OHFWI’s Program Expansion in Cagwait, Surigao Del Sur

The 10th and 11th of October 2023 marked two significant events in Cagwait, Surigao Del Sur, which played a pivotal role in shaping the journey of the Cagwait Scholars. These events were made possible through the Program Area Coordinator of Open Heart Foundation Ms. Maejorie Ortega as well as the dedication and unwavering commitment of the volunteer coordinators, Mr. Wilson Irizari and Mr. Romel Montenegro. Their tireless efforts ensured the success of these essential activities.

On October 10, 2023, a virtual orientation was held to acquaint the new OHYM Scholars in the area of Cagwait, Surigao Del Sur, and to clarify their roles and responsibilities, along with those of their parents. This orientation served as a beacon of knowledge and inspiration for the scholars, providing them with the necessary tools to navigate their educational paths.

The scholars, together with their parents, joined the virtual session eagerly, knowing that this event would empower them with valuable information. The orientation was facilitated by the Program Area Coordinator and joined by the dedicated volunteer coordinators, Sir Wilson Irizari and Sir Romel Montenegro, who have consistently guided the scholars throughout their educational journey.

The topics discussed during the orientation included the following:

– Introduction of the foundation and its mission.

– The roles and responsibilities of Cagwait Scholars, emphasizing the importance of academic dedication and community involvement.

– The complementary responsibilities of parents, highlighting their vital role in supporting their children’s education.

– The resources and support networks available to the scholars, reinforce the idea that they are not alone in their educational pursuit.

This orientation not only provided the scholars and their parents with a clear roadmap for success but also ignited a sense of purpose and motivation, uniting them in a common goal of academic excellence and community engagement.

Following the orientation, on October 11, 2023, the dedicated Volunteer Coordinators, Sir Wilson Irizari and Sir Romel Montenegro organized a meeting that was instrumental in the efficient functioning of the scholarship program. The key highlights of this meeting included:

1. Formal Kasunduan Signing: A significant milestone was achieved as the scholars formally signed the Kasunduan (agreement), underscoring their commitment to their studies and the responsibilities associated with their scholarship. This Agreement is designed to encompass scholars, parents, and the foundation.

2. Officer Elections: The meeting provided a platform for the scholars to actively participate in the management of their scholarship program. Elections were held to appoint officers who would represent the scholars’ interests and serve as their voices. This democratic process encourages the scholars to take ownership of their educational journey and instills a sense of responsibility.

3. Allowance Distribution: The meeting signified the initial distribution of financial allowances to the scholars, signifying the importance of this financial aid in helping the scholars meet their educational requirements and achieve academic success.

The events of October 10 and 11, 2023, bore great significance for the Cagwait Scholars and the entire community. These activities were a testament to the dedication of the volunteer coordinators, Sir Wilson Irizari and Sir Romel Montenegro, to the scholars’ success. They also demonstrated the scholars’ determination to excel in their education and to give back to their community.

As these events unfolded, it was clear that the Cagwait Scholars’ journey was not just about financial assistance, but about building a strong, supportive community that values education and believes in the potential of its youth.

We extend our heartfelt appreciation to everyone who contributed to the success of these events, and we look forward to witnessing the growth and achievements of the Cagwait Scholars in the days to come.

Prepared by:

Maejorie U. Ortega, RSW, Program Area Coordinator


OHF’s Annual Monitoring and Scholarship Meeting in Mati City, Davao Oriental

In a heartwarming gathering that emphasized the importance of education and collaboration, the Open Heart Foundation Worldwide Inc. (OHFWI) conducted its annual monitoring visit and scholarship meeting for the dedicated scholars and their supportive parents/guardians in Mati City, Davao Oriental. It was held on August 17, 2023, at the Visitors Information Center (former Menzi Beach). This activity served as a platform for inspirational sharing, relationship building, program evaluation, and accountability.

The meeting began with a prayer followed by a warm welcome from the two college beneficiaries, Ms. Ailyn Manlabiann and Ms. Cristine Joy Degamo Pontillas. They expressed gratitude to the OHFWI team, City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) and Local Youth Development Office (LYDO) Staff, fellow scholars, and parents/guardians. They introduced themselves by sharing their names, courses, year levels, and schools, along with their parents/guardians. Susie Bedia, the officer in charge of Mati, introduced each member of the monitoring team (both staff and BOT) and the representatives from CSWDO/LYDO. Ms. Francenn Marie Tamala Manatad, OHYM Mati President, spoke on behalf of the scholars, conveying their determination and appreciation for this life-changing opportunity.

The event’s keynote address was delivered by OHFWI’s four dedicated Board of Trustees namely Ms. Lilet Bermejo, Atty. Taya Guinto, Ms. Marlyn Fernando, and Dr. Carol Dacanay. It was a great privilege for our OHFWI beneficiaries to meet them during this monitoring visit. Their presence added significance to the event and manifested their commitment to OHFWI’s mission. Their messages were inspiring, emphasizing the value of education as a path to overcome challenges and achieve greatness. They encouraged scholars to believe in their potential, face adversity with resilience, and view setbacks as opportunities for growth.

Another significant highlight was a message of support from the CSWDO Head, Ms. Mae Belle Fontillas. She emphasized the importance of scholarships in providing equal educational opportunities and commended the scholars for their dedication. She also reaffirmed the City’s commitment to supporting their educational aspirations.

The meeting also had an interactive feedback session when scholars and parents/guardians shared their experiences. Scholars talked about their academic journeys, challenges, personal growth, and future goals. Parents expressed heartfelt gratitude for the financial assistance and guidance from the OHFWI scholarship program. This session emphasized the importance of the ongoing partnership between OHFWI and its scholars and showcased how scholarships positively impact individuals and families.

In recognition of her commitment and demonstration of responsible behavior, a Certificate of Appreciation was given to Ms. Erica Pinaca Wegan, OHYM Mati Vice President, for her consistent and punctual submission of all required documents with OHFWI. Her diligence in adhering to deadlines serves as a profound source of motivation to her fellow scholars, demonstrating the importance of taking responsibility and accountability.

Another highlight of the event was the orientation and signing of the scholarship Memorandum of Agreement for the School Year 2023-2024. This formal agreement clarified the scholarship’s terms and conditions, including academic performance, financial support, and other important obligations and requirements, ensuring a mutual understanding between OHFWI and the recipients.

As the activity ended, OHFWI expressed its heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Esnani Mai, Ms. Shannen, and Ms. Ding Francisco from the Local Youth Development Office for their invaluable help and expert coordination. Working alongside them, particularly KA Mai, who was designated by the local government as a Volunteer Coordinator for OHFWI beneficiaries, highlighted their unwavering commitment to OHFWI’s mission. They played pivotal roles in organizing the meeting, securing an excellent venue, providing essential equipment, and overseeing courtesy calls, all of which significantly contributed to the activity’s resounding success.

Following the successful activity, OHFWI Finance Staff, Jerry Rosalejos and Mark Dapilaga, efficiently distributed the scholars’ allowances, handed out donated shoes from Vans Philippines, and photographed each beneficiary for proper documentation.

The meeting was a celebration of dreams, determination, and teamwork. As these students begin the new school year with support from their families, the Open Heart Foundation is here to support and celebrate their achievements. Their dreams are important, their voices matter, and their futures merit the efforts we make for them.

All for God’s glory.

Prepared by: Susie Bedia, OIC OHYM Mati City


Monitoring Visit to San Fernando, Bukidnon

On June 20, 2023, Open Heart Foundation embarked on a visitation trip to San Fernando, Bukidnon. The purpose of the visit was to meet with the CYDP beneficiaries and their parents, assess their progress, and provide them with financial assistance in the form of allowances.

Upon arrival in San Fernando, our team was warmly welcomed by volunteer coordinator Pastor Allan and his wife Ms. Lorena. During this visit, the beneficiaries had the valuable opportunity to personally meet Ms. Mae Ortega, the newly assigned Area Coordinator. This meeting created an excellent platform for her to introduce herself and establish a more profound connection with the beneficiaries under her care.

To gain a better understanding of the beneficiaries’ needs and aspirations, the Evaluation form that was given to them allows the beneficiaries and parents to freely share their personal stories, challenges, and aspirations for the future.

Listening to their stories, hopes, and concerns was a humbling and enlightening experience. It reinforced the importance of the program objectives and highlighted the OHF support could have on their lives.

Later in the meeting, Atty. Natalia Guinto, one of the Board Members, and Mrs. Rosalinda T. Perez, the Executive Director, delivered their motivational messages to inspire and uplift the spirits of the attendees. Following these messages, the much-awaited part was the distribution of allowances to the five beneficiaries.

We express our sincere gratitude to the volunteer coordinator, and beneficiaries of San Fernando, Bukidnon, for their warm welcome and engagement during the visitation. It is through collaborative efforts and shared commitment that we continue making a difference in the lives of those in need.

Prepared by:

Maejorie U. Ortega, RSW

Program Area Coordinator 1


Hats Off to All the Graduates!

