Filipino community helps family get through its ‘worst week’

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

July 30, 2013

DALY CITY, Calif. – These days, more than ever, faith keeps the Ragasa family going. Recently, this family of five, Norman, Mariluz and their children, Azja, Ava and Aidan, experienced the worst week of their lives.

Their nightmare began on Sunday, July 14.

Mariluz was on an educational field trip with her children at the Little Manila Historic Site in Stockton when she felt ill.

“I had difficulty breathing. It felt that I had liquid coming up my lungs,” she shared.

Hours later, she asked her husband to bring her to the hospital. She had suffered a heart attack.

Just four days after she was rushed to the hospital, the Ragasa family received another piece of bad news: the home where they lived in for 35 years caught fire.

At past noon on Thursday, July 18, firefighters responded to a single-alarm fire, possibly caused by electrical failure in the Ingleside Heights neighborhood.

Mariluz and her family, as well as her elderly parents and brother, share that home.

They don’t have insurance on their properties, due to an ongoing wrongful foreclosure litigation against their lender.

“That’s where you live. It’s part of your life. It’s like a little part of your life is being cut away from you, burned away from you,” said Azja.

The fire also killed their pet, Aloysius.

“He was like our little brother,” said Azja, sobbing.

Just when they thought they couldn’t take it anymore, in came another challenge. On Friday, July 19, Norman and all the children were on a car that skidded and almost rammed onto a pole in the middle of a road.

“I couldn’t stop the car. I was saying, ‘God, if there’s somebody who’s going to die from this, let it be me, because I just want my children to have a future,” said Norman.

The Ragasas have managed to keep their faith strong despite the series of unfortunate events.

Friends, even strangers, have come together to provide them food and clothing.
Through the Facebook Page, titled “Mariluz and Norman Ragasa Emergency Fund”, the Filipino community have been raising funds for them.

The Red Cross has also provided the family with temporary shelter.

“I believe God has a plan for us. I don’t know what it is. Bu we have to accept the graces that are coming in,” said Norman.

“I know that there’s hope. There’s hope for us and it’s just become full circle. All the help that we’ve given to others…now it’s our turn to receive it,” concluded Mariluz.

For more information, you may contact Henni Espinosa at

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