True love never dies, it lives on in the people who believe in it.

Rowden and Leizl planned their wedding date  on July 8, 2014, Rowden’s 30th birthday. Together with their adorable 2-year-old daughter, they already had a perfect family and a wedding was just needed to seal their future. Alas, the date had to be moved at an earlier date.

In the youtube channel of Chef Hasset Go,  he explained that “Rowden got diagnosed with stage IV liver cancer in late May. His last request was to marry his one true love. After 12hours of preparations, his dream was fulfilled. Unable to take him outside the hospital, we brought the church to him. It was like a heartbreaking fairytale.”

Rowden Go Pangcoga

The wedding took place in the Philippine General Hospital with close friends and relatives. As I watched the video, I was hopeful.

wedding that will touch you

But Rowden Go Pangcoga, who was only 29-years-old, passed away on June 11, 2014, less than 10 hours after their wedding. He is survived by his wife Leizel May, daughter Zakiah Rowzel, mother Lorelei, and brothers Hasset & Hisham.

As I watched the video the second time, the tears could not stop falling. I did not cry when I first saw the video because I was not aware that he would die that soon. Even though cancer struck two of my family members , I can only imagine the pain of his family. There is always hope even when others have given up.

When the reality hits , I can only offer this same prayer that I offered to my brother.

God saw you getting tired,
And a cure was not to be,
So He put his arms around you,
And whispered “Come to Me”
With tearful eyes we watched you suffer,
And saw you fall away.
Although we couldn’t bear to lose you,
We could not ask you to stay.
A golden heart stopped beating,
Hardworking hands laid to rest.
God broke our hearts to prove to us,
That He only takes the best.

Then I know that love never dies.

love never dies

Screencaps from Hasset Go Youtube channel. Some rights reserved.

by The Mad Hatter originally posted at 5 Ways to make dad happy on Father’s Day

Father’s Day is fast approaching—that one day of the year where we get to celebrate our dads for what they truly are—our best friends, our heroes.


Dads, they say, are a daughter’s first love, and a son’s first hero, and I couldn’t agree more. When we were little, our dads were the ones who picked us up, carried us over their shoulders, cooked us pancakes on weekends, and helped us get through a horror movie.

But now we rarely spend time with them anymore because we’ve “grown up,” leading our own busy lives. Let’s grab this year’s Father’s Day though as a chance to make up for lost time, and to make them feel how much our dads truly mean to us.


Here are a couple of ideas to inspire you to make this year’s Father’s Day a blast for the best guy in your life.

1. Call for a special take-out. You know how he is always raving about those ribs at this particular place but he couldn’t get them because the place is out of his way? Well, why not surprise him by calling for a quick delivery so he can have an amazing meal with his favorite guilty pleasure? Maybe for this one day, he doesn’t need to watch his cholesterol, and maybe Mom will not be too hard on him. And while you’re at it, why not enjoy a few beers with him?

2. Let him have full control of the TV. You know how you always fight about what show to watch–he wants to catch his favorite game while you want to see what’s going on with Project Runway. Well now you should just stop fighting over who gets to see what and let him have full control of the TV. After all, you can always watch your episodes online, and he will definitely appreciate you for being a good sport.

3. Spend the entire afternoon with him. How about not making plans this weekend and just spend a relaxed day at home with your old man? Watch your recent DVD purchases or maybe cook for him, or maybe just catch up over coffee? He might not tell you enough, but truth is that he misses you so much. When you were little, you spent a lot of time together but as you got older, you spend less and less time with him and more and more with your friends. So mark your calendar and make Sunday “Dad’s Day.”

4. Buy him something nice like cufflinks or a new shirt. Parents love it when you spend your hard-earned money for them because it makes them feel special to you. Wouldn’t it be nice to save a little of this month’s pay for a little gift to remind Dad that he is still part of your life?

5. Take him out to dinner. Plan a surprise dinner with the entire family to celebrate the occasion. At this day and age where everyone is always busy with something, Dad will surely appreciate the effort of bringing everyone together for a nice family dinner.

*“Daddy Daughter” by lucianvenutian, “Big Daddy” by Theen Moy courtesy of Flickr. Published under Creative Commons.

Ang sarap talaga maging Pilipino. Masarap ang kainan . Masarap ang tawanan. Masarap ang kantahan. Masarap ang mahalan .