Finishing in College is not a joke, it takes a lot of sacrifice and dedication to get the desired diploma.

On June 15, 2023, the Open Heart Foundation Worldwide Inc. flew to Murcia, Negros Occidental to visit and monitor the scholars. Time flies so fast Four years have passed and finally, there are five graduates in the area of Murcia.

Face-to-face kamustahan was conducted in every area, this year it was fulfilling to listen to the Parents and scholars as they share their experiences, challenges, and how they managed to surpass the obstacles met along the way. The graduates were asked what their plans are after they graduate, Some say they are preparing for the upcoming board exam and some are focused on working to help and give back to their families. They are also grateful for the help of the foundation as it served as one of the reasons why they had a chance to study in college.

Since 5 out of 8 scholars graduated and only 3 are left, the Executive Director of OHF instructed the PAC to conduct a screening for potential new scholars of Murcia. Through the help of the Local School Board/Volunteer Coordinator of OHF, Ms. Nessaleh disseminated the information on finding new scholars. On the Same day, the team interviewed 12 candidates, and after careful deliberation, the team came up with the 7 recommendations to become the new batch of beneficiaries for School Year 2023-2024.

In the afternoon, Orientation for new scholars was held and discussed the Memorandum of Agreement between the scholars, parents, and the foundation.

Prepared By: Maejorie Ortega, RSW

Program Area Coordinator


Monitoring Visit to Sagay, Negros Occidental Beneficiaries

On June 14, 2023, OHFWI conducted a monitoring visit to its program beneficiaries in Sagay City, Negros Occidental. During the Kumustahan Activity, the beneficiaries shared about the challenges they faced during the semester as well as how they overcame it. Adapting to the new mode of learning after the pandemic restrictions was the most challenging part for most of them. However, with the help of their family and friends, they all surpass the obstacles encountered during the school year.

Three of the graduates from the area were also asked for a message as they graduate from the program. They were grateful for the help of the organization and they pledged to multiply the help they received from OHFWI to their younger siblings. Guardians of the beneficiaries also expressed their gratitude to the organization as according to them, if not with the help of the organization, finishing their children’s college degree will be so much harder for them.

Executive Director, Rosalinda T. Perez, as usual, reiterated that the students do not have the responsibility to pay back to the organization the support they received but rather, they were challenged to also help others, such as their younger siblings, for which the organization expects and looks forward to.

In the latter part of the activity, the program area coordinator of Sagay, Negros Occidental, Jay Frank A. Diaz, reminded the graduates as they join the workforce that life after college isn’t guaranteed to be easy. But, earning a college degree and learning the things they got from the academy and OHFWI will be their greatest weapon.

OHFWI also conducted a Home Visitation to the Melgar Family– a special case being handled by the organization’s social workers. The activity was conducted to know the kind of assistance we can provide to the family and ensure that they’re in good living conditions.

Prepared by: Jay Frank A. Diaz, RSW

Program Area Coordinator


Monitoring Visit to Catarman, Northern Samar

Annually, the Open Heart Foundation Worldwide Inc. (OHFWI) tries to visit most of its areas of implementation nationwide. Last May 17, 2023, OHFWI visited its beneficiaries in the municipality of Catarman in Northern Samar.

During the visit, the assigned area coordinator, Jay Frank A. Diaz, had a “kumustahan” session with the beneficiaries to know the challenges they are facing as students, and how OHFWI can help them ease these.

Since most of the beneficiaries from the area are in their last year in college, the most challenging part for them is managing their time and finances as they have to juggle a lot of tasks which require money. According to them, they were able to surpass these challenges with the help of their family, friends, and the assistance they get from the Open Heart Foundation Worldwide Inc. They also expressed how grateful they are for the support of OHFWI with their studies.

Executive Director, Ma’am Rosalinda Perez, concluded the session with a congratulatory message for the students as they are yet to survive another year in college. While it’s bittersweet to accept that most of them will be leaving the organization, the challenge for them now is to conquer the real world of the professional workforce.

Prepared by: Jay Frank Diaz, RSW

Program Area Coordinator


Monitoring Visit to Boac, Marinduque Beneficiaries

The Open Heart Foundation Worldwide Inc.’s (OHFWI) trip to Boac, Marinduque last May 9, 2023, had two major purposes: a courtesy call at the office of the Mayor and to discuss possible partnership through an MOU; and monitoring of the college beneficiaries of the Children and Youth Development Program (CYDP)

The visit opened an opportunity to meet in person the MSWD Head; Ms. Hazel Gonzales, RSW, and other LGU department heads and Staff. They were all interested to know what programs and services OHF has which could be extended to Boac. They mentioned the needs that the LGU needs but which could not be addressed because of the LGU’s budget constraints. They hoped that a partnership can be forged so that services of the Foundation can be availed of.

