“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.”—Paulo Coelho
I’m a firm believer that hope springs eternal. Springtime means rebirth. It’s the first of May, and it feels like an excellent time to restart that life plan that was put on hold because of the pandemic and all the turmoil it brought. This new journey of a thousand miles has to begin with a meaningful intention to jump-start the voyage. We may be still struggling, but there is light at the end of this dark tunnel.
We have weathered the storm somehow, all of us out in the rough seas, but not necessarily in the same boat. Some may have gone through the pandemic storm on a cruise liner, taking a leisurely break from the stresses of life, while others were braving the waves in a canoe.
Despite our different experiences, we are all hoping to get through this pandemic in our best capacity, with the aid of our family support group and our personal faith.
After a year of seeking my higher purpose following a drastic life shift, I have turned to the Lord through meditation, bible study and Catholic Mass.
When a catastrophic event happens in your life, whether it is physical, relational, or mental, there is a life-altering change in our mindset. Personally, I have radically refocused my priorities and time to the ones I love. Spending a month on a family vacation here in Australia has further cemented my life purpose and love of God and family.
P500,000 donation grant
Together with Kaye Tiñga, my Red Charity Gala (RCG) partner, I am resuming plans of the next RCG event so that we may continue our charitable work. Thanks to our generous friends at LG Electronics Philippines, Kaye and I are able to continue helping the community in Siargao with their P500,000 donation grant.
Over the past few months, LG has been collecting entries for the first-ever local iteration of the LG Ambassador Challenge. The initiative, which was started with Korea Friends of Hope International (KFHI), is a first in the Philippines and affirms LG’s commitment to help deliver sustainable growth to local communities in the country.
After reviewing all the entries, LG selected Ride for Hope by Bahay Aruga and Roof for Siargao by RCG. Big thanks to good friend Millet Liberato Simeon for assisting us with this grant.
Bahay Aruga, which was founded in 2014, is a free halfway house for pediatric cancer patients of Philippine General Hospital (PGH). Most of the children need to be in PGH weekly for long-term treatment in Manila. Hence, the halfway house was born.
As endorsed by the oncology department of PGH, patients with their parents are fully accommodated at Bahay Aruga for free. Recently, the matriarch of Bahay Aruga who conceptualized the halfway house, Marietta Bonilla, passed away due to COVID-19. To continue the program, the Ride for Hope project aims to procure a new ambulance for the patients. Receiving the grant is Josefino B. Bonilla of the board of directors of Bahay Aruga.
“The daily battle of patients and carers is endless, but choosing Ride for Hope project, and with the new ambulance that we will be able to use, life will be more convenient and better for the pediatric cancer patients. Thank you, LG and KFHI for this program,” he says.
Inspire young people
Since 2009, RCG has been raising funds for numerous beneficiaries through the celebration of Philippine fashion. Collecting over P30 million in the last 11 years, RCG has distributed to Philippine Red Cross and Assumption HS ’81 Foundation, among others. These funds have been used for relief efforts and community building in provinces across the country. With the onset of the pandemic in 2020, our mission was put on hold.
My daughter, Jordan Prieto Valdes, has been very much present in the RCG events and witnessed everyone’s selfless generosity through the years. She had been living in Siargao for six months when Typhoon “Odette” (international name: Rai) hit the province in December.
After seeing the destruction that was made to her second home and to the lives of her friends, she was emboldened to start her own charity fundraising efforts online. It became apparent that her kindheartedness, generosity and her exposure to RCG, made her equipped to care for those whose lives were in shambles after the typhoon.
Even after exhausting resources from family and friends from Manila and all over the world, Jordan still wanted to help Siargao. So, the RCG Roof for Siargao project was born. As RCG evolves, we go back to the core of bringing people together: It is about giving hope, sharing our blessings and empowering people to rebuild their lives.
Since I am here in Australia, Kaye and her daughter Kerry attended the awarding. Kaye shared her gratitude to LG saying, “The opportunity for Jordan Valdes to be chosen as an LG ambassador can inspire young people to take the initiative to help improve other people’s lives. We thank LG for giving us, Red Charity Gala, a unique opportunity to make a difference.”
We continue to celebrate life and all the milestones from baptisms to birthdays to weddings, to even just waking up to another beautiful new day. There is always a joyous occasion to be tremendously grateful for. Just as LG says, “Life’s Good!”