Maryclaire Oncog (17) is the 4th child in a family of seven. Her father Alexis (55) is a musician and her mother Marilou (52) works as a barangay health worker during the weekend and a masseuse on weekdays. Maryclaire’s three older brothers are working in a local appliance store during the day and at night are musicians at resorts in nearby Panglao..
Even in her early years of elementary school, Maryclaire was very fond of cats. Whenever she saw abandoned kittens placed in sacks along the road, she took them home and she and her family looked after them. She has now six cats at home. In April she found and rescued two cats who had severe burns.
Those cats did not survive, and this incident strengthened Maryclaire’s feeling that she wanted to learn how to help sick and injured animals as the next step in her education. In February, prior to high school graduation, Maryclaire took and passed the entrance examination for Visayas State University (VSU) and in May she was approved for a City Scholar grant of 15,000 pesos per semester. Visayas State University, an Agricultural University, is in Baybay, Leyte, and is known for its standard of teaching. Maryclaire was delighted to enroll on June 3 for the Bsc course in Veterinary Medicine. She has regrettably lost the scholarship for political reasons. A new mayor was elected, and Maryclaire’s parents were not among the supporters of the new mayor.
Maryclaire was one of the young people who assisted me in searching for a veterinarian who would be willing to spay stray cats and dogs in the community at a reasonable cost. We found the Egos clinic in early June and since then we have had six cats and one dog spayed. Maryclaire heard that she had lost her scholarship in July so she called me from Leyte to ask me if there was any possibility of a loan to enable her to complete the semester. The ﬁrst ofﬁcial examination is in the third week in August at which time she will then need to pay her tuition fees and laboratory and apparatus fees. Maryclaire will be assisted by her parents and older brothers for the loan repayments and she is conﬁdent that she can afford to repay this loan. She is hoping that she will be able to obtain a scholarship from VSU or be a working student for the second semester.
Maryclaire is determined to study and learn more about veterinary medicine, as she knows that having knowledge about animal care will give her the ability to rescue and nurture abused animals. Being able to help Maryclaire is an unexpected result of our activity of spaying stray cats and dogs. We at the PSHF have been trying to instill good values in our local teenagers, particularly with regard to being kind to animals and mindful of the environment. Maryclaire has these values and the motivation to help; we are glad to help her pursue her dream of becoming a vet.
Ireen O. Ingles
Maryclaire holding one of cats she rescued with her parents, Alexis and Marilou.