Monday, 26 November 2012

FEATURE: Smiles for Guinobatan’s unfortunate children

 Book cover of Oropesa's newly-launched novel While Your Were Gone.

Michigan, USA

"WE ARE just a baby", says Rosalie P Oropesa, author of While You Were Gone,  a newly-published romance fiction now on sale online worldwide thru (available in the US, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and United kingdom).

It is also available at in the US, UK, European countries, Canada and Australia, and through and Barnes and Nobles (has limited sites online)

Rosalie and her husband Nestor, who both hailed from Guinobatan, Albay and settled in Los Angeles, California some years back, have something in common among  overseas Filipinos -- giving back to the community that has helped them succeed in life; they are a couple who have never stopped loving, remembering and caring for relatives, friends or even ordinary "kababayans" back home.

At one occasion on her day-off while watching a TV ad on
 cleft lip and cleft palate children of the Philippines, Oropesa was struck so hard by what she saw: it was a dagger-like feeling of sadness piercing into her heart; right there, she was devastated and teary-eyed. 

Nestor, Rosalie and their kid.
“I got so carried away with what I saw … smiles were not part of their lives since their coming to this world. Perhaps Our Almighty Lord guided me towards these children,” she recounted.

“Career in journalism attracted me so much … it's like constructing a castle out of nowhere and building and enriching it with things that provides inspiration for others to appreciate,” Rosalie continued. 

A graduate of Divine World College in Legaspi City, Albay, with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Commerce major in Economics, Oropesa was once a branch manager of Mercury Drug in Manila before migrating to the US with her husband.
Even with busy life schedules in America, Rosalie never stopped writing at home after work.

"Pang-alis ng stress at pagod pagkagaling sa trabaho (it takes away stress and day's hard work), she said with a smile.

The impact of foreign medical missions she saw on TV for children with cleft lips and palates in depressed areas in the Philippines motivated her to write a book to finance the charity endeavor.

"While You Were Gone" has sold no less than 1,000 plus copies mostly in North America today. Book signing schedules has been set in various places of the US and Canada later this and early next year.

The book sells online for US$14.99 plus shipping cost.

She said that 50% of its sales (royalties) will be donated to "Operation  Guinobatan cleft lip  and cleft palate children."(Local version: Tabang libre-operasyon, pagpaparahay sa dakulong pobrehongaking bingngot sagkod ngongo sa Guinobatan).

The couple told me that beginning next year they'll be receiving royalty payments from all these three major worldwide book distributors.

The couple's projection of a million purchase of the book will enable them extending this charity/mercy project the rest of the Bicol region.

"We will be flying home in the month of June-July, 2013 and see for ourselves how we can starts this humanitarian project rolling, depending on volume purchase I expect … so our fingers are crossed !!!,” Rosalie said with excitement.

Just recently, Bombo Radio Naga (Naga City, CamSur) had two live interviews with the couple direct from their Los Angeles, California home regarding this remarkable and innovative means of providing medical care for these children so that they'll have productive lives and better future.

Because of their birth defect, they were in isolation, socially disgraced, shamed or often abandoned at birth.

“Saving these children from where they are today is moral obligation for us all to support, let's help them the best we can," Oropesa told the media man on the other line.

For now, the husband-and-wife team said that their medical doctor-friends in the province of Albay are so eager in extending their free services.

However, this sort of procedure would require a multi-diciplinary group of experts who will work together to improve the child's ability to eat, communicate, breathe and even feel good about their looks.

Each patient's unique treatment plan may include surgery, orthodontics and hearing, speech and psychological therapies to restore them to optional function and appearance (taken from Shriners Hospital for Children - love to the rescue website).

The couple listed the following medical professionals whow will be initially assisting them for this project:

Dr Bobby Rivera - current director, Albay Provincial Hospital
Dr Dandy Garcia Gata - owner, Guinobatan General Hospital
Dr Fides Camba  -   resident doctor, Estevez Memorial Hospital (Legaspi City)
Dr Lina de los Reyes - member of the board  of Albay Provincial Hospital
TAGAS (Taga-Guinobatan Association of Southern California) fully supports this humanitarian project in their town.)

RECONSTRUCTIVE surgery for children born with facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate is a simple procedure and with today's current technology, it takes only as little as 45 minutes to do it and can cost US$250 toUS$450.00 per child. (At exchange rate of US$1 to P41.00 it would be P10,250 to  P18,451).

Each year, 4,500 Filipino babies are born with cleft lips and palates about 180,000 of these children needs medical care. This surgery gives hope and a new beginning to children who otherwise will be living in shame and isolation.

