Written By Lily Mae G. Quilbio, Visayas Children’s Program Coordinator, Operation Blessing Philippines

“Your visit is a big help to us. You did not only provide our health needs, but you [also] comfort us with your effort, time, and the joy of serving us, especially catering our immediate needs,” Nanay Alicia Igneo, 70, told Operation Blessing during its medical mission in Brgy. San Antonio, Biri Island, Northern Samar.

Nanay Alicia is a retired teacher.  She spent all of her life in this community.  She has three children, two are in Manila and one is in San Antonio.  All of them have families of their own.  She was separated with his first husband, but was blessed with another, Tatay Emilio, a 60-year old fisherman, and they have been married for 40 years but with no child.

Nanay Alicia’s place is a more-than-an-hour motorboat trip to the main town in Biri Island, where the hospital is located. Many from their barangay cannot afford to go to the hospital for a check-up because of financial constraints. Although they have a health center, the people chose not to rely on this for they only have one nurse and one midwife. Others just depend on quack doctors.

Barangay San Antonio was one of the places battered by Typhoon Nona (international name: Melor). And while others saw that it was a real destruction, the residents saw that typhoon Nona was a blessing, that through the typhoon, Operation Blessing found their place, where many locals need immediate response especially for those who have been wounded during and after the typhoon. Even those who have been suffering from their illnesses for many years now, because they could not afford to go to the hospital for proper checkup, were blessed with the medical mission.

According to Nanay Alicia, that was only the second time she witnessed a medical mission in their place.  The first one was when she was still in elementary, and then the recent medical mission of Operation Blessing to their place.

For Tatay Emilio, the medical mission is truly a great help for their people. He said he already felt true love and care with just the processes of the medical mission – the health checkup was not being rushed, the doctors take time in assessing the patients, and patiently give appropriate medications for their specific complaints.

“This medical mission is very important to us because we were able to know the illnesses that we have and what proper medication we are going to take. From the bottom of our heart, thank you very much,” with tears of joy, Nanay Alicia ended her testimony.

Help us to bring medical services to many unreached people. To know how, you can call us at 477 7802 to 04 and 06.