A father-son love story

Beyond providing me with the latest cellular phones, my own ATM account and other gadgets, my father [an OFW in Saudi Arabia] is instilling in me the value of sacrifice that has kept our family surviving to this point. Like other millions of Filipinos who endure both physical and emotional pain just to keep their families alive, my father is inspiring me to give my all in the name of love for our family. He never lets us down, and as homage to all his sacrifices, I too will give my best for him.

Those words were written by a young Jovan Cerda in 2008, reflecting on the sacrifices overseas Filipino workers in general — and his father in particular — have made for their respective families.

In 2009, Jovan’s father came home, but the reunion was bittersweet: he had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was obliged to retire from work to get healthy.

It’s been three years since then, and Jovan’s dad – or “Dada” as he’s called – is still battling the disease.

You will find that Jovan is making good on his word by paying, and recently attempting to raise money, for his father’s treatments. So far Jovan has only raised $420 of the $10,000 he has targeted, but he and his family continue to hope.

If you would be so kind as to read Jovan’s petition for help (http://igg.me/p/248479), perhaps contribute what you can, or share his story with others who may be able to contribute, it would be a great kindness.

… It must have been in 2010 when I met Jovan. At the time, we were both working for the same newspaper. He’s a likeable fellow, a little earnest, but quick to smile.

Given the nature of the job (literature in a hurry?), and perhaps because he was younger than I (he was 20 to my seemingly ancient 29), we hardly had a chance to bond and swap life stories when we were coworkers.

I do remember thinking it was a loss to the company for such a decent, hardworking kid to transfer elsewhere. However, I also noticed then that he seemed to be under tremendous pressure, and later learned that it was because his father was ill.

It was not without relief when I heard that Jovan had joined the online component of another publication; it meant that he could earn more money to foot the bills.

Again, if you can help in any way, it would be much appreciated.


  1. jovancerda · · Reply

    Hello, Jo. This is a very kind gesture, thank you so much. We’ve raised $620 now as we start day 2. Thirty two more days to go! Hope we make it. 🙂

  2. “It’s day two of our campaign and we’ve already raised $635. Still a long way to go, but I hope we make it!” – Jovan Cerda, Oct. 8, 12:31PM

    Right on!

  3. Hey Jovan, didn’t see your comment agad. This is lovely, what you’re doing, and the response so far. Your dad must be proud. Being reminded of what it means to be family, that’s priceless. Being reminded of the kindness of strangers is good for the soul, so thanks for that. Tara… let’s do this!

  4. the count’s at $880! thank you, more please!

    1. Thanks, Jo! Someone who checked your blog actually made a contribution. You are awesome. ❤

      1. lovely! this really made my day 🙂 to the good samaritan: you rock! such kindness will no doubt be repaid. many thanks!

  5. Oct. 15, 1:08PM – $1,245. 25 days left! thank you, more please!

  6. Oct 20, 12:57PM – 20 days left and the count has not moved from $1,345…

  7. Called home and received very good news about Dada’s condition. He just finished the first cycle of his treatment and now he can walk on his own; he no longer feels pain in his tummy and he feels much better compared to before. Come Tuesday, we’ll be going to the doctor again to start another cycle of treatment. I’d like to thank every one who has helped my family so far; I can’t stress hard enough how happy I am that things are starting to get better now. But it’s not yet over and we still have to fight. Also, we only have 20 days left in our Indiegogo campaign, and we’re really, really far from our target. 😦 I hope we get some push before the campaign ends. But for now, thank you so much, guys! Love, Jovan

  8. Down to 11 days and $1,455 now. Hoping for a windfall!

  9. UPDATE: Online fundraiser ended at $1,765. Thanks again!

  10. Hi, Just wanted to ask if you were able to gather a fund for Jovans Dada?
    I’m Lyza from Exlinkevents and wanted to ask if i could have your contact details guys,
    this is my contact XXXXXXX5623
    Huge Thanks

    1. Hi Alyssa,

      Through Indiegogo, Jovan managed to pool $1,765. I’m not privy to the total funds deposited in his bank account. Perhaps it’s best you get the information straight from him? I’ve given him your contact details of course (I took the liberty of erasing the first few numbers in your message above to protect your privacy). Thank you so much for your interest!

  11. It is with a heavy heart that I post here Jovan’s message in FB:

    “A few hours ago, while he was in a coma, I kissed my father for the last time and told him I love him. He died a few minutes later, ending his more than five years of battle with prostate cancer.

    My family is still dealing with a devastating loss and I’m still trying to adjust because this is something new to me, but I take comfort in the fact that my mother and my siblings are all stable and strong. We’re already done with the heavy crying part and we’ve already accepted my father’s fate even before this day happened.

    As we deal with this painful episode in our lives, I would like to send my heartfelt gratitude to all of you who supported me and my family- through simple messages asking me about my father’s condition, to actual donations to the Indiegogo campaign I set up last October 2012 to help Dada. I may not be too expressive in saying thank you, but please know that I remember every effort you did for me and my family. I cannot thank you hard enough and I’m sure my father is thankful for all your efforts.

    To my friends, I’ll just disappear for a while to spend some private time with my family. I don’t want you to see me grieving but don’t worry about me; I’ll be okay. Thank you and I’ll see you soon after all of this is over.

    To my father, wherever you are, I meant everything I told you in your last moments. I love you Dada, and I always will.”

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