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Filipina dies a month after being diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer

20 September 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao


Bonagua before, and shortly after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer

A 52-year-old Filipina domestic worker who was found to have stage 4 ovarian cancer after being taken to hospital by a migrant support organization last month succumbed to the disease earlier today, Sept 20.

Merle Bonagua from Polillio Island, Quezon, reportedly died at 3:30 this morning in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei, after being transferred there from Tseung Kwan O Hospital.

Her cousin, Teresita S. Panti, said in a post on the Facebook page of HKOFW that Bonagua was put on life support in Queen Elizabeth as “the cancer had spread to her liver and lungs and she was in great pain.”

Panti said Bonagua’s belly had bulged so much from the cancer that she looked like she was eight months pregnant.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Bonagua’s death came barely a month since HKOFW rescued her from her employer’s house with help from the police after a neighbor sounded an appeal on her behalf.

At the time, she was still struggling to work although she suffered constant abdominal pain and had lost considerable weight that left her looking emaciated and a lot older than her age.

Bonagua was put on life support at Queen Elizabeth Hospital shortly before she died

Merle Manabat Nootenboom, wife of HKOFW’s founder Pieter, expressed sympathy to Bonagua’s family on Facebook, and said the deceased’s death had put an end to her pain and suffering.


Nootenboom said Bonagua’s death should serve as a lesson to other migrant workers to take care of their health, which is their capital. She advised them to go for checkups, especially during the pandemic, if they have any ailments.

On Aug 24, an oncologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital had ruled out surgery for Bonagua after the results of various tests revealed that her cancer was at an advanced stage. The specialist said the cancer had spread in the patient’s abdomen and her health needed to be boosted to enable her to undergo chemotherapy.


When contacted in TKO Hospital a week after the grim diagnosis, Bonagua said her employer had objected to her going to hospital, and instead told her to see a private doctor.

She said then that she was feeling better because she had been given medical attention, food and rest. 

“Mas maayos na po ang pakiramdam ko ngayon,” (I feel much better now), Bonagua said. She said she wanted to go home soon, but worried about her two young grandsons, who relied on her for support.

Pieter Nootenboom said Bonagua’s family in Polillo had been contacted. He also said the Consulate’s assistance to national section and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration “are fully aware of the case.”

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

He has set up a TNG account to receive donations for the family of Merle Samar Bonagua, he said in a post on the HKOFW page. The TNG account number is 6101-8019-7441-2047 and the QR code is on the post.


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