What do foreigners see about our Filipino culture that we take for granted? I watched this video on Bakit pati ibang tao, napapamahal sa Pilipinas? which features foreigners living in the Philippines, sharing their observations on Filipinos and our culture. The video touched me so much that I found myself welling up in tears…out of love of country.

Anna Rabstun-Baylosis is one of the foreigners in the video. She is a Russian, married to a Filipino with two children. She has been living in the country for two years now and proudly embraced the Filipino culture so much that she not only speaks and understands Tagalog quite fluently, she also sings in Tagalog. In the video, she lovingly reminisce about the 500 pesos worth of phone cards that her husband spent to call her daily. “He did not just buy phone cards…he really took care of me”, Anna adds. It must be our sense of humor, our wonderful culture and the colorful heritage. Anna adds that “It’s so personal here in the Philippines. There is no handshake, there is kissing and hugging.”

anna rabtsun baylosis

A few weeks ago, I was seated next to Henry, an American expat who gushed to me how much he loved Kare-kare. adobo and the karoake singing. I thought he was just being polite. See how much I take things for granted. I was surprised when he stood up to sing “Ikaw Na” that I recorded it below.

Wow, he sang with gusto! IKAW NA, Henry!

Almost everyone in the Philippines loves to sing. It is one great way to relax and for others a way to cope during tough times.

me and the Philippine flag

As a citizen advocate, I often see some criticisms online that focuses on the negative side of the Filipino value system. There is the ambivalence of the “bahala na” mentality but it can actually have two sides. This Filipino attitude could be the root of the positive value of risk taking, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility.”

A people’s will to take chances and risks, no matter what difficulties and problems the future entails, is necessary for a nation’s growth and destiny. Bahala na could be a genuine faith and trust in Divine Providence that also presupposes a self-reliance (pagsasarili) that took the form of People Power in the EDSA revolution. Bahala na was a positive and nationalistic virtue for Jose Rizal, who believed that Filipinos could no longer rely on the Spaniards, but only on themselves and on God.

That is the positive way of looking at the “Bahala Na”. “When negative bahala na prevails, nothing ever gets done. Potholed roads, uncollected garbage, countless unsolved murders, carnaping and smuggling remain year after year. How many have ever been arrested, convicted or jailed for wanton murder or for notorious graft and corruption?”

june 12 2014 OUCHPiNoy

There is so much goodness in the Filipino values and traits that I want to work with that. Positive traits speed up progress. I believe we should all step up and and ask ourselves , what can I do for my country? We are all doing our part and beyond our duty as citizens of this beloved country through our advocacies. Consistent, committed courageous people have changed the world as Mae Paner, my fellow advocate says.

Shall we?

Bukas ay Araw ng Kalayaan, ipagmamalaki natin kung bakit ang sarap maging Pilipino.

sarap maging pilipino

I still remember those sleepless nights filled with anxiety whenever one of my kids fell ill. This particular child was often sick every month. Driving to the Emergency room at least once a month was routine already.

sick kid in hospital

Getting hospitalized is another thing. On one occasion, my toddler got struck with broncho-pneumonia which I knew to be deadly even during those days. Fortunately she got well and we were so grateful to the doctors and the hospital. Though we were happy at her recovery, the bill of 25,000 pesos in 1989 was more than our monthly income. Borrowing money from relatives was our only option to pay the hospital.

sick kid in hospital 1

My husband was not yet a lawyer and our source of income was his part time job. To give you perspective, he was only earning 5,000 a month while I had a monthly income of at least 2,000. I resolved to get coverage from a Health Maintenance organization (HMO) for the family instead of a college plan. It’s been over 25 years now and it has served us well.

QualiMed queue

Not everyone has an HMO plan unless one gets these benefits from an employer. I am always in the lookout for an affordable HMO. Twenty five years later, my HMO is charging me 15,000 pesos a quarter. I guess as one gets older, the premium gets higher.

Enter QualiMed, offering affordable healthcare services for all. It is not a full-pledged HMO at this point but it can tie up with your HMO.

qualiMed affordable health care

When I received the mommy blogger invite, I was impressed that QualiMed is a network of healthcare facilities owned and operated by Mercado General Hospital, Inc. (MGHI) in partnership with Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI). Dr. Edwin Mercado, is a close friend of my brother-in-law, a surgeon and my sister, a dermatologist. Even before QualiMed, Dr. Mercado was already serving affordable health care in their hospital in Tanuan, Batangas. I can tell you with confidence that you are in good hands with QualiMed only because I know the doctors behind this.

