March 2018 musings: empowered women

Why were they even referred to as the “weaker sex”? Don’t they have higher pain threshold than men? Child birth is just one of the many agonizing episodes of a woman’s life. What can men match it with? A toothache?

Motherhood is one tough job. Single parenthood even more. That can be difficult. Or even with their partners, women today choose to have a career while running household. How they manage the feat is beyond words.

My mom was one of those super women. She had super powers. She was tireless, highly productive and an amazing cook. She fought breast cancer. Losing her so soon was heartbreaking.

I am still in the company of women, mothers and single moms who possess super powers. Their passion for what they do is admirable. Here are two women I personally know. I would like to share their stories.

Xyla Ferrazini and her three sons lost a husband and a father to a tragic incident in 2008. He could have been saved but his blood type was difficult to obtain. Friends came to donate, but the processing took time. The unavailability of blood was one of the reasons of his passing.


Xyla with her three sons



Months after, the family started a blood donation drive in honor of Centing. “The aim is to help people in dire need of blood. Those who donated can have access if they need blood through us, Merco and DOH. The blood you give may save your life someday,” Xyla said.

From 2008 to 2013, they held the blood donation drive once a year, increased it to twice a year in 2014 to 2015, and thrice a year from 2016 to 2018. It even replaced the company’s other events, the golf tournament and fun run.


Xyla with her team at the most recent blood donation drive in Abreeza Mall


“The first blood donation drive we collected 164 bags. The highest we got was last Oct. 2018 which was 445 bags. Recent one last March 22 was 409,” she shared.


Vanessa Ong was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer two years ago. It came as a shock but she chose to live on the brighter side. She messaged everyone dear to her of her condition and how she’s going to fight it for her family, husband Randall and her three daughters. Support groups and prayer warriors arose in throngs.


Vanessa celebrating 44 years old with her family


This fighter recently turned 44 and doesn’t look her age nor battling the Big C. Through her regular chemotherapy and radiation treatments, she’s living each day the way she used to before her diagnosis—watches over the family business; does yoga and Pilates; the loving wife, doting mother and healthy-meal chef to the family; bakes her guilt-free goodies to sell; practices her Ikebana; paints with her clique; regularly meets up with different groups of friends; and she’s still the fashionista. The only thing that may have changed is she is more spirited in everything she does at any time of day.


Vanessa with her yoga clique


Vanessa is the epitome of the message she shares to everyone in the same situation, “I want to inspire cancer warriors to be strong, pray and to stay positive. To have faith over fear.”

There are more women out who have amazing stories to share.


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Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper