Deaf Teacher-Painter Meets his Modern day Good Samaritan

August 14, 2012

A local businessman-artist birthday gifted himself as a sudden inspiration, by inviting deaf teacher-artist and 2-time International Abilympics gold medallist Jose dela Cruz, to sketch friends and show his works in his party.  As his wish, Jose’s genius easily got noticed, but in a big way, by one man in particular,  This standout corporate young Good Samaritan (GM), from a super affluent family in the country, humbly told the interpreter after buying 2 paintings, “Please tell Lolo Jose not to forget me when he is already famous.”

Jose and Mr. Good Samaritan


His words so touched Jose and there was no stopping a mutual admiration society, sort of, between the two.  Parting with his 2 most intricate and “cherished” works, Lolo Jose knew Mr. GM  had the nose for masterpieces.  Still reeling from the compliments, Jose was given yet another message. “Tell him I will hang his works next to my Juan Luna and other famed masterpieces, please.”  This he did, when he invited Jose and the interpreter to his house weeks after.

The Interpreter, like Lolo Jose, was just as moved by the young man’s show of nobility and respect.  Once more, there was proof,  that disability is no barrier to excellence, and ingenuity.

Mr. GM was so moved by Lolo Jose and vows to help introduce his works to his friends.  

Note: To keep Mr. GM’s identity, we are showing his blurred image beside Lolo Jose, until he decides it is time to come forward.

Mary Jane Villanueva, Opol’s Most Outstanding PWD 2012

August 14, 2012

Proud Mayor Dexter Yasay recently awarded Mary Jane Villanueva, Opol Federation of PWDs’ Vice President, as the “Most Outstanding PWD” for 2012.  Launched to kick off Opol’s 2012 NDPR Week with a motorcade,  this aims to raise awareness on the beauty and potentials of PWDs as productive citizens of Opol.

Besting 9 other candidates, Ms. Villanueva is among Opol’s staunch disability advocates,  who are  highly instrumental in their high impact ‘’Non-handicapping Environment” pilot project, in sync with the Japan International Cooperating Agency (JICA) and the National Council on Disability Affairs.

2011 Outstanding Micro-entrepreneur of Naga City

May 28, 2012

Photo of Ms. Fe Carranza
Photo of Ms. Fe Carranza
In one of the training on results-based management, monitoring and evaluation I conducted for the GREAT Women Project of the Philippine Commission on Women, I met one extraordinary woman entrepreneur by the name of Fe Buangin Carranza, 50, a polio victim since the age of 3, who has been awarded 2011 Outstanding Micro-entrepreneur of Naga City.  I conducted the training on monitoring and evaluation for the Metro Naga Development Council on March 28-30, 2012 at the Avenue Square Hotel in Naga City.  On the weekend after the training I decided to visit this outstanding lady entrepreneur of Naga City.

FABCARR Food Products, Panicuason, Naga City

Fe Carranza at one time was president of the persons with disabilities in Panicuason, Naga City.  One time when she was bringing some goods to employees of the city hall of Naga, Atty. Leni Robredo,  wife of former Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo, who was then the president of the Naga City Council of Women (NCCW), took notice of how Fe started the engine of her motor tricycle, that is, by kicking the starter with her left foot so that she is facing the back of the motorcycle.  This is because her right foot was the one stricken with polio.  That was the story of NCCW’s facilitating support from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to provide her with technical assistance for her soya production.

Fe’s soya production started simply in 2004 when some college students from Infanta, Quezon did some study visit in Panicuason but got stranded by a typhoon. The students came to her house and asked to stay for a while until the typhoon had passed.  In gratitude one of those students who knew how to make tofu or “tokwa”, taught her how to prepare soya beans in making tofu.  With the new skill that she has learned from those students she began a tofu business.

The Grow Negosyo program of the Naga City local government was also instrumental for the success of Fe’s food business by facilitating technical skills and linking her to potential clients. Today she is now supplying soya bread and chilled “taho” to some 29 schools in Naga City under a contract with the Naga City Local School Board, and in 27 Barangay Day Care through a contract with the City Nutrition Council.  She has generated jobs for more than ten workers by her micro-enterprise which she named FABCARR Food products – the acronym for her name.  Aside from nutritious soya bread and chilled taho, FABCARR also produces soya milk, soya choco, soya coffee, tofu, and a soya beans-based vegetable meat called soya ham.

Prior to her Soya food production business, Mrs. Fe Carranza, who finished only high school, engaged in a buy-and-sell business in Navotas, Metro Manila, as a wholesaler of vegetables and maintaining a small stall in a private market.  Unfortunately with her absence at home her husband, who was a driver for a Filipino-Chinese businessman, had strayed for a while, and so she decided to go back to Panicuason to take care of her four children and to rebuild her family from the setback caused by her estranged relationship with her husband.    That was how she got involved with the PWD of Panicuason and then the tofu making prior to the DOST.

