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A lot of us cried – some were teary-eyed – we knew we did when we saw that sentimental yet heartbreaking Coke’s OFW Video on Facebook via Youtube.

A journalist-blogger paid a keen attention to the enlightening and moving family story sharing it via her website, FB and Twitter.

And the Ilonggo OFW’s father once going blind can now perfectly see!

Daphne Oseña Paez (her mom an Ilongga) spread the viral video to hundreds hoping some generous souls catch the attention of the Christmas story of OFW hero X-ray technologist Joe Marie Ballon whose father Juan had failing eyesight due to cataract.

Coincidentally, Daphne just hosted the launching of American Eye Center’s (AEC) new laser machine for cataract removal, giving her the bright idea that “vision could be totally restored by Alcon LenSx femtosecond laser surgery.”

Thus, she took the cue from Dr. Cesar Ramon G. Espiritu’s “live laser surgery on a 79-year old veteran who was already visually impaired but restored just after a 15-minute surgery!”

She referred through FB the concern to her AEC doctor Alnette Lee Tan. And the search for Juan was on. AEC’s Dr. Carmela Ongsiako at a meeting with Ayala Foundation’s Vicky Garchitorena got connected with Coke Foundation president Cecile Alcantara.

And the brighter journey began – the Ballon couple, Juan and his wife Julieta flew courtesy of AEC from Iloilo to Manila over the weekend, went straight to Greenbelt 5 where he had to undergo a few tests to determine if he qualified for the laser cataract surgery.

AEC’s ace doctors were on hand. Optometrist Dr. Cherry Ann Ferrer checked Juan’s visual activity. Dr. Sherman Valero performed retina exam. Dr. Norman Aquino, glaucoma specialist, screened for any signs of glaucoma on Juan and he passed the test and given clearance. Dr. Benjie Cabrera did the last check prior to surgery. Drs. Benjamin Cabrera and Richard Kho performed cataract surgery.

Dr. Kho did LenSx procedure on Juan’s right eye. “In layman’s terms, this femtosecond laser surgery zaps out the cataract and replaces it with new Alcon lens implants which are US FDA approved.”

In just few minutes, Juan sees the light – and his wife. “Klaro na! Kita ko na asawa ko! Ang laki na ng apo ko,” Anesthesiologist Dr. Arlene Hernandez translated.

Juan was reunited with his other OFW son Romulo and daughter in law for the first time. Romulo was home after working over 5 years from Saudi where Joe Marie also works.

Joe Marie got the good news by phone where he strives trying to send some bucks to save his father’s eyesight. Now, he got a wonderful Christmas gift even when he’s away from home and his family – big thanks to Daphne and AEC’s generosity.


Joe Marie is one of the 12 pioneer graduates and first ever Cum Laude and PRC Board Exam Topnotcher of BS Radiologic Technology of Iloilo Doctors’ College Class 1994.

He also Graduated with Honor and Best Intern in Associate in Radiologic Technology class 1993 and a topnotcher PRC X-ray Technology Board exam, according to Fernando Martin Fernandez on FB.

(Photo credits: Daphne Oseña Paez / http://www.daphne.ph)