WATCH: What Gina Lopez sacrificed during years-long service in Africa

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 25 2019 12:48 PM | Updated as of Aug 25 2019 01:06 PM

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Environmentalist Gina Lopez was always described by her immediate family as "idealistic" and "out of the box," but none of her siblings thought that she could trade their comfortable lifestyle with years-long of humanitarian work in one of the world's most depressed regions.

In the 1970s, Lopez stopped her schooling in the United States to join Ananda Marga, a socio-spiritual organization which assigned her to do missionary work in Africa.

"Wala siyang unan, wala siyang kama, wala siyang banig, walang kahit na ano, basta natutulog siya sa semento," said Ernie Lopez, Gina's younger brother and ABS-CBN Publishing Inc. chief. 

Aside from material wealth, Lopez also sacrificed her relationship with her family during her nearly 20-year stint in the impoverished continent.

"I was surprised that when she joined, part of the requirement was to cut all ties with her family," said Raffy Lopez, Gina's sibling and former chief operating operating officer of ABS-CBN Global.

"My dad was very hurt. He lost his eldest daughter and he had no way to talk to her, and she would not talk to us," he said.

But Gina's decision to leave everything behind was "a window to the kind of person [she] is," Raffy said.

"If she sees something she believes in, she would commit herself wholeheartedly even if she also had to sacrifice her relationships with all of our family," he said.

Lopez eventually went back to the Philippines in 1991 where she started a family with her Ananda Marga colleague Sona Roy, and helped establish several charitable institutions under the ABS-CBN Foundation.

Lopez died on August 19, 2019 due to multiple organ failure. She was 65.