This portion of the website is updated quarterly.

Address: Barrio Anito, 9100 Mambajao
Camiguin Province, Philippines
Phone: (63) (88) 387-10-77
Web address:


Dear Friends,


           I made my annual visit to Camiguin in mid-February and left shortly after Easter.  As always, I enjoyed going around the island and seeing many of the children whom we assist, especially those attending the two government run rehab centers and the two public elementary SPED classes.  It was nice to see the progress these children are making. 

      A number of parents also brought their children to our “office”, which is the veranda of the apartment we rent.  This is where Lea lives and where I stay during my visits.  The families find their way to us via referrals from midwives or nurses at the rural health units and the hospital or just by word of mouth from other families who were helped in the past.  It is not unusual when Lea and I are out going around the island with our manager, Jesse driving, that someone comes up and gives us an update about their child whom we helped years ago.

      I also made a trip to Cagayan de Oro, to see some long time friends.  While having dinner with one of them she asked me if we had any children who might benefit from a wheelchair.  I told her I would have to discuss this with Lea, and get back to her. 


     When Lea and I looked over the list of children receiving physical therapy and not yet walking, we thought Irish May might be a candidate for a wheelchair.  As mentioned in our last newsletter, she is five years old and had just recently started sitting tailor fashion while supporting herself with her hands. She also has undeveloped eyes and probably only sees light and shadow. A wheelchair specially fitted to her size would help support her upper body and free her hands so she could use them. And her family lives in a flat area so they could take her out around her barrio to socialize with other children and adults.  I got back to my friend in Cagayan and we sent the needed information. Irish May was approved and a short time later her parents brought her to Cagayan for the fitting and they came home the next day with the wheelchair. The chair also has a removable tray, so she can hold and manipulate toys and start learning to feed herself. Judging by the pictures, she seems to be quite happy in the chair with her arms stretched out wide. (You can see pictures on our website.) The wheelchair was provided by a Rotary club in Australia and fitted by technicians at Capital University in Cagayan de Oro.

       We are urging Irish May’s parents to continue to have her play and move around on the floor and practice her sitting alone and standing with support. She should not sit in the wheelchair all of the time.

      Then, we thought seven year old Mico, also mentioned in our last newsletter, might also benefit from a wheelchair.  His mother has just informed Lea that she would no longer be able to bring him to the rehab center for his PT.  She was due to deliver a new baby and anyway, he was becoming very heavy for her to carry to the nearest public transportation.  This family also lives in a flat area, so Mico could get out of the house and be brought around the neighborhood and even to the elementary school. We have sent the paper work for Mico and hope he will be approved.  One problem is that he won’t travel anywhere without his mother and with the new baby his mother cannot bring him to Cagayan.  We are hoping that one of the technicians could bring the wheelchair and do the fitting in Camiguin. 

 When we visited the rehab center in Sagay, on the other side of the island, I brought a hand-me-down musical toy from my grandchildren for the children to share while they are having their PT sessions.  The minute the first child hit the piano-like keyboard, and they heard the musical sound, almost every child in the rooms looked up and many of them tried to make their way over to the toy.  Each of them got a turn and two of them shared the keys at the same time. This simple toy was quite a hit.


     Several more children with cleft lips and palates, born in 2017 were brought to us in the first few months of 2018.  So the final tally for 2017 was eight newborns.  This is up quite a bit from the usual three to four per year.  And we already have three new cases born in 2018.

      One of the 2018 newborns has had a pretty tough start on life.  Lea and I found out about him when we went to the Mambajao hospital to check to see if there were any preemies as we want to help the families of premature babies get to Cagayan de Oro for eye check-ups to be sure they aren’t developing retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), if they cannot afford the transportation to the city.  They did indeed have a preemie.   Mark Gabriel was born at 35 weeks gestational age via emergency C-section because the mother had severe eclampsia.  His weight was 1.6 kilos (3 ˝ pounds). The very next day his single mother was transferred by ambulance to Cagayan de Oro in kidney failure.  She needed kidney dialysis, and her church is helping her with the hospital bills.

      Meanwhile, Mark was born with a bilateral partial cleft of the lip and a cleft of the soft palate (the posterior part).  Since Mom was not there, one of the doctor’s who was already nursing her own baby began nursing Mark. He was able to suckle because only the back part of the palate was open. One of the nurses was pumping her breast milk for him as well. He was discharged after his weight reached 2.5 Kilos (5 ˝ pounds) and we assisted a relative to bring him to Cagayan to have his eyes checked.  His Grandmother stayed behind to continue to look after Mark’s three older siblings, aged nine, seven and five. He has been back again for another check up and, so far, his eyes are doing ok.  His mother is doing better and we hope they can soon be reunited.


           Among the deaf students whom we are assisting in Mambajao, 18 year old Renante will be promoted to Grade 6. Gian Carlo will continue in Nursery level.  Both boys are mainstreammed into the regular classes for Math. They are hard workers. And in Alangilan, Jovanne who is deaf will be in Grade 2 in the SPED classroom. He received an award at the end of the school year: Most Outstanding Student. Hera Jane, also deaf will be promoted to Grade 1.  And John Paul, who has a developmental delay, will be promoted to Grade 2, still in the SPED classroom.  He also received an award for Most Outstanding Student for the year.  And we expect another eight year old boy who is deaf to start when classes resume in June, 2018.




Grace & Peace,



    Contributions are IRS tax deductible (ID#42-1087104) and eligible for matching by employers.  They should be payable to "Family to Family, Inc.".  If in U.S. dollars, they should be sent to:

Family to Family, Inc.

c/o Availa Bank

126 W 6th St.

Carroll IA 51401-2341

    Packages and peso checks should all be sent to:

Diane Palmeri

Barrio Anito, 9100 Mambajao

Camiguin Province



    Letters should be sent to:

Diane Palmeri

3903 Pearl Avenue

Sophia, NC 27350

United States



Irish sitting on her own.

Irish in her donated wheelchair.


Diane holding three month old Louise, who has a bilateral cleft lip and palate.


Diane explaining to Mico's mother that he should have something between his knees to keep his legs from crossing.


Diane showing Nino Angelo's mother how to stretch his thighs to lessen the scissoring of his legs.


Luis and Gal Daniel sharing the musical toy.


Mothers and children at the rehab center.


For photos of children being assisted, click here.



Web Administrator:

Marie Palmeri