Hello everyone. I am John Ryan, and I am a living testimony to how great God's grace is working on the Lingap Center. I was born the 7th of 9 siblings in a squatter area in Toledo City, Cebu. My father was a photographer while my mother was a common housewife. She sometimes help my father during peak seasons. Unfortunately, due to the rise of smartphones, his business fluctuated over time. So he decided to become a hired driver of a local jeepney. I often went with him on most of his travels earning what little he could to feed us all. No sooner after that, he met an accident which nearly cost his life. He fractured 3 ribs including his frontal bones (on his skull). I was almost three by then and I did not know what was going on around me. I could only observe him grimacing in pain bearing his ordeal because we do not have any more money to buy his medicines. The third unfortunate event that devastated us was when my mother became diagnosed with a debilitating illness. Half of her body was paralyzed and she was bedridden at the provincial hospital for almost six months. She also developed nosocomial pneumonia and a lot more serious conditions. Sadly, she did not survive it. I was four and my two younger siblings, aged 2, and the other one's 5 months was left on our home ALONE. My older siblings did not know what to do and most of them stopped schooling because we do not have any kind of support to finance our food, my mother's medicines and hospital fees, my baby brother's milk and etc. Not shortly after that, the three of us (aged 4, 2 & 5 m) were also rushed to the hospital. We do not really know what we would do to survive it all. However, one thing that I would not forget from it was how God changed the course of our journey after that "supertyphoon" passed. My sister and my brother was taken custody by the social welfare and was brought to a local orphanage, which was the old Lingap Center (a converted pig slaughterhouse). My father tried to convince me to also go, but I was scared by then and I do not know how I could live along with strangers and losing another parent. So I cried and cried not wanting to be left there. My father brought me home and I get to live with him until I became 6. I thought that life would just stay like those times. No food, being left alone together with my 2 younger brothers at our house and feeding on soups (made by mixing water and rock salts) when my father does not go home early. He goes home at 8 or 9 in the evening and being left alone in our house with my brothers was very unfortunate for us. One day, when I observed one of my playmates going somewhere, I could not help but asked them where they were headed to. They were on white uniforms and black shorts so I was very much confused. When they told me that they were going to school. I asked them more, "what was school look like?" They told me that in school, they get to learn how to read and write in order to become a doctor, police or a teacher in the future. What popped into my mind was the old Lingap Center. I remembered what my father and the staff there that if I let myself be admitted there, I would be able to go to school. That is why, I told my playmates that I am also going to school at a "center". That night, I directly told my father that I now am willing to admit myself in Lingap. I was very excited to finally go to school. When I was in the old Lingap Center. Most of my life changed after it. I get to eat meals even though it was still not enough, but at least I have something to eat. If we do not have snacks during recesses, I do not really mind it because what motivates me was the opportunity to study. My grades at that time were very low though, maybe because I was still disoriented and traumatized by the unfortunate things that happened in my life. When I was in 2nd grade, our nanays (*local language for caretakers/mothers) told us that someone is making a big building for all of us. I got to met one of the most significant persons of my life which is Tito John, and he became a father to us all. He provided everything for us and he always told us that only doing our best in school would be the only thing that he is asking from us. He told us to study harder and to learn all kinds of trades. At the new Lingap Center, we had a big library where we can learn a lot of things. I remember hearing one of our kuyas (*male equivalent of our nanays at the center) when one of the younger kids asked him where to find treasures and golds after watching a movie. He replied that the best gold in the world was in our very own library. I greatly admire his response and it made me love the library more. This way, I get to learn science, facts and everything. When it was our free time, I always go there reading the books and the golds and the treasures it could offer. When I was in secondary school, I took an exam to be able to attend at a science high school in our city. I was one of the top tem takers of not less than 150 takers around our city. However, my life back then was also not always made of cakes and candies. It also had a lot of failures and so much more. Looking back, I suffered from a severe depression because of the unfortunate things that happened to me thinking that no one was behind me or that I am only doing all of this for nothing because I do not have the real mother to support me. That is why, I dropped school and returned to my father. It was at home that I realized that maybe God made me for a purpose. A purpose that I overlook and I never have imagined i could be part of. It was then that i asked Tito John to take me back in and give me a second chance. I guess he was reluctant by then because i was a failure at the first place. I wasted all of my time and his resources just for nothing. But I promised myself that day that i would make up for the things that i lost. I studied harder knowing that a lot of people are behind my back. That they will always be there when I need them. On the middle of the school year, I took a promotional exam (Alternative Learning Center), in order to attend college without going through 3rd and 4th year in high school. When the results was made available, someone told me that no one from the Lingap Center, passed the exam, not even one. I never believed them because I know I could do it and all of it was for the Lingap family. When I checked online and found out that I passed, I was greatly overjoyed. I also was one of the top achievers. I was very excited to start college and when January came, Tito John was at the Center for his annual visit and I excitedly told him that I passed and am very excited to go to college. All of a sudden, he told me that starting college at that state and age was closing to becoming impossible. However, instead of being upset, it made me realize that I should develop more, I should try