Body and soul cannot be separated for purposes of treatment, for they are one and indivisible.  Sick minds must be healed as well as sick bodies. 

~C. Jeff Miller


Ilocos Surian Association of Hawaii holds 2nd homecoming mission

HAWAII – Members and associates of the Ilocos Surian Association of Hawaii will return to their home province this December for their second homecoming medical, educational and cultural mission in selected towns of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.

“There’s no reason why the success of the 2005 medical homecoming mission cannot be repeated. The mission served the needy, and education and cultural programs were greatly appreciated by the people of Ilocos Sur, ” said former State Rep. Felipe “Jun” Abinsay, co-chair of the mission, even as he reported that in 2005, the ISAH homecoming mission served nearly 12,000 patients from almost the same number of places.

ISAH members will dispense during the mission over $225,000 worth of various medications and multivitamins that were donated by local, national, international pharmaceutical companies, physicians and other charitable organizations.

Last year, the Ilocos Surian royal court of Queen Elena Puesta, Letty Dalit, Teri Sagaysay, Zeny Sumibcay and Alice Castaneda, raised a substantial amount to help finance this year’s homecoming mission.

“It is always a noble deed and responsibility to help and the best place to start it is the place where one comes from. That way we help lift our townmates up,” ISAH president Danny Villaruz and co-chair of the two homecoming missions said.

ISAH vice president and committee on ways and means chair Carlito Soria said the volunteers paid for their own bus and plane fares, lodging and food expenses as they do not want to be a burden to the local government that will host the medical mission.

Aside from the medical mission, this year’s educational activities include scholarship competitive examinations for elementary and high schools of Ilocos Sur.

The first part is a written exam to determine the four teams that will compete in the final verbal competition.

The topics covered by the joust include sciences, math, language, spelling history and current events.

Dr. Charlie Sonido chairs this event with Dory Villafuerte and Charles Dean Sonido as co-chairs. Darrell Villaruz, who will fly all the way from Boston, is the quiz master.

On the cultural and entertainment side, ISAH will revive the Ilocos Sur Idol which generated 25 contestants from all over Ilocos Sur.

Ilocos Sur’s Got Talent, a Pinoy version of the hit TV program, America’s Got Talent, is a no-limit presentation of talent that can be anything from Bukanegan, (a form of poetry), magic or choral singing.

These non-medical mission activities are chaired by JP Orias, with Dr. Arnold Villafuerte and Christa Lei Sonido as co-chairs.

A chess tournament will be held in several towns. Charles Dean Sonido, State of Hawaii champion for two consecutive years, and Chona Sonido are chair and co-chair. Cash prizes and trophies will be awarded to winners.

Partnering with GILAS

ISAH is also exploring the possibility of entering into a partnership with GILAS, a Manila based organization, to connect all public high schools in the Philippines to the internet.

During their mission, ISAH leaders will meet with local school officials to discuss the feasibility of the project. This project is expected to especially benefit poorer, isolated schools. With internet connection, students and teachers will have access to unlimited information provided by the internet.

Mahalo to Participating Physicians

More than 40 physicians and other medical professionals from Honolulu, the mainland USA, Manila and the local government will cover the seven areas in this year’s medical mission which include Dr. Beth Lim-Abinsay, Pediatrician; Dr. Charlie Sonido, Internist, Co-Chair, Medical Mission, Homecoming Mission; Dr. Amy Jacang, Pediatrician; Dr. Perlita Lampitoc, Pediatrician; Dr. Ray Romero, Neurologist; Dr. Lynna Romero, Pediatrician; Dr. Edward Alquero, Family Practice; Dr. Arnold Villafuerte, Public Health; Dr. Remy Sonson, Gynecologist; and Dr. Wilfred Pacpaco, Anaesthesiologist.

They will be joined by doctors and medical students from the University of Sto. Tomas School of Medicine, courtesy of UST Titans, and local physicians and dentists.

Other medical professionals include nurses Emy Etrata, Maria Etrata, Fely Pula, and Stephanie Frando; and medical technologist-phlebotomist Rose Frando. Several midwives and paramedics will also join the mission.

“It is about treating needy people, befriending them, and being a part of their lives even if only for a few days every two years,” Dr. Charlie Sonido said.

Medical services to be offered this year include medical consultations and treatment, diabetes screening, eye check-up, minor surgical procedures, breast cancer screening, de-worming and health education.

Continuing Medical Education

Dr. Ray Romero, Dr. Edward Alquero, Dr. Charlie Sonido, in coordination with the University of Northern Philippines, College of Medicine and Ilocos Sur Primary Care physicians wil conduct a lecture for Philippine medical students and local physicians. Other specialists will be present during the panel discussion.

Beyond Ilocos Sur

In 2005, the homecoming mission visited Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte. This year, the mission will include Bacarra with the medical team splitting in two to cover both towns in one day.

Dr. Perlita Lampitoc, a Waipahu pediatrician who grew up in Bacarra, is joining the medical mission all the way from Ilocos Sur to her hometown.

“I have joined several medical missions before but I never had a chance to have one in Bacarra. This is one of the better chances to give back to my own community,” Lampitoc said.

Town Coordinators

A mission of this magnitude will never work without strong leaders for each town. Using their planning skills and their political influences in their respective towns are Beth and Jun Abinsay, Vigan City; Emmie and Danny Villaruz, Santa; Nelson Sonido, Cabugao; Rene and Maria Etrata, Rudy and Emy Etrata, Santiago; Erlinda Sonido, Banayoyo; Arnold and Dory Villafuerte; Kathy Adaoag, Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte; and Dr. Perlita Lampitoc, Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.

List of donors

This year’s major donors are Bayanihan Clinic Without Walls (BCWW); Cabugao Sons and Daughters of Hawaii; Chona Sonido, Hawaii Filipino Chronicle; Dr. Arnold and Dory Villafuerte, FMS Hawaii; Maria and Rene Etrata, Preferred Home and Community Based Services, Inc.; Emy and Rudy Etrata; Jimmy and Kathy Adaoag, JAEN Company; Salvador and Remy Aguinaldo, RN; Fely Pula, RN; Paulina Racadio; Dr. Araceli Asuncion; the Abinsay Family and other local town associations of Ilocos Sur.

Dr. Elizabeth Abinsay, president of BCWW and medical mission co-chair, said ISAH’s humanitarian mission is in line with BCWW’s goals.

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