Dear Friends,


Let us help the people of Vallerhermoso town in Negros Oriental rebuild their Saint Francis of Assisi Parish Church and their Parochial School by buying their exceptionally creative but reasonably-priced Christmas stars and cards.

Please contact the Vallehermoso Helping Hands Foundation through Miss Tess Lopez for details.

God bless you,

Toto Gonzalez   🙂   🙂   🙂


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Inquirer Visayas
Stars of hope, cards to rebuild school
By Carla Gomez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:43:00 11/20/2009

Filed Under: Education, Christmas

HELP REBUILD A school razed by fire. Buy cards and stars of hope this Christmas.

Fire destroyed the St. Francis High School in Vallehermoso town in Negros Oriental on Aug. 17, but it has rekindled the bayanihan spirit among students and members of the community, Tess Lopez of the Vallehermoso Helping Hands Foundation Inc., said.

“Buying a star and card is a meaningful gift to give this Christmas because we know that every purchase of these products will help ensure the educational future of hundreds of high school students,” Lopez said.

The stars are works of art of students of the burnt down school and the cards by pupils of the Vallehermoso Central Elementary School.

The Franciscan fathers built the school in the early 1950s. A one-story wooden building can accommodate about 500 students.

Since then, the school in the fourth-class municipality had graduated thousands of students, a number of whom have become professionals, Catholic priests and educators, Lopez said.

The school had encountered setbacks and inadequate educational facilities because of its relatively low tuition.

However, its dedicated teachers did not falter in giving a good Catholic education to its students, Lopez said.

Fr. Titus Em Zamora, one of the school administrators, was responsible for setting higher standards and imposing strict disciplinary measures to prepare the students for the challenges of a college life, she added.

But in the early morning of Aug. 17, disaster struck. Fire caused by faulty electrical wiring ruined the school and the nearby parish church.

It spread rapidly because the town did not have a fire truck, and nothing was saved, Lopez said.

Spirit of hope

Today, the school has been relocated to a nearby site, literally built from the ground up by community work. The parents built the classrooms from bamboo and nipa.

The present administrators, the Franciscan sisters headed by Sister Susan and academic coordinator Helen Parreño, are slowly trying to rebuild from the ashes, Lopez said.

With the help of the Vallehermoso Helping Hands Foundation Inc., Lopez said the students launched the star of hope “symbolizing that amidst the darkness, a star sparkles in the night lighting up a spirit of hope.”

The students have created beautifully handcrafted and brightly colored Christmas parol (lanterns). It is their contribution to help erect new classrooms, Lopez said.

“It is often said that during times of crises, the best of man comes out. Indeed, the fire has solicited the spirit of cooperation amongst the people of Vallehermoso,” she said.

Even the elementary pupils of the Central School of Vallehermoso have come up with their own paintings that were reproduced into note cards, packaged into sets of eight for sale.

In Bacolod City, the stars and cards will be available at the Negros Showroom.

Those interested may call Tess Lopez at 09178971567 or e-mail her at vallehelpinghands@yahoo.com or at tessl8@yahoo.com.

Copyright 2009 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

1 Comment

  1. lina elorde perez calvento said,

    January 18, 2011 at 6:39 am

    Ms. Lopez , please, contact Franco Villegas of the Diego dela Vina la Familia Sagrada Clan. The decendants of Don Diego dela Vina y dela Rosa , La Familia Sagraga , family clan all over the world will give their donations , if informed . We used to be niegbhors my dad inherited Cabulihan,Valmayor’s Macapso, Villegas, Serion,Morales ,Ollada, Tabun, and so on, I hope we can get in touch specially in regards to education, health,welfare of those less fortunate, in my former hometowns. I am in Sacramento/Carmichael, California.

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