lifestyle

Sharp Donates Plasmacluster Ion Air Purifier to the City of Muntinlupa for Two of Their COVID-19 Hospitals

May 16, 2020

In the midst of the global health crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sharp Philippines Corporation (SPC) donated eight (8) units of Plasmacluster Ion Generator (IG-A40E)  and six (6) units of Air Purifier(KC-G50E) to the City Government of Muntinlupa, through Mayor Jaime “Jimmy” Fresnedi and Councilor Allan Camilon, last April 24, 2020. The units are turned over to Ospital ng Muntinlupa (OSMUN) and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), where most of the COVID-19 patients are being treated.     The Plasmacluter IonTechnology equipped units will be installed in the newly-built COVID-19 facility in OSMUN. Plasmacluster Ion eliminates airborne mold and suppresses activity of airborne viruses, bacteria, allergens and adhering odour providing a healthier environment for both Frontliners and patients in the battle against the virus.     The donation addresses part of the immediate needs of facilities who are working to slow the spread of the virus within communities and strengthen vulnerable healthcare systems against potential threats to public health.

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Pia, Gazini and Catriona headline the country's first online AIDS Candlelight Memorial

May 16, 2020

MANDALUYONG CITY (May 14, 2020) – Advocacy queens Pia Wurtzbach and Catriona Gray will be leading side by side the first-ever online concert ceremony of the Philippine International AIDS Candlelight Memorial (IACM) on Sunday, May 17, at 4PM. Dubbed as "Light Up," the online concert ceremony has two parts: Commemoration and Celebration.  UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach will head the Light Up's commemoration part alongside community movers, government officials, and private institutions. One of the highlights of the commemorative event is a ceremonial candle lighting to be led by Miss Universe - Philippines 2019 Gazini Ganados.  Staunch HIV advocate, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, will top bill Light Up's celebration part, showcasing a free online concert. Performing at the show are exceptional Filipino artists: Katrina Velarde, Nina, 4th Impact, Jed Madela, The Company, Ice Seguerra, Zeus Collins, Anna Ramsey, Phi Palmos, Adrian Lindayag, Addlib Divas, Nicole Asensio, Arman Ferrer, Globe Voices@Work, and drag queen performers and with special participation from Lea Salonga, Morissette Amon, Jed Madela, Radha, and many more.  Hosted by Tim Yap and Patrixia Santos, the Philippine IACM online concert ceremony will be live on Facebook at bit.ly/LightUpPH2020. The country's 2020 IACM shift to an online concert ceremony was in response to the government's imposition of social distancing protocols as the nation grapples with the COVID19 pandemic.  This year's celebration also includes a photo essay contest featuring the HIV story of any Filipino who is part of the advocacy. Interested participants may still join until May 15, at 6PM. Visit this link: bit.ly/LightUpMyHIVStory for the mechanics and win as much as PhP25,000.00. It will also benefit the Duyan Program of The Project Red Ribbon Care Management Foundation (TRR) that aims to provide care and support to children living with HIV in the Philippines.  The Department of Health (DOH) reported that since 1984, 3,730 Filipinos have died of HIV-related complications and 74,807 have contracted the virus. In the same DOH report, 3,029 newly diagnosed people living with HIV were recorded for the last quarter of 2019. It has to be noted that HIV testing and effective HIV treatment therapy are given by the government and community-based organizations for free.  Light Up is presented by the DOH, TRR, and The LoveYourself, Inc.; sponsored by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Camber Pharmaceutical Inc. by Hetero, Champion Community Centers, Frontrow Cares, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc., Premiere Condoms, Teleperformance Philippines, and Sustainability of HIV Services for Key Populations in Asia (SKPA); and supported by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, EON Foundation, the National Youth Commission (NYC), Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), PhilHealth, Positibong Marino Philippines, Inc., The Red Whistle, Sustained Health Initiatives of the Philippines, and UNAIDS.  The IACM happens every third Sunday of May to commemorate the courage of the people who succumbed to AIDS. It also celebrates the continuing battle by the people living with HIV and the progress the community has made through the years.  

