Help from Ilonggos abroad – Part 2

By Limuel S. Celebria

At the turn of this millennium, back in those days when I was still deep in the media game as founding editor of a regional daily based in Iloilo City, there was this flock of newshens that prettified the various beats with their vivacious charms.

But the soft veneer is nothing more than a camouflage. Underneath, the distaff side of Iloilo’s fourth estate was as tough as its men – even more resourceful and determined in ferreting the truth, exposing anomalies, extracting confessions from unsuspecting sources.

Among them was Josie Moralidad of Aksyon Radyo DyOK. I didn’t get to meet her much during her reporter days, but she struck me as a quite unassuming girl but with the determination to her job well.

I lost my media bearings when I stepped away from the daily grind of newspaper work to concentrate on doing PR work which sometimes brought me to Bacolod, Cebu, and Davao. I lost touch locally and I was surprised when I heard on radio Josie reporting from America, from of all places, the White House where she was accredited as Correspondent, this time of Radio Mindanao Network.

Recently, I asked how she found herself and America and why, she said, “I arrived in the US May 20 … I got a journalist visa and did some interviews at Stockton, Califonia (Sister City of Iloilo City). One of the reasons I left the Philippines was because I wasn’t happy with my career in the Iloilo media and I wanted to have a better life. My twin sister was very successful with her career in America and my two other siblings were both working abroad at that time, including my mom.

“It was during one of my radio interviews that I met my husband,” she said. Barry is an American Jew and works as a lobbyist in Washington DC. He’s also the author of a recently published bestselling novel, the political thriller: “Girls, Crimes, and the Ruling Body” winner of the 2022 American Fiction Awards.

But not everything was roses in the land of milk and honey. In 2018, Josie was diagnosed with cancer. She recalled:

“Upon learning of my cancer, I immediately got frustrated, depressed, disappointed, and upset. But I realized I’m still lucky to be alive with the support of my husband family and friends. I considered it a blessing in disguise and a motivation to live my life with courage, faith in God and continue my civic duty in our community and go on with my public service as a journalist. What is the purpose of life anyway if we can’t give back to our community or help those who can to help themselves.”

A year earlier, in December of 2017 Josie interviewed Edward Peñaflor Logan, a Filipino-American living in Virginia, regarding his cancer survivorship journey as a Christmas Miracle story of hope, love, faith and family.

In 2019, Josie approached Edward about publishing a book to include Edward’s cancer story and others, in a compilation of articles she has written about Filipino-American subjects to celebrate the achievements, underscore the sacrifices, and inspire hope in the community. Josie wanted proceeds of the book to go to children with cancer in Iloilo City, Philippines to help families faced with the costs of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.”

After the book was launched successfully, the two decided to establish the Filipino American Cancer Care association. The FACC officially came into being in 2020 as a non-stock, non-profit, non-political, charitable and all volunteer-based cancer organization serving the Filipino and Filipino-American population in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia area. It has since been providing assistance to numerous cancer victims, mostly in Iloilo and Panay.

As for Josie: “I’m very busy these days running a cancer non-profit organization like FACC. It’s a lot of work and responsibilities aside from my doctor’s appointment, two radio shows, my part time job, my dog and my husband.”

“With regards to my cancer, I’m still in treatment for home therapy. My oncologist said I’m lucky to catch the cancer at the early stage but I went through three major surgeries in one year. I gained weight because of the cancer drug and the side effects are very bad. But I deal my life with a positive attitude and courage.”