2020 has been a year of struggles and adversities but there are still some who choose to extend help to others who are in need even if they also face challenges in life.
Mary Lorraine Pingol was one of the people who have shown huge compassion towards the needy. She is the hero nurse in a viral video posted in August helping a homeless woman give birth on the street. Many people admired her for the inspiring deed that she showed. And for that, Lorraine said she’s very grateful for all their appreciation which boosted her morale as a nurse. But Lorraine also experienced a very challenging ordeal when she was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia in 2013. She was a fresh graduate from college that time and despite her illness, Lorraine still decided to pursue her profession as she wanted to help to other people as long as she has the ability to do so.
Lorraine inspired many people including Chef Gene Gonzales, a multi-awarded author, restaurant owner, and host Judy Ann Santos’ friend and mentor. Ever since he was young, he has already wanted to be a chef. His father didn’t want him to pursue culinary studies and wanted him to work in a bank which he did. However, his heart really told him to follow what he really wanted. And so, he did. Later on, he opened his own restaurant, Café Ysabel, and has since whipped up dishes for a number of local and international influential luminaries, such as Queen Sofia of Spain and American chef Anthony Bourdain. Aside from that, Café Ysabel would also always be among the Philippines’ top restaurants. However, while Chef Gene was fulfilling his dreams, he didn’t know that her health was already suffering, as he was diagnosed with stage 3 prostate cancer. But like Lorraine, he didn’t let his situation make him give up in life. Instead, with the help and presence of his family and loved ones, he went on to fight the deadly disease and continued to live a full life.
Another inspiring story was that of Dr. Jess Dexisne, the first licensed doctor in his barrio. He came from a less privileged family- his mother is a housewife and his father used to work as a farmer. But their situation didn’t stop Jess from pursuing medicine. He was actually inspired by his grandfather who worked as a faith healer and a barber. In order to support his studies, Jess also worked as a barber. And his inspiration in making it through all the challenges in attaining his dream was his family.
One of the people who was inspired by Doctor Jess’ story was Jing Monis, a salon owner, vlogger, and renowned celebrity hairstylist. Judy Ann is very thankful to him because he has always been by her side, especially during those times she needed a friend the most. Jing’s interest in hairstyling started when he helped his mother, who was also a hairstylist. When he became a father at 18, he stopped studying and worked to support his child. Noted celebrity stylist Henri Calayag saw Jing’s potential and became his mentor. That’s when he became more inspired to study hairdressing. He did study abroad, but even though he became successful, Jing still felt that there was still something lacking and it was his family. He realized that he missed being with his family and he missed seeing his children grow up. Because of this, Jing decided to return to the Philippines. He would open his own salon and, in the process, faced many challenges. He encountered a very difficult time in his life when his mother passed away. But in Bahay Ni Maria, a home for the abandoned elderly and maltreated children, Jing felt he found a special connection to the elderly women who lived there. As such, he had since pledged to help them in any way he can as long as he lives.
Countless Kapamilya employees lost their jobs when Congress denied the renewal of ABS-CBN’s broadcast franchise in July. One of them was Edward Solis, a chef who worked at the network’s 9501 restaurant. Coming from a broken family and a troublesome life, Chef Edward decided to change for the better when he became a father and vowed to work harder for his own family. He then started to work in ABS-CBN as a dishwasher and assistant cook, until he finally became a chef. After Chef Edward lost his job, one of his bosses in the network gave him an opportunity to work in Kusina Kapamilya, an online food shop by former ABS-CBN employees selling Filipino cuisine.
Helping Kusina Kapamilya is a co-actor and restaurateur close to Judy Ann’s heart—Marvin Agustin. Judy Ann and Marvin first got to work together in the hit 1996 youth-oriented series Gimik. Marvin has been very successful in his restaurant chain business but also encountered several dark moments in his life, particularly when his dad Danilo Cuyugan lost his job and was sent to prison.
Because of this, Marvin decided to begin working at a young age, serving as a waiter when he was 15 before he was discovered and became one of the most popular Kapamilya stars of his generation. His work as a waiter when he was young inspired him to engage in a restaurant business someday. After a decades-long successful showbiz career, Marvin is now a restaurant chain owner and businessman. To assist retrenched ABS-CBN employees who since became part of Kusina Kapamilya, like Chef Edward, Marvin offered his kitchen for them to concoct and cook the dishes they would sell online. Judy Ann and the Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan team also pitched in by providing freezers to store the frozen food.
Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan airs Saturdays at 7pm on the Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z Channel 11.