2008 Medical Mission in Imugan, Nueva Viscaya, Philippines

In February 2008, some of the members from the Philippine Nurses Association of Oregon & Washington chapter traveled to Imugan, Nueva Viscaya in the Philippines to perform a medical mission.

It was quite an experience trying to have everybody together as we all went home on a different days. January 31st the group met in Manila and headed to Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija to prepare for the Medical Missions.

We stayed at the resort of Drs. Ronald and Flor Esteban, whom both helped us with the mission. We did some sorting of things we will be bringing and plan on how we were all going to fit in 2 cars, w/c we end up taking 3 cars because of the rice, can foods, soap and other medical supplies we have to bring.

We were all excited and quite nervous as Emily Rice told us that we will be going to the mountain but of course, for our adopted American member, Melody was all fun and surprising. We all relaxed for a day, Olive and Melody went swimming, our host prepared of native dishes…danggit on of it and believe it or not, Melody’s favorite and she also eat bagoong.

The next day, start of our adventure, we have one of the cars that have all the rice, and some of our luggage’s, we have 2 helpers Pearly and Salvacion, the 2 cars the rest of the team. Heading down was a ride to remember. If anyone have been to Hearst Castle through Big Sur via Highway 101, that was a similar view. Difference is, the 101 wider roads, and to Viscaya  narrow and steep and if other cars coming from opposite direction…well, mountains looked more treacherous and VERY steep,  and of course Nida Agustin afraid of heights, well, Letty Tadeo  had to divert her  attention, ohh, not to forget, Joy Bisquera same way and believe it or not,  2 years ago, we went to Baquio and both of them were afraid to look out, and because of the mission they were with us again, for the good cause, it didn’t matter to them but pretty sure their hearts probably pounding, we’re proud of them.

We arrived at the town and met the mayor, Emily, the Mclor. We had lunch in one of the restaurant, wonderful food and of course the view is priceless. Going to Imugan, wow what an experience, challenging, it was an undeveloped town, rough road, going up to the mountain and I thought our cars will never make it. We arrive there sundown, and greeted by the wonderful people. Pastor Rice prepared a feast and program.

It was amazing, the wonderful hospitality, the welcome, every person we saw were nice, even though they were busy preparing. We had of course all native food red rice, wild hog, lechon, vegetables that were harvested at the mountain, fish, ohh, we were stuffed.

The program was one of the highlight, even the mayor danced, the host’s daughter Tiny, there were little kids who participated, the doctors, Larry, Materna. What a fun night, and we were fortunate to bless by dear Pastor Rice. Then we were also able to meet pastor’s fragile wife, we thanked them for the wonderful work they do for Imugan and seeing how they makes difference to peoples life, was very encouraging, the medical mission we do is quite simple compare to what they offer, they move to Imugan.

The night ended and we were escorted to our sleeping quarters. But, we still have things to do; we prepared medications and did the plan for the main event. We all helped and were excited for the next day. Some of us had to take a shower at night, there’s only one bathroom and 15 of us. Just imagine in the states we have 2-3 bathrooms in our house or even more. Made us count our blessings. The night quite long when you hear the crickets and wonder what was out there. I’d just had a thought that, if we have Fred there with us we, probably won’t be able to sleep, he will keep us all awake… Go figure.

The main event came early morning. During breakfast we had treated some people then we found out there were people who travelled for 2 hrs.  We started our mission and served nearly 200 families. The patients were pre–screened and some of us did the blood pressure and noticed lots of high blood pressure.

We came to a conclusion that the high blood pressure was due to their diet, the elevation and lack of medical resources.  There were lot of complaints from back a joint aches; this was due to from carrying all heavy stuff as everything done manually.

Complaints of ear ache, sore eyes, which seems to be some allergy going around as they were surrounded by trees and high altitude contributes to the ear ache. There were symptoms of urinary tract infections.  Due to the cold climate the people here did not drink water as they should.

We have Dr Ronald and Dr Flor see patient according to their needs. The Ilocano speaking nurses except for Myrna but Emily interpret, Madonna, Olive, Letty led the assessments first and they routed them to either see the doctor or if nothing going on with  health issues, then will get their sack of goodies, the rice, can  food, noodles, toothbrush, toothpaste and some candies, soap, some school supplies, w/c were distributed by the help of Nida, Joy, Melody, Verda-Materna’s, and Materna.

The people are so hungry for medical needs, the education which Myrna Serrano was able to provide also as Emily did interpret, and they were so appreciative, so grateful for the little help we were able to contribute. The mission went smooth with everybody’s effort.

The PNAOW members worked well as a team. We are looking forward to more missions in different part of the Philippines. Some of our members were not there but contributed during the fundraising. We thank our PNAOW President Lucy Laeser and her husband Tom.  We Thank Grace Rivera for always helping Lucy, Mabel and Mac on what you did during the Tualatin  Heritage Fund raising, kuya. Albert, nanay Serrano, Larry and Lindy and of course Mercy, Fred, and Rose. Especial thanks to Nap and family Mallari for the monetary help. Thelma Magno, for the medications. Dr Aaron Stensvad and Greg Russell for the soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and everyone else who contributed to the mission.