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That Thing Called Faith: A compelling story of triumph over death and the will to survive life’s b

Life in the family was normal. For us, we were at the point in our lives where we see things improving especially in our leather business. The Pajaron Leather Craft Store was the first and the only one in Medina, Misamis Oriental. Our six children went to school. I took care of the house and managed to work daily on the different household chores. We bought a house and lot in a modest subdivision and bought some properties around town, recounts Mrs. Irish L. Pajaron of Purok 10, Brgy. Cabug, Medina, Misamis Oriental.

But really, I realize sometimes that life hands you in the unexpected. No matter how prepared you are, at some point, you will be caught by surprise”, shared a teary-eyed Mr. Raul D. Pajaron or Rolly as he is fondly called. It was in 2009 that the latter suffered from a delibitating disease that made him bedridden for almost two years. The doctor found a spinal gout which needs to be immediately removed and operated. It may not be obvious, but the worsening condition of Rolly never dampened the couple’s spirit to survive. All the more that it made them strong as they knew that in everything they went through - God was there.

The couple’s strong faith in God took a twist last 2012 when Rolly went for a major sensitive operation on his spine at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro City. The financial need was huge. This would cost them to sell their house and lot and a couple of their hard earned properties. While each of their families were there to support them in any way they can, the burden to sustain the family’s daily need was at stake.


At the hospital, hours after Rolly was admitted to the operating room, Irish was called by the attending physician to announce the inevitable. Rolly didn’t make it. Refusing to believe what she had just heard, Irish prayed hard and spilled over her faith by praising and worshipping God inside the operating room in front of her husband’s lifeless body. And while the nurses were busy removing all the tubes attached to her husband’s body, a sudden beep from the heart monitor machine signalled Rolly’s triumph over death. He came back to life! The nurses together with the doctors continued the operation and finally declared Rolly out of harm’s way after several hours. Indeed, miracles do happen.

A teary-eyed Mrs. Irish Pajaron of Brgy. Cabug, Medina, Misamis Oriental, shares her harrowing ordeal after learning that her husband needs to go under the knife due to spinal gout. The cost of the operation was huge and the need was urgent.

The long and harrowing experience of the family did not end up with the slow recovery of Rolly. All five children had to stop schooling because the family was at the brink of financial meltdown. They have to transfer from living in a four-bedroom fully furnished bungalow house to a very small rented stall in the public market. On minimal living condition, the family settled for what was left of them - few pieces of furniture. Irish, exhausted and perplexed on what to do and where to get the money to provide her family with their daily needs, sought the help of her friends, relatives, and community civic groups. The response was overwhelming though. This included a donation for a 200 square meter lot from the religious community.

In one of his many shepherding activities in the community, Fr. Rufino “Pipoy” Cabagtingan, the parish priest of Medina at that time, visited the Pajaron family and witnessed first-hand how the family lived in dire poverty. With children sleeping on the floor on romblon mat without pillows and even rags to cover them, Fr. Cabagtingan’s heart was moved with compassion. This led him to buy a portion of lot and donated it to the family. He also advocated for support from well off members of the parish for construction materials so that Rolly and Irish can immediately build their shack.


More than a wife, an empowered woman like Irish was someone Rolly really needs in those perilous times. She is a person with indomitable spirit who does not settle for less but has the courage to survive and the vision to see the light at the end of the tunnel. “If it was not for her and her strong faith in God, I really don’t what could’ve happened to us in those days. With my condition, other women will opt to leave and abandon her almost of-no-use husband. But she chose to stay with me. A true testament of her undying love for me and our family,” narrates Rolly.

The chance to get a better life came when the family was identified as one among the many recipients of the