Service to humanity
JAYWALKER - Art Borjal () - June 7, 2002 - 12:00am
Another example of both Filipino excellence and Filipino public service is the Eye Bank Foundation of the Philippines-Santa Lucia International Eye Bank of Manila (EBF-SLIEBM or "Eye Bank"). It was established in 1995 by Dr. Ma. Dominga "Minguita" Padilla. Eye Bank has been recognized with international and domestic awards as providing highest quality tissue. The corneas that are transplanted in the poorest person in the Philippines are equal or better than those available anywhere in the world!

Eye Bank, a non-profit organization, has supplied tissue for corneal transplantation to ophthalmologists all over the Philippines. The tissue itself is provided without charge to all patients. Patients who can pay are charged only for the expenses of processing and testing. Corneal tissue is provided free-of-charge for charity patients.

In 1999, Dra. Padilla established the Eye Bank Surgical Fund, which enables indigent patients to receive corneal transplants totally free of charge, including hospital and physician charges.

Dr. Padilla and more than a dozen physicians, all unpaid, provide professional supervision of Eye Bank, while other physicians donate their time and skill in performing the surgery on indigent patients. Many airlines and shipping companies, all names that one would recognize immediately, regularly provide free transportation of the tissue for transplant and other businesses support the Eye Bank Surgical Fund. These are Filipino businesses and individuals quietly helping fellow Filipinos.

But even with the most committed workers, the most skilled surgeons and the most supportive businesses, the one indispensable element is the donated cornea and eye tissue that can only come from ordinary people like us. You can reach Eye Bank Foundation of the Philippines-Santa Lucia International Eye Bank of Manila at P.O. Box 3304, Makati Central Post Office, 1273 Makati City or (02) 893 5995. Or one can visit their website at or e-mail them

If anyone criticizes Filipino commitment to excellence or social responsibility, tell them about Eye Bank.
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Here is an inspirational story that came from Tony Lapid:

He almost didn’t see the old lady, stranded on the side of the road. But even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her. Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so....was he going to hurt her?

He did not look safe, he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill which only fear can put in you. He said, "I’m here to help you ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it is warm? By the way, my name is Bryan."

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him.

She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She could not thank him enough for coming to her aid. Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. She asked him how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped.

Bryan never thought twice about the money. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added, "... and think of me."

He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight. A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The cash register was like the telephone of an out-of-work actor-it didn’t ring much.

Her waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan.

After the lady finished her meal, and the waitress went to get change for her hundred-dollar bill, the lady slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be, then she noticed something written on the napkin under which was four $100 bills. There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: "You don’t owe me anything, I have been there too.

Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you."

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day.

That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard.

She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, "Everything’s going to be all right; I love you, Bryan." There is an old saying "What goes around comes around." Today, I sent you this story, and I’m asking you to pass it on. Let this light shine.
* * *
Thoughts For Today:

Maybe God wanted us to meet the wrong people
before meeting the right ones,
so that when we finally meet them
we will know how to be grateful for the gift.
* * *
There are moments in life
when you miss someone so
much that you just want
to pick them from your dreams
and hug them for real.

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