Written By Neyzielle Ronnicque Cadiz, Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines

They are childhood best friends. When they heard about a medical and dental mission being conducted in their barangay at Manggahan, Mataasnakahoy, Batangas, they excitedly went to the site together. Doing what they always do, they held hands to steady each other. “We are best friends so we need to always be there to guide one another,” Juanita Latag, 86, proudly said.

That was her cue to tell happy stories about their childhood while firmly holding the free hand of Silvina Laqui, 90, whose left hand was in a cast because she lost her balance and slipped the day before the mission.

They were very jolly and open to entertain the questions of one staff member, giving pieces of advice to her and eventually turning the conversation towards what have to be great life-lessons for the youth today.
“How did you keep your friendship this long?” asked the staff.

“Maybe because we know each other’s flaws but we still remain faithful to each other. Friends come and go but only the true ones stay, you need to remember that, `neng, ” Silvina said softly.

“I see the [generation] gap. When we were your age, we visited our friends in their houses, not like today when most of [you] hang out in malls and parks. Our parents trusted our friends because they saw how happy we were with them,” Juanita added.

“Others still do that, grandma.”

“Yes, but others now mostly rely on technology.”

“Maybe because of technological advancement, lola. It’s easier to communicate through phones and Facebook.”

“Yes, isn’t it sad? You don’t have the real connection because you barely see each other personally, it is mostly on the computer [screen],” Silvina blurted out.

Help came just in time for Silvina. Just when she complained about the pain in her shoulder, their medicines were extended to them and the light in their eyes lit up even more. They both received vitamins, pain relievers, and other medicines that address their medical needs.


It was then that Juanita expressed in a serious tone that it is not enough to just have friends because you need to know who the true ones are.

“True friends are those who make you better. You need to be close to your friends, go to places where you can strengthen your bond, do crazy but relevant things together. You should not feel left out with them because their mere presence should be enough to remind you that you’re never facing your problems alone. But never forget to honor your parents as well and obey what they tell you to do.”

“Do not be deceived by money, life is not all about it. Never do bad things against other people, be humble and do not degrade anyone. Most of all, don’t be a disgrace to your family, make your parents proud of you. They are not working so hard just for you to use their money on unimportant things. Most of you are blessed with education, never ever waste it.” Silvina stated with passion in her eyes.

“Try to dance with your friends under the moonlight, it’s the happiest thing [to do],” Juanita whispered as they bid goodbye and went home holding each other’s hand again.

Do not lose an opportunity to help the elders and get inspiring pieces of advice from them in return. Extend your helping hand and let us offer compassion to our precious senior citizens. To know more about our healthcare projects, visit our website at www.obphil.com/home or call us at 477-7802 to 04.