qualimed edwin mendoza

The first question that comes to mind is …Eh Ayala kayo, di mahal kayo? . I guess that is the first impression but what comes to my mind is quality service. There is a promise of “Integrated care delivery with strong focus on primary care”. With “Alagang Abot-Kaya” as brand promise, the healthcare facilities are intended to cater to the needs of the broad C market. QualiMed Health Network is devoted to fulfilling a commitment to 3As – Accessibility (ease of financial and physical access), Affordability (price predictability and competitiveness), and Appropriateness (quality service and genuine care).

qualiMed event

Mommy bloggers got to tour the main QualiMed healthcare facility along Taft Avenue (formerly University Physicians Medical Center) which has the capabilities and services ranging from a multi-specialty medical clinic, an ambulatory or day surgery center, to a full-service general hospital. It is quite impressive.

ct scan

Lorna Lardizabal-Dietz , my balikbayan sister already used the laboratory facilities in the main clinic along Taft Avenue in her two visits to the country. She says “state-of-the-arts services with great customer service and affordable rates.” As a happy customer , she availed of these services: CT scan, mammography, 2D echo, opthalmology exam, complete laboratory workup, colonoscopy, EKG and visited endocrinologist for her diabetes. I am planning to use their digital mammography service since they have a promo price of 999 pesos till mid-June. Dr. Mercado told me that this is less painful than the usual mammography.


Each hospital or clinic under QualiMed is strategically located in mixed-use developments that have commercial, office, and residential areas, making QualiMed services physically accessible to all.

There are plans to develop an HMO plan starting at 250 to 300 a month which I believe is affordable. PhilHealth only pays for hospital benefits. The key to good health is preventive health care. Filipinos need this accessibility . QualiMed’s advocacy of providing affordable healthcare services for all, is attained by a well-established procurement system and operational efficiencies. Every Filipino – regardless of socioeconomic status – deserves access to quality healthcare whenever and wherever a need arises. Prices are 30-40% lower than the market.

chest x ray

I am confident that the QualiMed healthcare services are provided by a competent medical team. My sister who practices dermatology has clinic here too. Dr. Mercado told me doctors are governed by clinical practice guidelines, duly credentialed by MGHI’s Office for Quality and Safety, and evaluated using performance metrics focused on output and patient outcomes.

laboratory at qualiMed

Because of these, patients can expect to receive only the appropriate procedures and diagnostics corresponding to what they actually need. Here are the rates at their Trinoma Health clinic . Just click image to view the bigger file.

TriNoma Services Price List for Doctors_front

TriNoma Services Price List for Doctors_back
Click image for a bigger file

The health network’s operational facilities are QualiMed Manila (Taft Avenue, Manila), Daniel O. Mercado Medical Center (Tanauan, Batangas), and QualiMed Clinic in TriNoma (North Avenue, Quezon City). More facilities will open in various locations around the country. These are QualiMed Clinic in Fairview Terraces in Novaliches, Quezon City (opening in 3Q 2014), QualiMed Hospital in Sta. Rosa, Laguna (opening in 4Q 2015), QualiMed Hospital in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan (opening in 4Q 2015) and QualiMed Hospital in Iloilo (opening in 3Q 2014). QualiMed Hospital in Iloilo is a women and children’s center. You can visit their facebook page at or twitter and instagram account : @QualiMedPH.

More about QualiMed

MGHI is the parent company behind QualiMed Manila (formerly University Physicians Medical Center), the only advanced multi-specialty outpatient diagnostic and surgical center in Taft Avenue, Manila. MGHI also owns and operates the Daniel O. Mercado Medical Center (DMMC), a tertiary hospital in Tanauan, Batangas, recognized as a Center of Excellence by PhilHealth. MGHI also founded the DMMC Institute of Health Sciences (DMMC-IHS), a tertiary healthcare education institution, which also houses the Newborn Screening Reference Center for Southern Luzon.

ALI is the real estate arm of Ayala Corporation, one of the largest and most respected business houses in the Philippines. With its promise of “Enhancing Land, Enriching Lives for More People”, Ayala Land has a legacy of building large-scale, fully-integrated, mixed use communities that are sustainable and increase in value over time. Ayala Land’s product lines range from residential, malls, offices, hotels and resorts to new product lines such as convenience stores, supermarkets, and department stores.

ALI’s partnership with MGHI is its first healthcare venture. This would further complete and enhance the experience in ALI’s mixed-use communities. You can visit their facebook page at or twitter and instagram account : @QualiMedPH.