March 5, 2024

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!
Celebrating Valentine’s Day is about roses, chocolates, and spending the day with loved ones. It is also a time to share a bit of our hearts to others, to reach out, so they can have joy.
For some, the sharing can mean saving lives and spreading goodwill. According to some accounts, St. Valentine was a Roman priest and physician who was a martyr. He is the patron saint of lovers, epileptics, and beekeepers. In today’s celebrations, Valentine’s Day uses Cupid, that winged baby with a golden bow and arrows – the symbols of love.
About 10 years ago, I wrote about a young boy who needed help for a brain surgery. It turned out to be a remarkable experience. Out of nowhere appeared a philanthropist doctor who offered financial help to the little boy for the cost of his operation. There were no questions asked. It was just pure love and the selfless act of helping someone. It made a lasting impression on me. It was an extraordinary sharing of kindness. Until now, this doctor continues to help others. She is truly a Valentine’s symbol to me.
I am writing to ask other kind-hearted souls to share a little love to bring joy to two individuals: Vivien Marie Barrientos, a co-teacher and friend, and one-year-old baby Ezequel Gapasin, who is suffering from biliary atresia and needs a liver transplant. Biliary atresia is a condition in infants in which the bile ducts outside and inside the liver are scarred and blocked. Bile can’t flow into the intestine, so bile builds up in the liver and damages it. The damage leads to scarring, loss of liver tissue and function, and cirrhosis.
Vivien, I call her Ma’am Bari, is a teacher at the University of Baguio. She has stage 4 lung cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. She needs financial help and our prayers. Chemo is expensive and an arduous treatment. But Vivien is so positive in her outlook and belief in God. She will overcome this with a little help from us. Her former students are helping her as well. They are sponsoring a seminar on “Hospitality trends: Challenges and opportunities in managing international hotel chains” on Feb. 25 at Vincent’s Place, Loakan Road. The speaker is Rosalie Lagdao, manager of Singapore’s Hotel Jen Tanglin.
If interested to join and help Ma’am Bari, register at Part of the proceeds will be given to Vivien. For those who want to share a little, you may deposit at her sister’s (Maria Angela T. Barrientos) BDO account: 0054-704-62219 or call 0956-334-1171.
One-year-old Ezequel needs a liver transplant. Parents Erfie and Michael Gapasin are doing everything to raise funds including selling items like stuff toys, t-shits, mugs, and key chains so they can raise enough funds for baby Ezequel.
If you want to help, you may deposit at GCash 0948-070-6236 or at their BDO account 0054-706-34435 c/o Erfie Gapasin.
The Baguio General Hospital Advisory Board headed by Ram Sharma and SM Baguio through its Mall Manager Rona Vida Correa and Regional Public Relations Manager Karren Nobres will be giving “Bears of Joy” to chosen children recipients from the SPED Center, the Child and Family Service children, and the retired nuns of Tuding, Itogon in celebration of Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
Incandescent lights will likewise be donated to the Baguio City National High School, SPED Center, Pines City HS , the Quezon Elementary School, and Mabini ES. also courtesy of SM Baguio.
Let’s give love and joy. Happy Heart’s Day to all.