Cleft palate surgery is the more expensive one to do as this is a through repair from the lip up to the nostrils.

What is cleft lip?
A cleft lip is a congenital anomaly that presents as cleft on the lip that results from a failure of one or both sides of the upper lip to fuse. The cleft lip maybe unilateral or bilateral and can range from a slight notch to a complete cleft extending up to and into the nose.

What is cleft palate?
A cleft palate is a congenital anomaly that presents as cleft on the palate or roof of the mouth that results from a failure of one or both sides of the roof of the mouth to fuse. The cleft palate could be partial or complete, extending up to the soft palate and front part of the upper gum.

Cleft lip and cleft palate may be present concomitantly. Oral cleft is an encompassing for clefts in the oral cavity. It includes both cleft lip and cleft palate.

What are the more common types of cleft lip and cleft palate?

Clift lip may be complete or incomplete. It may be unilateral or bilateral. Clift palate may be complete or incomplete.

What are the common causes of cleft lip and palate?

Cleft lip and palate are congenital anomalies that result basically from a genetic defect. The causes of the genetic defect are hypothesized to be environment and nutrition related. The exact genetic defect and exact mechanisms causing the defect are NOT yet known.

How do oral clefts affect the health of the children?

Oral clefts affect the biopsychosocial well-being of the children. A cleft lip may cause feeding and or speech/language problems if they are not treated.

Cleft palate primarily impacts speech development. If surgical repair is not performed early enough, a child with cleft palate may have difficulty with proper pronunciation and articulation. Cleft palate can also cause dental and middle ear problems.

Each year, foreign medical missions come to the Philippines to do free reconstructive surgeries on indigent patients.

Initiated by foreigners through missions, they normally ask donors to donate starting at US$250 for them to continue doing these charity works to our people. Groups like Operation Smile, Operation Hope, Operation Rainbow and Operation Smile Train are performing about 2,000 operations per year.

Manila's Department Of Surgery of Ospital Ng Maynila Medical Center (OMMC) do outreach mission as well within the metropolitan Manila.
(Medical details/information courtesy of  websites: Free cleft surgery for 400 Filipino children - Global giving, Shriners Hospitals for children, Love to the rescue, Operation Smile Medical Missions, Operation Hope, Operation  Rainbow, Operation Smile Train, Department of surgery, Ospital Ng Maynila Medical Center (OMMC), Murray JC et al clinical and epidemiological studies on cleft lip and palate in the Philippines, cleft palate craniofac J. 1997, 34: 7: 11, Cleft lip and palate problem in the Philippines - an overview and proposed solution by: Reynaldo O Joson, MD, MHA, MHDEd, MS SURG. June 

"Full realization of this mercy project will depend entirely on funds. We will  accumulate from book sales and some generous donations from friends LIKE YOU, please support our cause and let's make their lifetime of suffering, pain of isolation, shame, and being without friends come to an end. Let’s give them a chance to go to school, play or simply talk and SMILE as normal people like us."

Please support this funds-raising humanitarian project through your book purchase of "While You Were Gone".

“Maraming maraming salamat po sa inyong pagtangkilik at supporta sa pangalan po ng ating mga kabataang naging kapus-palad na mga bingingot at ngongo,” says Oropesa.

 About the author of the book While You Were Gone:

Rosalie Paclibar-Oropesa is married to Nestor O Oropesa, who hails from Guinobatan, Albay. Rosalie graduated with a degree in Bachelor in Science in Commerce major in Economics from Divine World College in Legaspi City, Albay.

Nestor earned a degree in Agriculture at Bicol University, in Guinobatan, Albay.

They are blessed with three children: Cherry, Lovelie Ness and Neil Justin; son-in-law Joselito Sonora Crisostomo and an adorable granddaughter Carrie Ystelle.

Cherry, the eldest works at Concentrix - a Synex Corporation subsidiary, with head office based in Fremont, California; Lovie Ness, is a nurse at Shinagawa Aesthetics Philippines (a Japanese firm) and Neil Justin, a budding artist-designer.

Joselito is a bank manager at China Banking Corporation based in Davao City. He is a nephew of Philippines movie icon Ms. Susan Roces-Poe.

Oropesa's medical inclinations were accomplished when she worked at Mercury Drug Corporation, trained and studied as Pharmacy Technician, which later in the US passed the board examination in National Pharmacy Technician board with flying colors without even taking the formal course.

She studied CNA and CHHA at Preferred College of Nursing in Los Angeles, California and was awarded best in nursing skills.

To contact Rosalie P Oropesa or Rosalie-Nestor Paclibar-Oropesa, go to their FACEBOOK account, BOOK Wizards Fans Club page or send email @ or .

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