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75th Cagayan Liberation Anniversary Feature: Maj. Jose Manuel Corrales Montalvan, 1st Camp Commander of the ‘Kampo’

May 16, 2020

Few Kagay-anons today are aware that the first camp commander of the Philippine Army’s biggest military camp in Mindanao was a Lumad (native Kagay-anon). Major Jose Manuel Corrales Montalvan was initially assigned as Cadre Commander of the 2nd Misamis Oriental (Machine Gun) Cadre at Camp Bulua (present day Camp Edilberto Evangelista) in Cagayan, a post he served in from January 1-Dec. 31, 1939.  When the camp was renamed Camp Evangelista, then 1st Lt. Montalvan was appointed its Camp Commander and Mobilization Center Officer on January 1, 1940, a post he served up to the outbreak of World War II.  Dr. Montalvan, who was also known as Ñor Peping, was born on March 17, 1903 in present day Cagayan de Oro (then known as Cagayan de Misamis, capital town of the Segundo Distrito de Misamis, and later as Misamis, Cagayan under the American regime) to Jose Gabriel Montalvan, a retired Spanish soldier from Belmonte, Cuenca, Spain who was assigned by the Spanish government to the Philippines and Concepcion Corrales y Roa of Cagayan de Misamis.  In 1927, he was graduated with honors (3rd highest) from the Philippine Dental College, Manila with a degree of Doctor in Dental Surgery (DDS). Upon his return to his hometown in 1928, he practiced dentistry and became one of the first teachers of the Ateneo de Cagayan (present day Xavier University) and was its Commandant of the Corps of Cadets. Dr. Montalvan was commissioned a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve in 1928, was trained and successfully completed the U.S. Army Extension Courses. From 1933 to 1937 he was the instructor for Military Science and Tactics at the Ateneo de Cagayan. However, the lure of a full-time career in the newly formed Philippine Army proved irresistible and he resigned from the U.S. Army Reserve and was commissioned as a First Lieutenant, Infantry Reserve, of the Philippine Army on July 16, 1936. He was called to active duty training at Camp Murphy Training School for Reserve Officers (Infantry), assigned as Company Commander of the training officers company, and graduated No. 5 with a general average of 90.7% in 1938. While assigned as the first camp commander of Camp Evangelista, he graduated from the School of Military Law and Courts-Martial Procedure, Camp Keithley, Lanao in 1940. Upon his induction into the U.S. Army Forces – Far East (USAFFE) on September 6, 1941, he was appointed Division Finance Officer and Division Quartermaster of the USAFEE’s 102nd Division. Later, he was appointed Division Inspector General, 102nd Division, USAFFE, with Headquarters at Tankulan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon then promoted to Captain, Infantry, in April, 1942. Following the surrender of the USAFFE forces in Mindanao under Gen. William Sharp to the Japanese Imperial Army on May 10, 1942, Dr. Montalvan was taken as a prisoner-of-war (POW) by the Japanese and detained at the Ateneo de Cagayan campus which had been converted into a POW Camp. “During his captivity he developed polyneuritis, which caused his leg to become shorter, as a result of the hard labor he underwent in prison when he and others would carry sacks of potatoes and coffee under the rain, soaking their only clothing in their bodies,” recalls his daughter Annabel Montalvan Corrales. “One night