Not everyone believes in miracles, but inexplicably, such things happen in people’s lives. And they can attest to how unimaginable and how incredible how God can move mountains to give them a second chance in life.
In the March 27 episode of Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan, we feature four individuals who have proven that miracles do happen.
Joaquin Enrique Arig, an only child, grew up with his mother. He didn’t experience being with his dad while growing up. But he’s grateful to his uncles, who stood as his father figures. Joaquin has been very vocal and open about his love for basketball and his admiration towards one of the basketball legends, Kobe Bryant. However, his classmates used this to bully him - and this was something Joaquin never understood. It was a hard time for him and he kept it from his mom for months.
When Joaquin transferred another school, he gained new friends. However, Joaquin noticed he had a problem with his eyesight. He recalled that when he covered his right eye, he could not see anything with his left eye. When they went to the doctor, he was diagnosed with “Keratokonus”, an eye disease that affects the cornea. The doctor said his only option for treatment was an eye transplant. Joaquin held onto his faith during those difficult times.
Joaquin would soon find a corneal donor who was a namesake of his late basketball idol, Kobe Tejero. However, the story behind how the family of Kobe was able to donate his cornea was very heartrending and tragic. Kobe was the greatest blessing that his parents were able to have. Marizo Tejero, his mother, shared that he was the gift that God gave her and her husband after a very long time of praying to have a child. According to her, Kobe was the star of the family. He was his uncles’ and aunties’ favorite because he was a very kind, loving, and bright kid.
However, they never knew that the time they would spend with him would not last for a long time. One day, when Kobe used the motorcycle of his dad, he got into a serious accident. The doctor said that he was brain dead. It was the most painful thing that happened to Kobe’s parents, who decided to end his suffering. But Marizo later on decided to donate Kobe’s organs so she could be able to help other people in need.
That’s when Joaquin decided to be the recipient of Kobe’s cornea. And Joaquin said that he is and will forever be thankful for the gift of sight that he received from Kobe. He said that he will always choose to help other people in need to give back the blessings that he received. To thank Kobe and his family, Joaquin gave Marizo a painting and a poem that he himself made and wrote.
Another inspiring story is that of JM Quiblat, a musician, video producer, and surfer. He has always had a very strong faith in God because of his parents who influenced him very much. JM shared that when he joined a music camp, he became very sure that he wanted to pursue a career in music. In fact, he eventually became an audio production instructor in a university. And aside from music and video production, JM also loves surfing. “There’s nothing like catching your first wave. There’s nothing like standing up and riding on a wave of energy,” JM said.
As he surfed one day, a monstrous wave, reaching 12 to 14 feet, hit and devoured JM, knocking him out of consciousness. But JM was still very blessed and fortunate to have been saved by his co-surfer, Justin, who happened to be a trained lifeguard. His mother, Joyce Quiblat, shared that JM went into a coma after the accident. He would have seizures and uncontrollable sweat and fever. She also said that there was only about 10 to 20 percent chance of survival. JM’s father, Benny Quiblat, was on a business trip when the accident happened. He said he had a vision of Opus Dei founder St. Josemaria Escriva telling him that he would take care of his son. And that’s when Benny realized that God has always been with them.
JM could remember that he was like floating in space and was walking towards the brightest of the stars. After seeing the light, he finally woke up. And seeing his family after waking up was the most comforting thing he felt after being in a coma for 10 days. And since then, JM has been very grateful to be given another chance in life, to be able to share his talent. And there’s one person that JIM is very thankful to, and she’s none other than her mommy Joyce. JM said that she has always been his cheerleader and has always been by his side all throughout. To show his appreciation to her, JM wrote his mom a poem.
Another unbelievable miracle came to Abegail Raymundo, a daughter of missionary pastors. She grew up hearing the Word of God because of her parents. However, his father died too soon when Abegail was still 12 because of over fatigue. And that’s when she started putting the blame on God because the only thing that she kept into her mind during those times was that God killed her father. Abegail became rebellious as a teenager.
Abegail became addicted to pornography and entered into illicit relationships with married men. She also engaged in vices, and ended up wasted in parties. That’s when she started challenging God to rescue her. She tried to end her life several times in the past. But God made His presence felt when he gave her a vision of her suffering in hell. Abegail described it as a very difficult and painful situation where all she did was beg God and ask a second chance from Him. That’s when Abegail decided to change her life for the better. She helped the youth who were in need and saved them from illegal drug use, vices, sexual abuse, pornography, wrong relationships, and suicide. That’s when Rescue Kabataan was founded. They would visit schools and do a monthly seminar-type program. But Abegail started questioning God again and asked Him what really was His purpose in giving her a second chance in life. Little did she know that God had a much bigger plan for her.
One of the volunteers in Rescue Kabataan, Patrick Raymundo, also had life experiences that were similar to those of Abegail. He came from a broken family and when he was young, he already experienced sexual abuse. He hid it from his parents because he didn’t want any dispute or trouble. When he grew older, he became immature and selfish because he wasn’t able to fulfill his responsibilities as a father to his kids with his ex-girlfriends. But he chose to have a deeper and closer relationship with God. It’s when he became a volunteer in Rescue Kabataan that he met the person whom he knew God destined to be his forever—Abegail, who would become his wife. Abegail gave her husbnad a pair of shoes and expressed how very thankful and grateful she is to Patrick for being her ministry partner. She also expressed how thankful she is to God for rescuing her and for giving her one of the greatest blessings in her life which is to have her own family.
Businessman Benj Cruz also experienced an incredible miracle. Benj was a prize-winning musician who would endure the trauma of an attempted murder. While he was driving, a car blocked his way, and its occupants drew guns and opened fire on his car multiple times. Bloodied and riddled with gunshots, Benj was rushed to the hospital and as he laid unconscious, Benj had a vision seeing a long-haired man wearing white. Benj could remember that he actually wanted to go with the man but he was told to go the opposite way back. After that, he woke up being revived in the ICU.
While Benj was still recovering, his childhood friend Tessa Macaraeg helped and took care of him. As a nurse, Tessa helped Benj because she said she knew they shared the same difficulties in life growing up. After recuperating, Benj then decided to go to Malaysia where his life turned for the worse. He had vices and started to become irresponsible. He was diagnosed with a tumor in his pancreas, and doctors said he had only six months to live. Benj didn’t want his family to know about it so he just decided to fight the battle on his own.
One of his friends, Marilyn Pamajah, however, was there for him. She helped him in his medical check-ups and treatments in Malaysia. Although she admires his strong will and determination to live, Marilyn also made him realize that the presence of family is and will always be important. Benj would then encounter another near-death experience when he had a seizure after taking his adrenaline serum. When he passed out, he felt very strong hands that pushed him back to where he came from. Benj would then miraculously wake up again. From all the miracles that happened in his life, Benj is thankful to the people who helped him during his lowest times, Tessa and Marilyn. Above all, he is most thankful to the Lord for all the miracles that happened in his life.
Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan, hosted by Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo, airs every Saturday at 7pm on the Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z Channel 11.