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Real life ‘Romeo’ succumbs to cancer

07 November 2017

By Daisy CL Mandap

For much of his 48 years, Romeo F. Fulay, true to his name, romanced not a few women, and sired seven children in the process.

But when he succumbed to cancer of the esophagus on Oct. 5, the former driver and dependant visa holder had to rely largely on his two older sisters in Hong Kong for support.

One of them, Concepcion Fulay, related to The SUN how her brother had struggled valiantly for more than 11 months while cancer was slowly ravaging his body.

“Dati 110 kilos ang weight niya, nung bago siya mamatay bumagsak sa 55 kilos,” said Concepcion.

She said that for a long time before his cancer was diagnosed, Romeo had a hard time swallowing. He would reportedly drink 1.5 liters of water just so he could take in his food, but did not see the need to consult a doctor.

In October last year, he reportedly felt sick during a trip to Macau. On his return on Oct. 3 he was admitted to Ruttonjee hospital. There, the doctors told him they needed to talk to his family members.

“Nagduda na ako noon na may ‘something’ sa kundisyon nya,” said Concepcion.

From Ruttonjee Romeo was transferred to Queen Mary Hospital where he remained until he passed on.

Romeo F. Fulay
Romeo’s lengthy stay at the hospital was not easy for the siblings. Just before he was told he had cancer, Romeo lost his job as a driver, leaving him to rely on his sisters for support. At the time, he also just had his seventh child with his girlfriend.

Left with not much resources, the siblings were able to get all of Romeo’s hospital bills waived, except for the initial PET scan which cost $7,900.

When he died, the family also managed to get the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines to pay for the cost of repatriating his remains to their hometown of Iromin, Sorsogon on Oct. 24.

For all that, Concepcion said their family is grateful. She also said, with a hint of smile, that Romeo’s death paved the way for his four previous partners and the six children they collectively had with him, to get together and be reconciled. Sadly, she said Romeo’s first child- whom he sired when he was just 17 - died in his teens because of kidney failure.

Her only regret was that Romeo’s last wish, which was to die in the Philippines, did not happen because his health had deteriorated so quickly he could no longer be allowed to get on a plane.

Romeo’s Bicolano friends in Hong Kong, notably Art Buban of Bicol Saro, gathered together to see him off, and do a bit of fundraising to help tide his family over.

Another Filipino OFW, Ernesto Hermano, also 48 years old, died suddenly of a stroke earlier in October. His remains were brought to his home in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte on Oct. 20, after a funeral attended by his various relatives, friends and employers.

On Oct. 22, a Sunday, a memorial mass was said for him at the Consulate.

Hermano reportedly worked mostly as a messenger for the family he had served in Tsing Yi for 25 years.  He left behind his Hong Kong-based wife, Melanie. - DCLM


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