Every year, the Jollibee Family Values Awards strives to recognize and celebrate Filipino families who live out Filipino values to improve communities.
The winning families are given a check to support their advocacies and a Michael Cacnio sculpture. But the real winners are not the families but the people they have helped and served.
Here are two more awardees after last week’s subjects.
Rommel and Analy Basa are involved in education and environmental advocacies. Over the last four years, they have contributed to Roxas City via the “Sama Sama Tayong Lahat” organization, a youth empowerment group focusing on proper values and keeping away from harmful vices by involving people in productive activities.
The group regularly joins activities such as blood donations to the Red Cross, and mobilizes young volunteers during natural calamities.
The Basas have a monthly feeding program for over 100 children in impoverished barangays in the province.
They also have Project Smile for the dental hygiene of street children.
The family teaches farmers effective waste management, making natural pesticides, and alternative sources of income such as planting seedlings in their backyards and selling to their neighbors or harvesting for themselves.
They made 200 life vests from plastic bottles and distributed them, in the hope that what they experienced during Supertyphoon “Yolanda” will never happen aagain.
Cyprian Basa, the only son of the Basa family, said: “The effects of helping others will last a lifetime and influence others to do good as well.”
Zyque Faith Basa joins her family in all their advocacies. “When it comes to making a difference in the world, you can’t do it alone. Kaya dapat, sama-sama tayong lahat.”
While most people make their way home at sundown to relax and unwind, Dr. Ian Cabalza and his family know their day is just getting started. In the last 10 years, Cabalza has been using his home garage in Cagayan Valley as a free medical clinic for the indigent, every day from 5 p.m. onwards.
He has served approximately 36,000 patients in his own home and another 60,000 patients outside through weekly medical and surgical missions since 2006. The medical missions are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., but actually start the night before that, with his children and wife packing the equipment and medicines.
His wife, Cecilia, takes charge of soliciting funds and medicines. Their children, Christopher Bryce, 15, and France Bryan, 5, help pack the medicines and assist their father in the clinic or in the field.
Over the years, the Cabalzas expanded the scope of their medical assistance by addressing the needs of local schools, such as First Aid medical kits and medicines. He also gives free Basic Life Support and First Aid Training to caregivers, nurses and barangay health workers.
Cabalza’s advocacy requires the full support of his family. His wife and children see medical missions as family bonding time.
Special Citations were also awarded by Jollibee to families for extraordinary efforts in particular fields.
The “OFW Family of the Year” award was given to the Par family now based in Jeddah. Marciano Par and his wife, Josephine, with children Marc Joseph and Marc Ian, have become known to the Filipino community in Jeddah as the “go to” people if they need help.
Marciano and Josephine are always ready to assist
a kababayan in need of food or financial aid.
The family regularly visits the Tent City, which is where homeless Filipinos in Jeddah stay. They bring relief goods
at least five times a year and offer spiritual and psychological support.
They recently began a monthly medical and dental mission for Filipinos in Jeddah.
Four years ago, the Par family started supporting their former hometown with a school supplies and scholarship drive for some schools in Bulacan.
Many were touched when Marciano explained where they get the drive to give. Having experienced hunger himself during his early days abroad, he knows how it feels to be afraid and alone, and makes sure that nobody who meets him will ever feel this way.
The Par family dreams of the day when there will be no more Filipinos forced to work abroad. But in the meantime, they believe Filipinos should always help fellow Filipinos.
The Arquiza family was given the special citation for education for building 12 libraries all over Camarines Norte. It all began when their daughter Regina turned the first floor of their own home into a public library for students.
Today, Reynaldo and his wife, Juliet, with children Rey Franco, Ma. Soledad, Regina and Gemmalyn, have donated a chapel, six day care centers and mobile libraries, and support nine scholars.
The citation for environmental protection was given to Alejandro and Lilibeth Cabading and their children Lanvin, Diane Angeli, Alejandro and Christine Joy.
In 2006, the family launched the Scubasero Program, a clean-up drive for the waters surrounding Zamboanga City. This program has encouraged locals and tourists to get involved.
The Cabading family also has an orphanage, Hope for Kids Zamboanga Foundation, which they established and run to this day. They distribute slippers in remote areas of Zamboanga and help provide scholarships for deserving indigent students.
Among Persons with Disabilities (PWD), the Vizcocho name is synonymous with service and support. Noli Vizcocho and wife Isabelita, with their children, Jacqueline, Jill, Jennette, Joana and Josef, advocate autism awareness. The couple founded the Autism Society of the Philippines Baguio Chapter, and since then, their monthly meetings with parents of children with autism have been a beacon of hope and information for countless families who otherwise would not have anyone to turn to.
They have produced workshops and exhibits featuring the works of PWDs; their annual seminars have extended help to over 1,400 parents and students, while their annual therapy sessions, ongoing for over 15 years now, have reached over 1,500 PWDs.
When the board of judges first read the story of the San Gabriel-Eng family, one of the members remarked, “I want to adopt this child!” Such is the effect of the efforts of 12-year-old Cassie Eng, the only child of Harry and Marilou San Gabriel- Eng of San Francisco. The family was given the Youth Empowerment award.
Cassie is best known for her “Bag of Dreams Challenge” which she began seven years ago, with the help of her parents, when she was six.
Inspired by the “pay it forward” theme, Cassie was motivated to help her kababayan in the Philippines. Instead of asking for presents for her birthday, she asked for donations to create a feeding program for Filipino children during her annual summer vacation in Manila.
Cassie has grown up over the years, and so has her feeding program. She has partnered with different groups to provide backpacks, school supplies, hygiene kits and even noche buena packs for hundreds of families in Tondo during Christmas.
Now that Cassie has enough experience, she herself is as involved as her parents in fundraising to finance their projects every year. But more than just fundraising, her parents believe that being part of the actual delivery of goods is just as important for Cassie to experience. One can hardly wait to see what this child will accomplish in the years to come.
Let these families’ stories inspire your family. May it push your family’s love for one another to a higher level, and allow it to serve as a transformative agent in our society.