Felicidad Sy means wellness
FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) - October 31, 2013 - 12:00am

How blessed Felicidad Sy is. Her family, the SM Foundation, Inc.,  and the many Sy family  corporations have been putting up wellness centers and wards  in hospitals in her honor. Eighty centers have been added to hospital facilities across the country to enable them to expand their services to children, the elderly, and families. This column  names  some of these centers; but it hastens to add  that in SM malls, there are churches and chapels named to honor the family matriarch, Felicidad Sy, wife of business icon Henry Sy, and mother of best entrepreneur Tessie Sy Coson.

One of the latest of these is the  Outpatient department of the 16-year-old Air Force City Hospital in Clark Air Base, the 76th health and wellness project of the retail giant’s  foundation.  The newly refurbished OPD contains a children’s play center, air-conditioned consulting and treatment rooms,  rooms for EENT and minor surgeries,  and plasma TVs for the beneficiaries and the hospital staff.  Air Force of the Philippines MGen. Ricardo Banayat said at the blessing rites that the OPD will benefit seven out of 31 major units of the PAF, almost a third of which are at Clark Air Base.  Present at the inauguration were SM Foundation executive director for health and wellness television public service icon Connie Angeles, former Senator and Health  Secretary Juan Flavier, and families of soldiers. The deed of donation to the hospital was signed by Angeles  and BGen. Eldon Luis Nemenzo, Wing Commander 600 Air Base. The donation followed a series of medical-dental missions conducted by SM Foundation in the Air Force City, which houses 500 soldier families.

This project is actually the fifth improved facility of SM Foundation Inc. dedicated to the AFP, which began with  the rehabilitation of Villamor Air Base, followed by the two wings of V. Luna AFP General Hospital in its heroes ward and orthopedic rehabilitation ward.  To be inaugurated on December 14 is the Air Force Hospital in Lipa, Batangas. This donation will  give meaning to the public-private partnership program of the Aquino administration, says Angeles.

Following the donation to the AFP hospital’s OPD ward is the inauguration and turn over of the OPD  of the Camp Aguinaldo Station Hospital to Col. Eduardo M. Flores (GSC) by SM Foundation. A Felicidad Activity Center for children of military personnel awaiting consultation was included in the donation. The station Hospital started as a medical detachment in 1945, transformed into a medical dispensary in 1947, and in 1995, upgraded into a primary station hospital. The hospital serves patients composed of military personnel and their dependents.

In the south,  SM Foundation, in collaboration with BDO foundation, renovated the Tagum City (Davao)   Main Health Center.  It is the ninth health center adopted by SM Foundation, and the 79th Felicidad T. Sy Wellness Center.

Like  all the SM Foundation-adopted centers, this one in Tagum  was renovated, repainted, refurbished, provided with medical equipment and necessary supplies The medical personnel undergo periodic training with assistance from the Department of Health to keep them abreast of the latest development in the medical field. SM Foundation shoulders the maintenance and upkeep of the heath center.      

To further bolster private-public partnership in the improvement of public hospital services, a new Felicidad Sy  Ward, dubbed “People’s Ward,” was inaugurated at the Tondo Medical Center. The newly renovated and refurbished wing  of the 200-bed hospital in Balut, Tondo, presently  operated by DOH, is the first Felicidad Sy wellness Center to have a family health care center in response to Health Secretary Enrique  Ona’s call for “Kalugusan Pangkahalatan.”

According to SM Foundation’s Connie Angeles, the Tondo  project is the 80th  Felicidad Sy Center to be turned over to the government. It is also the first to use anti-bacterial tiles. These are tiles with an antimicrobial surface that inhibits or reduces the ability of microorganism to grow   on the surface of a material. Each pediatric room in the ward boasts of play cabinets with books and toys.  The foundation will also undertake the maintenance of the People’s Ward.

In addition to heath and  wellness centers, FM Foundation is also into constructing school buildings,  a concern that helps answer the need for more learning facilities for children, particularly in the rural areas.  Recently, the foundation’s 53rd school building was recently turned over to the Liciada Elementary school in Barangay  Liciada, Bustos, Bulacan. It is a one-storey-two classroom building equipped with armchairs, blackboard, teacher’s desks and toilet facilities. The foundation has donated  130 such classrooms.

It is not only Felicidad Sy who is blessed by the caring attitude of her family; thousands of beneficiaries are blessed in turn.

*          *          *

 I am in my hometown, Gingoog City,  at present, to visit my father’s grave on all Saints  Day. I have been reading accounts of well-known columnists on near-death-experiences, if not encounters with the third kind.  Let me share an experience of the children of family friends with respect to  their “contact” with my deceased father.

In the 1960s, my mother travelled from our hometown in Misamis Oriental to attend a church-related activity at the Church among  the Palms inside the UP Los Baños campus. She stayed with her close friends  — the family of the church pastor. A few hours after she left the place (the activity ended the day before), the children of our family friend were taking a snack in the kitchen. A man came up the stairs, and asked, “Where is she?”

The children didn’t know him, but they figured out he was looking for my mother. “Oh, she left already, Sir.” The man nodded and smiled. One of the kids offered him a glass of fruit juice, which he drank. He bade them goodbye,  and left.

That evening, when the family was saying its evening prayers in the living room, one of the kids said a man had come that morning asking  for my mother. “Who could that be,” asked Mrs. O.  She looked at her husband, then, picked up a picture album from a corner of the living room. She turned the pages, then stopped at the family portrait of my family.  I was in the picture, looking so sweet and demure and innocent, yes. “Is he the one you saw this morning? “ she asked. “Yes Ma,” the four kids said as if in a chorus. The one of them said, “In fact, he was wearing the same barong he’s wearing in this picture.”  The couple looked at each other. The kids sensed something strange. “Why, what’s wrong, Ma?” Their mother said, “This is Mr. T. He died five years ago.”  The children screamed and embraced their parents.  What followed was the whole family praying together.

Was it my father whom the children had an encounter with?

One can not tell. Perhaps it was.

When I arrived from graduate studies abroad, I visited the family in LB. They told me the story. Then they gave me the glass my father drank juice from.

I tell you that night I could not sleep. I was scared. 

Many years later, I wished my father would show himself to me.  I so wanted to tell him I loved him. He has not come. But he knows I love him.

*  *  *

My email:dominitorrevillas@gmail.com


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