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After testing positive for Covid thrice, 2 Filipinas manage to fly home - finally

27 March 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap


Angel happily poses minutes before she took her flight home Friday

A Filipina domestic helper who made headlines when she was forced to sleep in a Kowloon park after testing positive for Covid-19 as she was about to fly back to the Philippines on Feb 15 finally managed to go home Friday evening.

But before this, Angel V had to go through the painful experience of testing positive not just once, but thrice, just as she was about to leave for her long-delayed return home.

It was understandable that when she finally got the all-clear to take her late-evening flight, Angel was in high spirits.


She profusely thanked everyone who had helped her, starting with Fr John Wotherspoon who took her into one of the shelters run by his Mercy Foundation before and after she was admitted to the government isolation facility at Hung Shui Kiu.

 Sobrang bait po niya,” (He's so kindAngel said of the Oblates priest who even gave her some pocket money before she headed for the airport. 

Fr John reportedly said he felt sad for her and her three young kids who were waiting for her back in their hometown in Quezon province.


Angel also thanked staff at Help for Domestic Workers which first gave her shelter after reports had come out about her having slept in the park with her suitcase and all, after she was driven out from the community testing centre in Yau Tong where she had picked up her test result.

She was also all praises for staff at the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, particularly nurse Joszoa Villa, who took her to their shelter at one point, gave her cash assistance, and paid for her last PCR test.

But the road to home had been full of challenges for Angel. After her first positive PCR test result on Feb 15, she was again found infected on Mar 9, and then on Mar 17, before she finally got the all-clear for her flight on Mar 25.


During this time, she spent her isolation at three shelters and two government facilities where she was provided with food, medicines and other needs, but still despaired because she was thinking of her three children back in the Philippines who rely on her for support.

Wala na naman akong nararamdaman, wala din akong symptoms. Gusto ko na lang pong umuwi at ilang buwan na akong walang trabaho. Wala na akong pang support sa mga anak ko. Hirap po ng ganito. Hindi ko iniisip ang sarili ko kasi nakakakain naman ako dito, ang mga anak ko ang iniisip ko,” she said.

(I don’t feel ill anymore, and I don’t have symptoms. I just want to go home since I have been jobless for months. I cannot support my children anymore. It’s so hard. I do not worry about myself as I have enough to eat, but I am worried about my kids.)

Fr John takes in the most number of FDHs with nowhere to go after testing positive for Covid

But even amid her own misery, she found time to relay the plight of a fellow worker, Marnela, who had been stranded in Hong Kong for the same length of time as she.

Marnela was one of three Filipina DHs who were already at Hong Kong Airport on Feb 15 when their PCR test result came out positive. They were immediately told by airport staff to go to the North Lantau Hospital where they had to stand outside in the cold and rain along with a big number of infected patients, all waiting to be admitted.


With help from OWWA, Marnela and the two other Filipinas were eventually taken to the isolation facility at Penny’s Bay where they spent a week. After testing negative on her last two days of isolation she also set out to go home, but the day before her flight, tested positive again.

Fr John with some of the workers he has rescued

She spent some time in a boarding house which she paid for with the USD200  financial assistance from OWWA, but after testing positive again on her third attempt to go home she was taken to Hung Shui Kiu, then to Mercy Foundation’s shelter.

Marnela said she had no money left by the time she was set to leave again on Mar 23 that Fr John ended up buying her return air fare.

Luckily after ending her extended quarantine at Hung Shui Kiu, Marnela’s PCR test result came out negative so she was able to fly out on the same day.

Angel’s ordeal which began at a Yau Ma Tei park where she was forced to spend the night after finding out she was infected with the coronavirus shortly before she was to leave for home, had more twists and turns.

Angel camped out on this park bench after she tested positive 

She had planned to leave on Mar 9 after spending 17 days of isolation first, at a boarding house in Sheung Wan run by Help; second, at Penny’s Bay; and third, at a shelter run by OWWA.

During that period, she tested negative repeatedly on rapid tests so she was confident she could finally go home. But a PCR test she had on Mar 8 came out positive.

From the airport she went back to Help’s shelter, then was taken to a Ozo Wesley, a quarantine hotel in Wanchai, along with a number of migrant workers from different shelters. During that time, she again tested negative on several rapid tests.


After her release on Mar 16, she moved into Fr John’s shelter and had planned to fly out again the next day. But when she got her PCR result, the result was again positive.

She said she was baffled about the result as she felt no pain or discomfort at all.

Noong una akong nag positive wala naman akong nararamdaman. Pero sa pangalawa nagkaroon ako ng pananakit ng lalamunan at likod at nilagnat din ako,” she said. "Pero wala na ngayon."

(The first time I was I didn’t have symptoms at all. But after the second, I experienced sore throat, back pain and fever. But it's all gone now.)


She moved back into the Jordan shelter and the next day was admitted to the Hung Shui Kiu facility where she spent another seven days in isolation. During this time, all her rapid tests again turned out negative.

She got tested again at the community centre on Leighton Hill Road on Mar 24 and was overjoyed when the result finally came out negative the next day. She wasted no time getting on the flight home that same day.

She said she meant to take the Saturday flight but when she received the SMS that gave her the all-clear, she immediately packed and headed to the airport.

Nami miss ko na po ang tatlo kong anak,” the single mother said. (I miss my three children.)

When she gets back home, Angel plans to set up her own small food business, probably in Cavite where she has relatives and which to her seems more suitable for the life she wants to build for her and her children.

She has high hopes for this business, saying it would give her an opportunity to do what she enjoyed the most during the seven years that she spent working as a domestic helper in China and Hong Kong, which is cooking.

Having gone through a most harrowing experience at the height of the Omicron outbreak in Hong Kong, nothing fazes Angel now.

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