after such experience his whole body became numb and his leg started to give him extreme pain. The doctors at that time did not know what it was but was later diagnosed as polyneuritis.” However, he successfully escaped and joined his family in Talakag, Bukidnon. He walked for days to Talakag, away from the road, because the Japanese were looking for him. Again, the rains came and soaked his clothes. When he got to Talakag he had very high fever and the polyneuritis he contracted became worse. He then proceeded to Misamis Occidental to join the guerrillas of Col. Wendell Fertig, commander of the United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) in Mindanao, which was made up of escaped prisoners-of-war and Filipino and American soldiers and civilians who refused to surrender to the Japanese. Between 1942 and 1944, USFIP forces raided Japanese occupation forces in Mindanao and provided valuable intelligence to the Allied forces. For his military service before and during World War II, Dr. Montalvan received the following awards and decorations: Philippine Defense Medal; American Defense Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal; Philippine Republic Unit Citation Badge and the U.S. Distinguished Unit Badge. Following his polyneuritis, Dr. Montalvan reverted to inactive status on July 11, 1946 and was promoted to the rank of Major, Infantry Reserve in January 20, 1950.  “He suffered so much under the hands of the Japanese and often got slapped for no reason,” Ms. Montalvan said. “Many years later, that Japanese that put him under hard labor came back to Cagayan de Oro to apologize to him and to others he tortured. And my dad readily accepted his apology!” He resumed his duties as a professor of Spanish at the Ateneo in 1949 and took up law at the Cagayan Law School of the Ateneo, graduating with a degree of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) in 1953, passed the Bar exams and was admitted to the Bar in June 1954 and established a law practice. He married the former Mercedes Acero Roa of Cagayan de Oro City and with whom he had six children: Marrieta, Daisy, Annabel, Eduardo, Consuelo and Antonio. Dr. Montalvan passed away on September 21, 1978, his patriotism and service to the country and military apparently forgotten by the new generation of Kagay-anons. To rectify this situation, Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro) and Rep. Maximo B. Rodriguez, Jr. (Abante Mindanao- Party List) filed House Bill 4735 with the 15th Congress during its first regular session seeking to rename Camp Edilberto Evangelista to “Camp Jose Montalvan in honor of a Kagay-anon and Mindanaoan war hero who fought against the Japanese to protect the freedom of the Philippines."  Camp Edilberto Evangelista in Barangay Patag, Cagayan de Oro City, is the largest military camp in Mindanao with an area of 129 hectares. It is the home base to the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division and covers the Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions. The explanatory note to the HB 4735 reads in part: “It is readily apparent that Major Montalvan is a war hero who fought against the Japanese in order to ensure that the Philippines retain its independence. He gave up the best years of his life to fight for our country. It is therefore appropriate that he be honored by renaming Camp Evangelista into Camp Jose Montalvan, in honor of a Kagay-anon who risked his life for our country.”

