misconstrued as encouraging others to give. But the latest overwhelming spontaneous and unexpected support from these kind-hearted people touched me so deeply that I succumbed to temptation.

One of my weaknesses is being poor in asking favour from others. Considerably, I am good in fund raising for a cause or for others as proven by successful fund raising projects undertaken by the organizations I have led or involved in. Not only because of our academic training as social workers to link the needs and resources to serve others. I have also attended various resource mobilization seminars, one of which was sponsored by Ventures for Fund Raising. Admittedly, I miserably failed in applying this for my self and my family. The most that I can do is look for loan or sign promissory note, when applicable.

Fund raising

I cannot forget the comment of a topnotch lawyer when I texted him after receiving the cheque of a requested loan in 2011. By circumstance, I was forced to approach him, overcoming my pride, thru text for some expensive laboratories: “That’s not a loan. Consider it a small token of appreciation for your support to Nanay and myself when I had nothing…. I have always wanted to help you, Nong. But I was also very careful knowing you. I did not also want to hurt your pride. But it’s good that you opened up to me. It liberates us both.”

Yes, I have difficulty in asking favour so much so that in my recent hospitalization much of the financial assistance coming from PCSO and Congressman’s Office thru the DSWD which helped settle my bills were done by the initiatives of my masteral students and co teacher. Had it not been for them, my wife and I could have sought for additional loans from respective employment and elsewhere. Few days after my confinement, I was surprised to receive a call from my co teacher informing me that she was also hospitalized with an instruction that a masteral student would facilitate the requirements for she has requested assistance from a congressman for both of us. Indeed, the assistance came after some days. They supplemented  our resources augmented by the contribution of our respective siblings.

Talha

In not a few instances during confinement , either my wife or I received cash from colleagues in the academe and ministry who paid a visit. Few days after my discharge, a pastor friend paid me a visit at home. After a hearty conversation, he gave me a P500 bill telling me it’s all that he could share at that moment because of other necessities too. The amount appeared to multiply when I learned from him that he decided to forego a privileged trip abroad for spiritual enrichment as he felt uncomfortable to enjoy while others suffer including me. He then decided to use the funds he raised as counterpart for other purposes that would benefit others also. I was touched by his gesture, although I did not expect him to give because his companionship, moral and spiritual support during my sickness and prior to that, in many instances, are more than enough.

Blessings continued to flow when my brother paid me a visit at home coming from Bacolod City. He brought with him some envelopes containing cash gifts from a high school classmate and some town mates. Days later, some masteral students also came with fruits and some amount, followed by our retired maninay who still teach part time in the University.

inspiring words

When I resumed my work in the Department, cash gifts have been minimal as I return to the mainstream. But gifts continue to come in various form. The touching messages thru social media from former students, friends, colleagues and superiors including esteemed national figure in Social Work lift up my spirit. The gestures of students to express their concerns have been inspiring, as well. Some shared with me printed materials on health and healing, detoxification and use of natural healing process, herbs, fruits and vegetables coming from respective churches . Friends both here and abroad sent me related web links and stories of cancer survivors. Others came to my office after class asking me if they could pray for me. Some masteral students and colleagues gave me food supplement believed to be good for my particular illness. In another instance, my wife brought from Negros fresh honey given by a pastor in mountain churches.

round table

Most of the gifts were in kinds until last January 8 when I attended a consultation at the national office of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches that I was given a cheque and cash as gifts. Few days after, I received a text from a high school classmate informing me he was at home but intended to proceed to the office to see me before his trip to our hometown in Negros. When we met at the office, he gave me grapes and some amount. When I opened my FB account on same day I got a private message from former Social Work student who is now successful in her career, asking for my bank account so that she can send an amount with an inspiring message.

Then on Friday afternoon, a pastor friend came to our house with a white box and started counting the amount as love gift from the faculty of the Department of Religion and Ethics. I was elated. Yesterday morning when I opened my FB account, I got a private message from a US based pastor friend asking me to whom he would address the amount he intends to send thru West Union. In his follow up message, he promised to reveal the name of the giver* once I get hold of the amount.

I have been so overwhelmed with these goodness shown that I succumbed to the temptation of publishing a post on human kindness as expression of my thanks to all who shared their resources, love, concern and prayers. I look at this outpouring of support both in its immediate material benefit and beyond. For me, it’s another indication that I would still survive. An answered prayer for God’s provision and support from the community of faith.

Out of the abundance of the heart, my mouth, my mind, my blog speak. To thank all those who, out of the abundance of the heart, generously give. Thank you very much for your kindness. You know who you are. Your prayers, encouraging words, gifts, be it in cash or kinds- all  contribute to my inspiring journey towards healing. I pray that God bless you more.

