Sunday, Sep 20

Starting the New Year by relearning the essence of time

January 07, 2018 | Grace Limbher Daigdigan

Long term beneficiaries perform a sign language of the song “Happy Face”. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】

Story Highlights

  • On the first Charity Day of the year, long term beneficiaries gather to discuss the importance of time management.

  • In observance of the Earth Ethical Eating Day, long-term beneficiaries are encouraged to take the pledge to eat only vegetarian meals on January 11, 2018.

  • Long-term beneficiaries help in spreading of the advocacy of recycling in their respective communities.

  • Aside from the monthly relief aids, the event also offered free haircut and free medical services namely, Tui-na, Acupuncture, Origin Point Therapy, and free consultations.


Time is something that no one can ever control. It has its own mind and judgment. People can never win from it. However, knowing one’s responsibility and priority it is not impossible for an individual to manage it well.

On the first Charity Day of 2018, as they face a new year, Tzu Chi Foundation equips its Long-Term Care beneficiaries with knowledge on how they can maximize the time given to them.

Long term beneficiaries are all ears, jotting down notes as Mr. Rene Addatu conducts a lecture about time management. He is known to be a motivational speaker of across ages and a businessman working in a water and environmental engineering company.

After the lecture, long term beneficiaries reflected upon their life decisions and engagements, if they are being productive and efficient.

Dan Jeric Tan, 24, has been fully devoted to taking care of her sister April Sunday, a long-term beneficiary with cerebral palsy. This has been his language of love since their father passed away.

Dan has to do all the nursing as his mother’s presence is inconsistent due to work, while his four other siblings are busy with their respective families or studies.

“I allot my time to my sister so that I can take care of her every minute and every second because there are times that she gets sick,” shares Tan.

“I can promise her that I will be here to support and take care of her because I love her, besides we only have each other. As a man, she is my responsibility,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Lazarina Villahermosa, recently lost her son, Jack, who was diagnosed with encephalitis. Instead of wallow in grief, she is making arrangements for Jack's burial. Tzu Chi extended cash assistance to help with the burial expenses.

"Even if my son has departed, I can't afford to lose so much time in grieving. Life must go on, now that I still have a dependent who is studying I have to be strong and work hard to improve our lives," Villahermosa says.

As the program is about to end, volunteers take the opportunity to promote the Earth Ethical Eating Day. This advocacy was started by Tzu Chi’s USA chapter in 2015. Since then, it has been an annual event across the world where there are Tzu Chi offices. It aims to get the public to eat only vegetable meals on January 11 every year.

Husband of long term beneficiary Benito Tamares takes the pledge and shares his reason for doing so. “[According to the Ten Precepts] You must not kill, you can’t take away lives. Like what most people believe in, by eating vegetable you can prolong life that’s why I make it a habit.”

Tzu Chi volunteer Ting Ting Pua hopes for this campaign to reach more audience. “I hope we can spread this advocacy in all parts of the world, by doing so we are also helping [to save] the world.”


Giving back

Charity Days have become an opportunity for long-term beneficiaries to give back by donating sacks of recyclables to Tzu Chi.

Leonara Presentacion, who came all the way from Makati, brought sacks of recyclables via taxi. She had to pay Php150 for the fare from their home to Tzu Chi Foundation’s office but it’s a small price compared to how Tzu Chi has been helping her family.

It was her habit to collect recyclables and sell it to junk shops. But when she crossed paths with Tzu Chi, she decided to donate the materials instead as her way of showing gratitude for the medical assistance granted to her daughter, Rica Mae, who is suffering from Congenital Heart Disease.

“Every month we pledge to bring recyclables that reaches four to seven sacks. Through recycling we can help in saving the environment. Also, these recyclables can be turned into materials that can be useful in our everyday lives,” shares Presentacion.

Lazarina Villahermoso is also thankful for the assistance that was given to her late son, Jack. In return, she advocates for recycling in their home and in their community.

Aside from that, she continues to lend a helping hand despite her loss. “I am willing to help others because I believe that once you are able to receive a blessing you must also share it with others.”

Despite her busy schedule, Tzu Chi volunteer Ting Ting Pua also practices recycling at home and donates it to the foundation.

Seeing aid beneficiaries take up recycling as their own mission whenever they go for a home visit, makes her happy.

“There is a lot of benefits from recycling. We can reduce the number of illnesses that we might get. We have to be more conscious about the state of our environment. If not, we will be the ones who’ll suffer,” shares Tzu Chi volunteer Pua.

  • The Presentacion family unload sacks of recyclables intended for donation. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】

  • During the first Charity Day of 2018, Tzu Chi volunteer Manny Go underscores in his opening remarks the importance of starting the year right by reflecting on the teachings of Master Cheng Yen. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】

  • Tzu Chi volunteer Ting Ting Pua assists long term beneficiaries in the registration booth. She sets aside time to attend every Charity Day, believing that in this little way she can set a good example in the society. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】

  • Apart from gaining spiritual values from Master Cheng Yen, Charity Day is also a time for long term beneficiaries to receive their monthly relief such as cash allowance, medicine and sack/s of rice. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】

  • Mark Levy Madolid, 21, shares his gratitude to Tzu Chi Foundation for helping him slowly recover from the abnormal buildup of blood vessels under the surface of his skin, a condition called Sclerosy Hemangioma. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】

  • Dan Jeric Tan (left) with her sister, April Sunday (right), listen attentively during the Master’s Talk. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】

  • Lazarina Villahermosa puts her palms together as she prays for the soul of her son, Jack. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】

  • Tzu Chi volunteer Jimmy Chua expresses his thankfulness to all the long term beneficiaries who attended the charity day. Also, gave some important reminders for the next charity day on February. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】