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Mother’s Day Special: ‘My son Ken died so that others may live’

May 14, 2020

Note: This Mother’s Day special was written by Ezel R. Lambatan, brother of Kenneth Lambatan, a Kagay-anon nurse who recently died from the novel coronavirus at St. George’s Hospital in London. This  essay is dedicated to their Mama Ludy and to all the mothers whocontinue to make this world a brighter place. On the night of April 27, Mama Ludy faced the screen of a mobile phone. She looked at her son Ken through a video call, intubated and dependent on the life support equipment. My mother opened her Bible then read verses to him. Into the next minute, she was on a church hymnal, singing the songs “Amazing Grace” and “The Old Rugged Cross.” When the time came for his life support to be turned off, Mama Ludy said the hardest “I love you” and “Thank you” any mother could give. It was the worst goodbye a mother could ever give to her son. Mother of a modern hero Meet Ludivina Lambatan, also known as “Ludy” by her colleagues and peers. A woman of faith and dedication. One of her sons, Kenneth Lambatan, 33, was a cardiac research nurse in London. She lost one of her great gems due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As a mother, she always wanted the best for her children. When Kuya Ken graduated from high school, Mama Ludy suggested Kuya Ken to take nursing. My Kuya Ken obeyed Mama’s suggestion. When Kuya Ken was getting into the field of nursing healthcare, Mama Ludy made sure that she provided and supported all the things that Kuya Ken needed. She made sure that she was with Kuya Ken every step of the way. After graduating, Kuya Ken served at the Northern Mindanao Medical center (NMMC) for eight years. She saw how dedicated and passionate he was with his calling. It was evident in his work ethic and through the words of his friends and colleagues. Being a hands-on mom that she is, after Kuya’s every work shift, she would always check up on him by asking how his day went. Though my brother was a silent type at home, Mama Ludy always knew when Kuya was doing well or when he was sick. My brother was a go-getter and he always wanted to pursue greener pastures abroad, so my mother stood behind him supporting his dreams. When he moved to London, the communication lines became more meaningful. My mother was beaming with pride as my brother shared how he would go to work through his bike, how he loved the London weather, and all other stories under the sun. Three years as a nurse in London, Mama Ludy saw how Kuya Ken made a name for himself as he became a research nurse in the cardiology ward of St. George's Hospital. The hardest day of her life She recounted the time when Kuya Ken told her that he had to be deployed in the front lines of curbing the spread of COVID-19. He was assigned as the bed manager of the hospital. Mama Ludy was apprehensive of this move as she wanted Kuya to go back to the Philippines. As a research nurse, Kuya Ken had all the reasons not to be in during the hospital’s most critical time but it did not deter him. He heeded the call of service. “It is my sworn duty, Ma,” Kuya Ken said. “I will respond under any circumstance.” When he was already in the front lines, my brother told her during one of their online conversations that he had a hard cough and a sore throat. Mama got anxious and was urgently asking for Kuya Ken to seek medical attention right away. Kuya Ken said that Mama need not to worry and asked her to pray for him. The next thing she knew was that his son was already in crtiical condition at the intensive care unit. My mother prayed hard for days and nights but Kuya Ken’s condition didn’t get any better. Until one day, the doctors consulted Mama Ludy that they needed to stop all the machines that supported my brother’s life. My mom asked God for a miracle. She even called all her churchmates, colleagues, and peers to rally for prayers over her son. Then the hardest day of her life came. “My son Ken died so that others may live,” Mama Ludy said. On Mother’s Day “It’s going to be my most painful Mother’s Day,” she said, as she relived the pain she felt when Kuya Ken’s life support was turned off. Calling it unbearable was an understatement. Not being able to take care of him and not being by his side during his last days have haunted her with regret.  He was only half her age and she was certain that he still had dreams that he wanted to achieve for himself and for our family. If there was one thing that comforted her, it was knowing how my brother had a strong relationship with God. She is coping with the situation by consoling with the word of God. Through faith, she was quite relieved knowing that Kuya Ken is now in a much better place. No more weeping, no more sorrows. “Life is short … life is not ours … and life is from God,” she said. In this trying times, she calls for a message to focus on God. Mama Ludy believes that God has his own ways and she wants all the mothers and their children to put all their trust to the Almighty. She will always remember Kuya Ken as a kind, loving, and generous son. He was a good provider to our family, especially to his siblings. In another life, Kuya Ken’s face will be the first one she will look for in heaven. We often describe our mothers as the beam of light of the household, but recently my mother’s light was tested by fate. I know she can move on with her life, collecting more days, but none of them will outweigh the one she wished she had back. Behind all Kuya Ken’s stories is Mama Ludy’s story. Hers is where ours begin. Today, on this special occasion, I am writing this for the two angels with one heart. For a fallen hero and for the strongest woman I know. (With additional interview by Justin Nagac and editing by Stephen Pedroza)

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Antonio Julian Montalvan: The Forgotten World War II Martyr of Cagayan