to show to him that I am more than ready to take that challenge. I continued high school for another year and it was where I developed not only intellectually but also in other aspects of my life. By the way, I still continued my high school education at the science high school because I was not dishonorably dismissed nor committed anything that may harm the school. I attended several activities and held a number of leadership posts at our school. I was part of a supreme student government and a lot more. I became more interested when unique subjects like anatomy, biology and a foreign language (French) was taught there. After that school year, I have accomplished a lot of things that even myself could not imagine. When I presented it to Tito John, I think he was very much impressed at my progress. I even showed him that I was not shy anymore by being one of the host/emcee of our annual Honor Society. I asked him a second time if I could now go to college, and luckily, he admitted me to the Lingap College Scholarship Program. However, I do not yet know what course I will be taking when I apply for college. I applied at my sister Aileen's alma mater, to take up Chemical Engineering. I passed their entrance exam beyond average, but I was still not happy. I could not imagine myself in a laboratory working with chemicals and formulas all my life. I have a passion for it, but I think it doesn't suit me. I think I was made for an even greater purpose. So I told Ate Jojin, our center manager about it and she asked me about what I really wanted in life. Reminiscing the past with my mother and her plight made me realize that I could be of help to someone else suffering the same diseases like her. I could help children and I since imagined myself since her death that I would be a doctor helping those in need. I told her about it and they agreed that I could take medical school. However, more doubts resurfaced after them knowing that I wanted to take up med school. What if I would not finish it? What if I will not like it? and so much more.. Above all these, I still believe that I could prove them wrong. That is why, I started applying for scholarships, and one by one all of my applications were turned down. I did not give up, nor anyone of Lingap did. They supported me all along. With two weeks before the opening of classes, I enrolled myself at a private university in Cebu to take up Medical Technology without any external scholarship. But God was so good, always is and always will be, that someone I do not know from the other side of the world heard my prayers. I met Tita Reina, a supporter of Lingap and a friend of Tito John. She told me that she would try asking La Salle if there was any scholarship vacancies. With less than 5 days before I would be finally enrolled at Cebu, she made me finished my applications and introduced me to a lot of people that I do not know. We had miscommunications happening between us back then, and I realized that the power of the Lord was there to guide us. I almost lost hope and probably my future. Tita Reina and all of those people I met made me realized that even in the last minutes, hope will always be there. I was accepted at La Salle with a 100% scholarship. I am currently taking up Bachelor of Science in Nursing and in my 3rd year already. I am very much grateful to all the people who made all of this possible. I took up Nursing because La Salle do not offer Medical Technology as a course which was my first premed choice. In nursing, I learned a lot of things. I could reflect my life on most of my patients and doing my best in helping them makes me feel worthy. The things I do for them mostly tiring, but the joys after doing it are the ones motivating me right now. Generally, looking back at the rainbow colors of my life, I could only think that I am very much lucky to be at the Lingap Center. Without it and all of its supporters, I would be nothing and those dreams when I was still 3 years old will also remain dreams. But it all changed because i met all of you. Thank you very much. You are all in my prayers. I also would like to extend my gratitude to our heavenly Father. I now am aware of His purpose on my life. Without Him, I would be nothing. May His grace shine on all of you too.
I'm John Ryan and I am one of the Lingap kids. I was admitted at the Center when I was 6 years old back in the April of 2004 at the old Lingap Center, which was literally a converted pig-slaughterhouse. Life before I came to the Lingap Center was pretty hard. I lost my mother because of pneumonia and my father was jobless. He hardly could not provide all the basic needs of our family of 9 children. I cannot eat 3 meals a day or most of the time, eat nothing at all. I was very sickly all those years brought by malnutrition. That is why, I am very thankful and happy for this enormous blessing and all the people behind this project especially to Tito John and his family for they wholistically changed me. I am now very healthy and am studying at a prestigious school outside of Cebu. This would not have happened if not for the Lingap Center who gave me another chance to have a life and an education. Thank you very much!
Greetings to everyone! This is Aileen Bantolinao, a former Lingap ward for almost 12 years. I am now happily married with my wonderful husband Dave and we are now residing in Tucson, Arizona. I spent my elementary and high school years while at Lingap. The Lingap Children's Foundation financed my further education where I attended at the University of San Carlos and completed my Bachelor's Degree in Tourism Management in Cebu City, Philippines. Following my degree completion, I was offered a yearlong internship at the Baltimore Country Club - one of the most Prestigious Clubs in the world. I am very fortunate. All of these wonderful things that I have received would not have been possible without the help and guidance of Tito John Drake, the Founder of the Lingap Children's Foundation who is not just a provider but stands as a great Father figure when our own could not. The guidance, life skills training and values provided by the Lingap Children's Foundation are with me everyday. It is truly an honor to have completed my degree and everyday of my working life will be influenced by my upbringing at Lingap. Now that I am an alumni to the Lingap Children's Foundation, its my honor to help and give back.
Tito John was my hero as he was there when I have no one to turn to. I spent all my life hearing and listening to him of how important education is and that proves it as I was able to graduate and have college degree and got an internship here at Baltimore Country Club. I am so lucky and very blessed. Thank you Tito John and to the people who has been there supporting the Lingap Children's Foundation. I owe you a lot. God will bless you.