Tears and cheers on Extreme Makeover Home Edition's latest project
Jomel Lapides used to spend most of his time studying for his board exams in their run-down, barely furnished home in a relocation site in Rodriguez, Rizal province. He would read book after book, turning each page with a strong determination to get a better life for his family.
His efforts were not wasted. Amid difficulties, the 21-year old construction worker’s son eventually topped the 2011 board licensure exam for nurses. Yet, his achievement was not enough to land him his dream hospital job in a country where the surplus of nursing graduates remains unemployed.
Luckily, he was able to find a job as a math and science tutor to get by. But even his income combined with his father’s meager salary as a laborer were not enough to pay for all the home fixes that needed to be done—their unfinished, hollow-block walls and weak corrugated metal roof which leaked and flooded their one-story, two-room house.
But Jomel did not let this set him back. On a fateful April morning, he made up his mind to write to TV5's “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Philippines” with the hope of finally having his family’s dilapidated abode renovated.
So when the Lapides family heard that their house was chosen out of more than a hundred entries, Jomel was overjoyed. “Once in a lifetime po itong pagkakataong ito. Para kaming nabigyan ng bagong direksyon, bagong pag-asa sa buhay,” he says.
Jomel also shares, “Hindi nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral ang mga magulang ko. Simple lang ang trabaho nila pero napaaral pa rin nila kami ng mga kapatid ko. Lubos akong nagpapasalamat dahil kahit minsan, di sila nawalan ng pag-asa na makakaahon din kami sa hirap.”
Milagros, Jomel’s mother, could not contain her astonishment and threw her bag in delight when the show's host Paulo Bediones signalled the unveiling of their new fully furnished two-floor home with two bedrooms and a terrace.
Jomel’s dad, Julie, broke in tears when he saw the new sewing machine unit in the living room. Ever since he was a lad, he has always been a tailor. But Julie had to give up his lifelong passion to make ends meet as a laborer. “Ito ay isang napakalaking biyaya. Nabigyan kami ng isa pang pagkakataon para sa mas magandang buhay.”
As a construction worker, Julie was also delighted with the sturdy quality of the CEMEX cement used. “Ngayon, tuwing umuulan, hindi na namin kailangan mag-alala na tutulo ang aming bubong at makakapasok ang baha galing sa kapitbahay. Mukhang makapal at matibay ang semento. Kahit ano pa ang panahon, magiging matatag ang aming bahay,” the Lapides patriarch says.
CEMEX Philippines sponsored the materials and applied their best practices for the construction of the Lapides home. “CEMEX is committed to support efforts that improve lives and help in nation building," said Paul Arcenas, CEMEX Philippines VP for Planning and Marketing.
CEMEX has helped build dignified, affordable housing for poor families in Mexico, Haiti and other parts of South America.
In the show, Country President Pedro Palomino led the CEMEX team in announcing the good news to the Lapides family and stressed that the work the company will do to assure them a new and sturdy house 'is a promise'. The Extreme Home Makeover project is aligned with the company's vision of improving Filipinos’ lives through better housing.
The CEMEX Philippines team with host Paulo Bediones and design team members Tessa Prieto Valdes and Tristan Jovellana CEMEX VP for Operations and Technical Miguel Estrada toured the Extreme Makeover team inside the company's Solid Plant in Rizal during the construction phase.
He shared that as a global company operating in more than 50 countries and maintaining trade relations with more than a hundred nations, CEMEX practices Sustainable Development as an integral part of its business operations which includes 'the permanent interest of the company to look after its surrounding communities'.
CEMEX VP for Human Resources Gina Eala, who led the unveiling of the Lapides’ home, remarks, “I am moved by the family’s desire to improve their lives and their will to make it happen. I admire their courage to seek out help from other people.”
Aside from a newly renovated and furnished home, Jomel and his family also received livelihood packages and educational scholarships.
Without a doubt, this marks an unexpected turnaround in the life of the hardworking Lapides, but for them, they will continue to live a simple life. “Kami ay lubos na nagpapasalamat para sa biyayang ito. Pero hinding hindi naming kalilimutan kung saan kami nanggaling. Hirap ang nagturo sa amin ng halaga ng pagpapakumbaba at pagsisikap,” Jomel says.