May 14, 2020

One of the perpendicular streets which links Burgos to Don Apolinar Velez streets in Cagayan de Oro City in the Philippines is named  Montalvan  but few of those traversing it or even living along it have any idea whom it is named after.  Antonio Julian Montalván y Corrales (Feb. 8, 1906 - Aug. 30, 1944) was a member of an espionage team working for the 10th  Military District under Col. Wendell W.  Fertig in Mindanao, who reported directly to Gen. Douglas MacArthur.  “He was a medical doctor, first assigned at the Misamis Provincial Hospital (now the Northern Mindanao Medical Center), then to Cebu, then Palompon in Leyte,” said his namesake and nephew local historian and columnist Antonio J. “Nono” Montalvan II. He later served as public health doctor in Iligan.  When the war began, he was the personal medic of Col. Wendell W. Fertig, head of the organized guerrilla resistance in Mindanao under the 10th Military District, United States Forces in the Philippines. He was recruited to serve as a spy by their cousin and brother-in-law Senator José Ozámiz, Nono added.  “He did intelligence work for Col Fertig,” said Nono’s brother Eduardo, who now serves as Board Chairman of the Cagayan de Oro City Water District (COWD). “Because of his familiarity with the UST Hospital, and as a Doctor, he was able to get information from patients on the movements of Japanese troops in Mindanao. The information he passed on to Col. Fertig was so vital in the guerrilla operations in  Mindanao.”  “He commuted to Manila from Mindanao by banca, going from one island to another. In one of his trips he was accompanied by Roque Ablan, Vicente Raval and Ferdinand Marcos (who was the most junior in the group) who were trying to get the assistance of the Mindanao Guerrilla Movement, “ Ed noted.  The group helped establish coastal radio relay stations in Mindanao, Visayas and Southern Luzon. Later, he became part of a Manila spy network.  “His role was first to serve as courier between Manila and Mindanao. The boat would land in Pagbilao, Quezon which is just near Tayabas. Then he would proceed to Manila to get in touch with the Manila spy network (Spyron),” Nono relates. “ He made 3 boat trips. He was about to make a 4th boat trip to Mindanao when he was captured in Tayabas. A carpenter who was doing work in the house squealed to the Japanese. He was brought to Fort Santiago, then to Bilibid,” he added.  Then newly married to Rosario Llamas, a cousin of Virginia Llamas Romulo, -- the first Mrs. Carlos P. Romulo—he was arrested by the Japanese Kempeitai in Tayabas town, in the house of his mother in-law Doña Tecla Capistrano Llamas. He was about to pack his bags for another clandestine boat trip to Mindanao.   The Japanese later detained and tortured him in Fort Santiago and at the Old Bilibid Prisons in Manila.  On August 30, 1944 he was executed by decapitation with the group of Senator José Ozámiz, and the Elizalde Group of Manila which included the writer Rafael Roces and Blanche Walker Jurika, the mother in-law of guerilla leader Charles "Chick" Parsons. The execution took place at the Manila Chinese Cemetery. “They were executed together by decapitation. It was a large group -- about 40 of them,” Nono said. “There's a war memorial for them at Manila North Cemetery.”  Philippine historian Ambeth Ocampo describes Montalván as a "World War II hero of Mindanao".  (compiled by Mike Baños)

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75th Anniversary of Cagayan’s Liberation during WW2

