MANILA — Actress-philanthropist Angel Locsin was moved to tears by greetings from cancer patients and scholars she has helped over the years, during a surprise birthday celebration thrown by her “Iba ‘Yan” team.
The celebration, taped prior to Locsin’s actual 36th birthday on April 23, was hosted by her close friend and former co-star Angelica Panganiban. It was shown in the Sunday episode of the public service program.
Visibly surprised by the setup, Locsin was then shown a compilation of video greetings from her personal beneficiaries under the Cancer Warriors Foundation, and her scholars from Bukidnon.
“Sana marami pa kayong matulungan na mga tao na katulad naming nangangailangan. Salamat sa pagtulong sa amin,” young cancer patient Maynard Darang said.
“Isa po talaga kayong anghel,” Ysabelle Castillo, who is also fighting cancer, said.
Christopher Cayomoc, the coordinator of Locsin’s Bukidnon scholars, told her, “Taos-puso kaming bumabati ng happy birthday, at maraming salamat sa binigay mong tulong sa mga scholars at sa aming lahat.”
After watching the compilation, Locsin said she was surprised that the staff of “Iba ‘Yan” were able to track her beneficiaries.
Turning emotional, Locsin said: “Actually, nahihiya ako sa kanila, kasi ‘yung mga scholars natin sa Bukidnon, marami sila dati. Simula noong nawalan tayo ng franchise, hindi ko na mabigyan lahat.”
Locsin was referring to the franchise denial of her home network ABS-CBN by a congressional panel in July 2020. The decision resulted in shutdown of the free-TV broadcast of ABS-CBN and the subsequent retrenchment of thousands of its employees.
“Iilan na lang sila ngayon,” Locsin said of her scholars. “Kaya medyo hindi ako makapagpakita sa kanila, kasi nahihiya ako, kasi ‘yung commitment ko, hindi ko na maibigay sa kanila.”
“Hindi ko alam kung ano ang mararamdaman ko ngayon, kasi parang feeling ko kulang pa,” she added.
Locsin then paid tribute to the production team of “Iba ‘Yan,” thanking them for their dedication to help others, despite the risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, and the crisis that continues to beset ABS-CBN.
“Iba ‘yung passion niyo sa trabaho. Lagi ko kayo talaga ipagmamalaki dahil nakahanap ako ng grupo na iba ‘yung malasakit sa mga tao talaga. Hindi lang ‘to basta trabaho; serbisyo talaga ‘to.”
Locsin was also greeted by her a number of her showbiz colleagues, executives of ABS-CBN, as well as her family members.
Listed among Asia’s “heroes of philanthropy” by Forbes magazine, and a visible figure in relief efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic, Locsin drew national spotlight last Friday, her actual birthday, in relation to her community pantry where an elderly man died while in line.
Locsin apologized for incident, and pledged to help the family of the man who died.