The Honorable Mayor, after reading the MOU immediately endorsed it to Sangguniang Bayan for hearing that same day and the OHF team was advised to just wait for the notification when the signing of the MOU will be scheduled.

Later in the afternoon, the OHF team met the 8 beneficiaries at Marinduque State College. The objectives of the meeting were to get updates and discussed issues and concerns encountered by the scholars. These scholars recalled the challenges they encountered along the way but they remained steadfast and continued to be grateful to the people who believed in them and helped them reach for their dreams.

Donations from Mercury Drug Foundation consist of Bottles of Lysol disinfectant and bath soaps were given to the student beneficiaries.

Prepared By: Maejorie Ortega, RSW

Program Area Coordinator

Monitoring news-archive

Monitoring Visit in Ubay, Bohol

Ubay is in the northeast of the province Bohol. It has 61 kilometers of coastline, the largest and most populated municipality. But it has the most devastated communities after the onslaught of Super typhoon Odette.

It was more than a year and still most families couldn’t send their children back to tertiary level. The Open-Heart Foundation visited the area last September 20, 2022 to realize its mission, of providing opportunities and experiences to develop the potentials and capabilities of the youth, the students got a chance to be interviewed. The screening of scholars in the area took place.

Last February 21, 2023 all the selected scholars were presented during the courtesy call with the Mayor and MSWD Officer of Ubay. The allowances for the School Year 2022-2023 were distributed during the visit.

The team introduced its program to the Executive Assistant of the Mayor and the MSWD Officer. The discussion was evocative, the expression of interest for the partnership was kindled. Both parties agreed to draft a Memorandum of Agreement for the formalization of partnership in the Municipality of Ubay.

During the monitoring visit, the meeting with the scholars was done separately. The students gave feed back on their first semester of the school year. The struggles they overcame and the challenges they experienced. All had passed the General Weighed Average requirement. The beneficiaries were all grateful for the benefits they received from the organization.

Prepared by: Davilyn Fajardo, Program Area Coordinator

Monitoring news-archive

Monitoring Visit in Enrile, Cagayan

On February 17, 2023, the OHF Team went to Enrile, Cagayan to visit the 2 CYDP Scholars who are still in third year college. Most of their batchmates who are two years ahead of them have graduated. WE arranged that the meeting will take place in the residence of one of the scholars,

Upon visitation, the team met and get to know Daisy’s parents. Daisy’s parents testified how grateful they were that their child is one of the foundation’s scholars and that the monthly allowance provided for their child is a great help for them to ease the financial burden of sending her to college considering the meager income the parents received in caregiving an old relative.

The parents were reminded of their roles and responsibilities as stipulated in the “kasunduan”

On the later part of the monitoring visit, the 2 scholars were given a chance to share the challenges encountered in school and updates about their lives. The  Program area coordinator gave them piece of advice and strengthened their resolve to focus on reaching their desired goals.

Prepared By: Maejorie U. Ortega, RSW, Program Area Coordinator

Monitoring news-archive

Monitoring Visit in Kabugao, Apayao

On February 16, 2023, OHFWI had a courtesy call with the LGU of Kabugao, Apayao. During the meeting, programs, where possible partnerships can be established, were discussed. The same day, OHFWI Staff met nine (9) newly admitted CYDP Beneficiaries from the area. Program Area Coordinator, Frank Diaz, facilitated the activity.

A former CYDP Beneficiary, Christian Irving, also attended the activity. He was given time to share his experiences in being part of the program and pieces of advice for the newly admitted beneficiaries as they go on in their respective journey of finishing their course with assistance from the OHFWI.

Board of Trustees Secretary of the OHFWI, Marlyn Fernando, also gave a message to the newly admitted beneficiaries. She emphasized the hope of the organization to give back the assistance that they receive through helping their younger siblings when they finish their respective courses.

In her message, the Executive Director of OHFWI Ms. Rosalinda Perez, reminded parents that the financial assistance given by the Foundation is not enough for the educational needs of the children. It is just an augmentation to what the parents provide. The responsibility to support still lies on parents; financially and morally.

The first batch of allowances for the new scholars was also distributed after the meeting.

Prepared by: Jay Frank Diaz, RSW, Program Area Coordinator