May 12, 2020

Today, May 12, 2020 is the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of what was then known as Cagayan (or Cagayan de Misamis to the older folks) from the Japanese Empire during World War II. Unfortunately, due to restrictions enforced by the city government according to the IATF general community quarantine guidelines, no public ceremonies are still allowed to mark this milestone in our local history. According to the account documented in “The History of the Mindanao Guerrillas” shared with us by the late president of the American Guerrillas of Mindanao (AGOM) Virginia Hansen Holmes, Cagayan, Misamis (as Cagayan de Oro was then known) was wrested from the Japanese by the US forces and guerrillas under the 10th Military District, US Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) on 12 May 1945. However, as early as May 9, 1945, operations were already underway for the liberation of the city. Iponan-Cagayan Operation 9 May 1945   “Just before the landing of American forces in Mindanao on 10 May 1945, there were still Japanese pockets totaling about 300 men in the area west of the Cagayan River.” “In coordination with the plans of the American Forces, the guerrilla troops launched a general attack on these isolated Jap pockets with the end in view of driving the enemy from this area, occupy Cagayan proper, and afford protection to the right flank of the beachhead established by the American forces in the Bugo-Agusan area.” “Units participating in the operation were the 109th Infantry Regiment, composed of 39 officers and 350 enlisted men, and 120th Infantry Regiment, 108th Division, composed of one officer and 350 enlisted men. The 111th Infantry Regiment, 109th Division joined the operation on 10 May 1945. The attack began 9 May 1945 as planned and ended 12 May 1945.” Patag Airstrip Captured “The general offensive of Iponan, Bulua, Patag, Bonbon and Bayabas, started on 9 May 1945. On the same day, the enemies at Iponan were reinforced by approximately 100 Japs at 10:00 in the morning. The enemy reinforcements possibly came from Carmen or Calinogan.” “The enemy resisted the fight, but at 11:00 of the same day, the 1st Battalion of the108th Regiment under Capt Andres Bacal, captured the strip at Patag and the enemy was reported to have withdrawn to Carmen Hills. In the afternoon of the same day, the 120th Infantry Regiment was able to cross Iponan River as planned.”   Planes Strafe “Fighting continued at the Iponan River from early morning of 10 May 1945 till 10:00 AM. At 2:00 PM of the same day, the entire 120th Infantry Regiment was  moved out West of Iponan River, per instruction of higher headquarters, leaving the three battalions of the 109th Inf Regt across the river without support from the left rear of the enemy. CO of the 109th Inf Regt was odered to pull out his troops west of Iponan River and fighting continued.” “At the same date, at about 7:30 in the morning, American troops landed between Cagayan and Bugo. Planes were seen flying low strafing Patag strip. Instruction was received that the plans of the troops clearing the areas west of the Cagayan River still stood. So the CO, 109th Inf Regt was directed to move out immediately with Kauswagan and Carmen as the objectives. Fighting continued and at noon of 11 May 1945, our troops occupied Kauswagan and Carmen. The 111th Inf Regt met them in Carmen the same day.” “The Japanese numbered 300 at the west bank of the Cagayan River, stationed at Balulang, Carmen Hill, Carmen, Patag, Bulua, and Iponan. 200 of them immediately moved east of Cagayan River. They withdrew passing Balulang, Indahag, Kili-og, Libona and proceeding to Santa Fe.” “On 11 May 1945, the 109th Inf Regt was ordered to push toward west side of Cagayan road. Route of approach was made at three points: 2nd Battalion from beach to highway, 3rd Battalion and Combat Co. in National Highway, and 1st Battalion from highway to Patag.” “Movements started at 8:00 AM and with initial point at Iponan River. At 10:00 AM, the entire Regt was at its objective  - Cagayan River. The while west side of the Cagayan River bank was occupied by this Regt without opposition.” Cagayan Occupied “On 12 May 1945, this regiment was ordered to occupy Cagayan and at 9:00 in the morning of the same date, the109th Infantry Regiment (US Army) crossed Cagayan River in three points, namely: 2nd Battalion at Julao-Julao (present day Consolacion), 3rd Battalion at Jap wooden bridge(connecting Lirio St., Carmen to Yacapin street)), and the 1st Battalion at steel bridge (present day Ysalina Bridge at Carmen).” “The whole town was occupied at 9:30 AM on 12 May 1945.” “All ground defenses were established. The defenses were as follows: 2nd Battalion from Macabalan to Old Provincial Building to Ateneo; and the 1st Battalion with the Combat Co Attached from Ateneo to Macasandig to east bank of Cagayan River.” “Strongholds were made at Camaman-an and at Macasandig for a possible route of Jap counterattack. Mopping operation was ordered and after the search, Cagayan was declared clear from enemy occupants.” “The mission as stated in the first paragraph was completed successfully. The enemy casualties were undetermined, while on our side, one Cpl Bonifacio Jabonan was wounded. “ St Augustine Cathedral was bombed by the Americans during the battle to liberate Cagayan on May 9-12, 1945. The 1st Battalion of the108th Regiment under Capt Andres Bacal, captured the Patag Airstrip around noon of May 9, 1945.  Sugar Mill at Lapad, Laguindingan. which served as a command pos for Maj. Angeles Limena (Ilogon Family Archives)  US Army forces conducting clearing operations agains Japanese troops at the Sayre Highway, Bukidnon. Fe Tiano, sister of the famous Tiano brothers of martyrs, was the lone nurse of 109th regiment. Cpl Jake Ilogon is to her right. Photo taken during the Liberation of Cagayan. (Ilogon Family Archives)  

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