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Jobless and penniless, Filipina with late-stage cancer set to fly home Feb 4

29 January 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap

Young mother Cyril has difficulty getting out of bed because of her cancer

A Filipina domestic helper whose cervical cancer has deteriorated to stage 4 is set to fly home to her family in San Jose, Antique on Feb 4, after the agency that placed her with her last employer agreed to shoulder the cost of her air ticket and that of an escort.

Cyril S. Galvez, who will be celebrating her 36th birthday on Feb 26, will go home in a wheelchair as she is said to be too weak to even get out of her hospital bed in Queen Elizabeth Hospital. She is also in pain from tumors in her lower back.

Her sister, Mary Grace G. Latorilla, who also works in Hong Kong as a domestic helper, told The SUN her family would have wanted Cyril to go home on a stretcher as she has difficulty sitting down but the fare for that would cost more than $30,000 which they don’t have.


She said she and some of Cyril’s friends have initiated a fundraiser but the money that they managed to raise was just enough for the patient to have some pocket money for her return home. Cyril has two small children, aged 9 and 11, with her partner who is currently unemployed.

Cyril used to hike in her spare time before she was diagnosed with cancer

Initially, they had sought help for Cyril, thinking that they would have to shoulder her air fare, but a timely intervention by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration has resolved the issue.

Welfare Officer Virsie Tamayao informed The SUN that after Cyril’s case was brought to their attention they immediately contacted her last employment agency and they immediately agreed to shoulder the cost of two air tickets.

“The agency has already bought the tickets, including that for the escort. Flight on Feb 4 via Cathay Pacific,” said Tamayao in a text reply.


OWWA also committed to help transport the patient to Hong Kong International Airport, then have her fetched at Ninoy Aquino International Airport for her onward trip to Iloilo City where she will be taken to a hospital.

According to Latorilla, her sister was diagnosed with stage 2 cervical cancer in March last year, and with help and support from her employer then, was able to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy. “Naging ok siya” she said. (She became ok).

Thinking that she was well enough to continue working and also because she wanted to continue providing for her two children, Cyril signed up with a new employer in September last year.

Pindutin para sa detalye

But the stress of adjusting to a new job apparently caused her cancer not just to return but deteriorate. In October, just a month after she joined her new employer, she was told her cancer had returned.

With her sick leave exhausted, her employer terminated their contract early this month, and booked her return air ticket for Jan 16. Cyril was paid more than $7,000.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Unfortunately, three days before her flight she had to be rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital after she suffered from extreme stomach pain while in a boarding house. The doctor who attended to her said she had to be operated on immediately due to kidney malfunction.

Cyril and Grace share a meal in a boarding house just before she was rushed to hospital

Nung pagdala namin sa ospital nagtanong kami sa doctor kung bakit ganun na sitwasyon nya e stage 2 pa lang siya. Bakit ang mga organ niya naapektuhan na? Tiningnan ng doctor ang computer, at ang sabi, nasa stage 4 na siya,” said Latorilla.

(When we took her to the hospital we asked the doctor why she was in that situation when her cancer was only at stage 2. Why were her organs affected? The doctor checked the computer and said, ‘She’s already at stage 4’)

Press for details

After her operation, the doctor said she could already go home, but she could not be discharged as she had nowhere to go. Besides, she no longer had an air ticket to use in flying home to the Philippines.

A group of her friends posted an urgent appeal for help, saying Cyril needed to fly home immediately as was her wish. The doctors also reportedly warned them that her condition could deteriorate fast.

Luckily, with OWWA’s help, the air tickets were secured. Latorilla said her sister had hoped to go home earlier, and was in tears when told she had to wait a few more days to go home.


But there is nothing left for them to do now but wait. “Magpapasalamat po ako talaga kung makauwi na siya nang maayos at makita niya ang mga anak nya,” said Latorilla.

(I will be really grateful if she could just go home without a hitch so she could see her children).

Those who wish to donate to Cyril’s needs may send money to Latorilla’s Alipay account, 91558279. Her QR code is here:



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