The DOST assisted Fe to put up the FABCARR Food Products in 2011.  Then the NCCW linked her up with the local school board, as well as with the nutrition council of Naga City.  When her soya production picked up she asked her estranged husband to get back home to lend a hand.  Her husband’s employer would not let go of him though and even increased his salary, but in the end he was able to negotiate with his employer for an on-call basis arrangement.  Now Fe’s husband is happily assisting her in the business.

In 2010 Fe was awarded as the happiest Nagaeña or resident of Naga City by the NCCW.  Today she is being nominated as the happiest Filipino by the Metro Naga Development Council.

What is her secret?  Perseverance and hardwork, she says, and faith in God.  Of course she is happy with the assistance from the local government of Naga City through the Naga City Council on Women and the LGU’s Grow Negosyo program, the Metro Naga Development Council, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Department of Trade and Industry, the GREAT Women Project of the Philippine Commission on Women, and the local Adventist Church where she is a member and whose encouragement inspired her to continue to build her dream for her family, and to show to the world that physical disability and personal setbacks can be overcome.  (end)

[1] Adapted from “A Tale of Two Women: Stories from the GREAT Women Project” (GREAT means “Gender-Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of Women”)

[2] Philip Emmanuel C. Peñaflor, is an independent monitoring and evaluation consultant, currently assisting the GREAT Women Project of the Philippine Commission on Women (

Seeing through Fatima’s Eyes

June 16, 2011

“Hello father”, a girl’s voice was heard over ZNN Radio Veritas’ broadcast of Fr. Jerry Orbos’s radio show one July 2003 night. The voice, nervy but resolute, talked about trusting in God’s grace and to be hopeful and joyful in spite of sufferings.  The voice came from a very fragile 10-year old, Fatima Soriano, blind at birth and suffering from the last stage of kidney failure. Fatima’s radio-phone interview did not only stir Father Jerry Orbos, but the priest’s audience as well.

After the two met in person, they became instant friends. Fr. Jerry saw Fatima , as breath of fresh air and as God’s answer to his taxing job as Mission Director of the ‘’Society of Divine Word-Philippines’’. Fatima in turn, welcomed Fr. Jerry’s friendship and having another person to talk about her strong faith and convictions other than her parents, Danny and Fely. This friendship led to Fatima’s regular presence in Fr. Jerry’s televised ABS-CBN Sunday Masses.

The media took notice of her unwavering faith in God’s grace and her devotion to the intercession of Mary. ABS-CBN’s “Maalaala Mo Kaya” soon featured her story, and made a number of TV guestings with the media rallying on her positivism and infectious faith.

Fatima’s Television prominence led to a text brigade in 2004 which raised P1.2 million, to help in her kidney transplant after a 23-year-old kidney donor surfaced. Doctors were apprehensive at first, saying that Fatima may be at risk if the surgery pushes through, having only 90 percent compatibility of the donor’s adult arteries and veins to Match Fatima’s much smaller blood vessels. However, this apprehension was proven wrong during the February 28, 2004 surgery, when they turned out to be a perfect fit.

Fatima successfully recovered from surgery, however, her experience under the knife made it very difficult for her to continue her choir singing. But once again, her faith in God’s grace proved that nothing is impossible. In 2006, Fatima recorded four (4) songs for Fr. Jerry’s CD of inspirational songs: two of the songs,”Falling Star” and “You’re in My Heart,” were written and sung by Fatima. The two other songs which were written by Fr. Jerry and sung by her “Believe Like a Child” and (My Suffering Is) My Offering”, speaks about her and others like her with unwavering faith in God. Their work was awarded “The Most Inspiring Album” of 2007 by The Catholic Mass Media Awards.

In 2009, Fatima’s family decided to migrate to Union City USA.  To date, she continues to share her inspirations, through her songs and albums and her regular radio guesting on Fr. Jerry’s Saturday night radio program over DZMM of ABS-CBN Network, telling her audience “Habang may buhay may pag-asa. Her album “Journey to the Heart” is now available in selected record stores nationwide and in record selling websites. Fatima appeared in an MTV for an ABS-CBN Teleserye where she sang the theme song. She now also regularly appears on the daily noontime show of ABS-CBN “Happy Yipee Yehey”. She was guested and was interviewed by Boy Abunda for the Bottom Line (ABC-CBN) and News TV’s Tonight with Arnold Clavio. Fatima continues to appear on TV in her desire to share her message of unwavering HOPE.  She is currently working on her latest album to be released on her 18th birthday this coming June 2011.

( Source: