Carmina Villarroel pursues charity tradition to mark 33rd birthday

Carmina Villarroel celebrates her birthday every year at the PhilippineOrthopedic Center (POC) in Banawe, Quezon City. "Parang instead of celebrating my ownparty gusto ko i-celebrate sa kanila kasi hindi lang ako ‘yong natutuwa, masmarami pa akong kids and magulang na napapasaya, somehow natutulungan kahitpapaano," explained Carmina. Above, she greets a patient at the Center.


Actress-hostCarmina Villarroel celebrated her birthday again at the Philippine OrthopedicCenter in Quezon City yesterday, August 30. She was accompanied by hersister Rhea and 11-year-old niece Bea.

Giving a treat to the child-patients of the POC has been a yearly tradition for Carmina. This year, she was elated by the support of various sponsorsand her good friend, Gelli de Belen, who donated some of the grocery items for the kids' parents.

"Paranginstead of celebrating or having a party, parang mas enjoy na nakiki-party kasa kanila. Kasi, di ba, masarap 'pag nag-a-attend ka ng children's party? Kasihindi naman na ako bata, so, ito na lang," smiled Carmina in a conversation withPEP (Philippine Entertainment Party) a few minutes after handing out goodies to the kids.

Unlike in previous years, however,Carmina—whose real birthday is August 17—was not able to tag along her adorabletwins Mavy and Cassy because of a sports activity they could not afford to miss.Interestingly, Carmina's decision to celebrate with underprivileged kids began when she became a mother.

"Simula noong nagkaroonako ng anak, mas lalo ‘yong attachment ko sa mga kids. They reallyhave a soft spot in my heart kasi parang inisip ko, what if 'yong mga anak ko'yong nasa kalagayan nila? Ewan ko, masyado akong nata-touch kapag mga bata na‘yong affected."

Askedto the describe her feelings in sharing her blessings, the33-year-old television personality replied, "It's very humbling," adding that seeingkids derive pleasure from simple gestures is enough to remind her to be happyand contented.

All of the kids confined at the POC are being treated forvarious orthopedic injuries. It is common to see children loitering insidethe hospital in a wheel chair or in a cast.

"Angsarap nga ng feeling kasi 'yong presence mo pa lang, sobrang na-appreciate nanila. 'Tapos ‘yong mga small things, kunwari laruan, 'tapos makita lang nila siJollibee o mabigyan mo lang sila ng pagkain, sobrang ang happy-happy na niladespite their condition.

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"Karamihan ng mga bata diyan may mga nakatusok na kunganu-anong mga metal. 'Tapos ‘yong iba naman nagki-chemo. Ang dami-dami nilangkaramdaman pero parang nakakagaan ng loob, parang nakakalimutan mo ‘yong mgabigger problems ‘pag nakita mo silang nag-i-smile."

As she turns anotheryear older, Carmina's birthday wish remains plain and simple.

"Walana 'kong mahihiling for myself," she said. "Siguro ang pinaka-wish ko na langis good health for me and for my family. Sana maging tuluy-tuloy na langwhatever I have now or whatever I'm doing now, sana maging tuluy-tuloy lang."


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