________________

Note: Gifts continue to come in after this article was published which necessitates a sequel to this post. My US Based pastor friend revealed the *unexpected giver as we do not know each personally. She only knew me and my condition from a pastor friend. Although I know  about her principled stance, humility and magnanimity thru Positvely Centralians FB Group. A fine lady who loves to help/give in secret.

Advertisements

Pushing beyond limits

Elsie E. Malabon, cum laude, leads the BSSW graduates of the Department of Social Work

The 84th Commencement Exercises of Central Philippine University on April 15 has been inspiring. The Department has produced 12 graduates in the Bachelor of Science in Social Work, one with academic honor, cum laude. Together with 3 others, the honoree was not even expecting to graduate this semester, as some of her subjects were supposed to be offered in the 1st semester classes , a sort of lapses in advising.

But, as it were, I took time to study the complex condition of irregular students upon resuming my position as head of the Department. Thereafter, arranging their load in unconventional manner and semestral offerings so as to minimize the period of their stay. This skill is honed from those unlikely experiences in past life – my exposure in gambling during my youth. Like risk taking and the skills in arranging/organizing cards, mahjong tiles to win despite their weak/losing state. Maximizing all the chances, even pushing beyond limit. There are more who will benefit from this approach on semestral graduation in October and for a couple of years or so.

The Magic Four with their thesis adviser. (L-R) Kareen Jay Diesto, Sr. Aubrey Casimiro DC, Araceli Tondo, the author, and Carol Kay Cortuna-Blando

Equally inspiring is the fate of our Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) graduates. There are four of them who made it completing the Magic 10 to mark the 10th year of the revival of University’s MSSW program. It was in 2002 when we reactivated the program, a couple of years after I finished my Master of Social Work from the University of the Philippines- Diliman. An adventurous attempt, considering the odds, we pursued the move with a simple goal i.e. to produce even one graduate in 3 years time to convince the public that we really mean business this time.

With the strong support of Dr. Fely David, Dean of Graduate Studies, we succeeded to achieve it during the University’s historic Centennial Year in 2005. One of our MSSW pioneering students succeeded to complete the academic requirements and passed the final defense. Subsequently, Mrs. Lolita Camarig, municipal social welfare and development officer of Leganes had joined the commencement march of the Centennial graduates. Thereafter, we produced graduates with non BSSW degrees who subsequently hurdled the board exam, namely: Aujun Labrador, Lunnie Lasquite, and Melody Arandela-Ambangan. Ruby Plagata, another graduate, will soon take the social work licensure examination. Our other graduate is Prof. Maribel Gonzales, former head of the Department of Social Work, University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos.

Pose for posterity after the graduation ceremony.The author, flanked by Kareen Jay (L) and Carol Kay (R)

Completing the Magic 10 are this year’s four MSSW graduates. Of the four, two are faculty of the Department of Social Work, CPU, namely: Carol Kay Cortuna-Blando and Kareen Kay Diesto. Both are close to my heart being my students during their undergraduate years; colleagues when they joined the teaching force of the Department; partners in volunteerism and development endeavors.

But organizational changes separated us for awhile until we have the opportunity to work together again. Having something in common both as victims and victors of experts in manipulating people and circumstances, we developed the biblical slogan “overcome evil by doing good.” Renewing our relationship, we committed to resume the interrupted partnership and development including their MSSW degree. Thereafter, I served as their thesis adviser struggling with them through thick and thin until they were conferred with their hard earned degree yesterday.

The other two are personnel of the Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus,namely: Sr. Aubrey Casimiro and Araceli Tondo. The bonding we have may not be comparable to the previous ones. Yet, it is also interesting and equally significant. Adverse circumstances did not hinder their desire to finish studies according to their schedule. Even my serious sickness and subsequent health limitation could not withstand their earnestness to complete the course.

We have experienced pushing beyond limits just to continue our classes. At times, holding reportorial sessions at home due to my limited mobility. In some instances, conducting classes at the University gazebo because I could not make it to the 3rd floor where Graduate School classrooms are located. There was even a time we had classes under the acacia tree beside the Department of Social Work, having no access to the office which used to be an alternate venue for my masteral classes.

But tougher times were just waiting ahead, making their presence felt during thesis writing stage. Aware of my health limitation, we tried to organize their respective schedule to avoid overlapping that would put unnecessary pressures on us both. Despite this, however, unavoidable circumstances compelled us to confront realities that push us beyond our limits.

(More on next post)