CHERIE QUEROL MORENO: Family lauds youth volunteers

BULACAN native Tony Aguilar lived a life of caring for others until his passing last year, say his seven children.  In his name, eldest daughter Vicky A. Palomar on December 29 launched the first annual “TALA Awards” to honor his legacy of service.

“Tala” is “star” in Tagalog, a symbol of good in the Philippine culture and a universal emblem of excellence.  Tala also is an acronym for the name of the late patriarch, who was everyone’s “Tatay Tony.”  Hence the name of the awards recognizing youths whose lives emulate her that of her father’s, Palomar, a registered nurse for 40 years, told

Tatay Tony was “quietly” devoted to his nuclear and extended families as he was to his faith and his community,” Palomar said.

“He was not attached to wealth, giving every single dollar he had to someone he thought needed it more. He was also a servant of God as he was a Eucharistic Minister at St. Andrews Catholic Church in Daly City, which he continued in the Philippines, where he retired. He served in every way he could, committed to improving the lives of others.”

The inaugural Tala Awards recognized three high school students who Palomar says she has witnessed “demonstrating their passion for community service.”

Art enabled Jizelle Trance Oliva to volunteer in her church and eventually toward overcoming a major adversity.

She was 9 years old when she joined the Children’s Choir of St. Augustine Church in South San Francisco.  Five years later she was diagnosed with leg bone cancer that required a series of treatments.

“While in hospital I was encouraged to develop my skill for drawing,” she related.  Fate dealt another blow when the pandemic struck, further isolating the ailing teen but also compelled her church to begin live-streaming Holy Mass.  A new opportunity opened for Jizelle.

“Our pastor invited me to help by creating graphic designs that accompany the daily responsorial psalms and prayers. For more than two years, this has been my way of thanking God and serving my community,” said the daughter of Oscar and Janet Oliva.  She is a junior member of the Praise and Glory Choir and the church’s Hospitality Ministry.  With her illness in full remission she is able to assist parishioners especially in charitable engagements

The El Camino High School senior is also enrolled in the Middle College Program of Skyline College, where she tutors underclass members and organizes campus activities.

Krista Marie Mananquil also helps livestream church masses on the weekends at Our Lady of Mercy in Daly City, where she attended elementary school.  Throughout the week, she gives of herself to her school by “helping my teachers with grading” and preparing for lab and then singing at school masses.

Reggie and Ronda Mananquil’s daughter extends service to the wider community.  Aware of the importance of a healthy environment, she participates in “picking out invasive plant species and beach cleanups” as a Girl Scout.

“Once or twice a year, I go with my mom to help administer flu shots,” said Krista, whose mother is an RN.

“I hope to do more impactful things for more communities,” said the Notre Dame senior, pointing to her participation in the Eagle Scout Project as an ideal platform for her intentions.

El Camino High School senior John Ethan Bocaling actively supports his church, Lighthouse San Bruno, by delivering food every month to families in Daly City, Pacifica and San Bruno.

“I am grateful for having grown up in a church that opens the door to youths like me to be of great service to the community,” said the son of Arline Bocaling. “Lighthouse collaborates with other churches in providing toiletries, clothes and food to the unhoused in San Francisco,” he said. – Adapted from original reprinted with permission from INQUIRER.NET


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