Community, Kwentong Chinoy

From Generation to Generation: How the Filipino-Chinese Women’s Association Lifts Up Senior Women

How the Filipino-Chinese Women's Association Lifts Up Senior Women

In the heart of Manila’s bustling streets, a group of remarkable women has been quietly making a difference for decades. These are the women of the Filipino-Chinese Women’s Association (FCWA), a beacon of hope and support for senior women in the community. From its inception in 1952, the FCWA has been dedicated to uplifting and empowering elderly women, ensuring they are cared for, respected, and valued.

The WARO Philippine Chapter

The roots of the FCWA can be traced back to the tumultuous years of 1937. Following the Lugon Bridge incident in Beijing and the onset of the anti-Japanese war, the ‘Wartime Auxiliary Relief Organization’ (WARO) Philippine Chapter was formed. Under the visionary leadership of Mrs. Dee C. Chuan, Mrs. Yu Kai Thai, and Mrs. James V. Limpe, this early incarnation of the FCWA spearheaded efforts to assist China during the war.

Their efforts ranged from dramatic fundraising campaigns to the tireless work of volunteers sewing sacks for wounded soldiers and refugees. These endeavors raised over one million pesos and dispatched more than a million ‘help the wounded sacks’ to China.

Revival and Commitment to Service:

Despite the challenges brought by the Japanese invasion in 1942, the spirit of service remained undeterred. In 1952, the three visionary leaders rekindled their mission by forming the Filipino-Chinese Women’s Association, with Mrs. Teh Siu Yong Limpe at its helm for an impressive 49 years.

 Founder and head of the Filipino-Chinese Women’s Association.

Portrait Painting of Mrs. Teh Siu Yong Limpe –

The association’s objectives expanded beyond wartime relief to encompass women’s welfare, humanitarian aid, and disaster relief. Their commitment was evident in their response to major calamities such as the 1964 Gandara and Benavidez street fire and the 1968 Metro Manila earthquake. Collaborating with organizations like the International Red Cross and the Chinese Embassy, the FCWA demonstrated its unwavering commitment to aiding those in need.

A Home for the Aged Chinoy Women

Mrs. Limpe’s compassion and foresight led to the establishment of the ‘Filipino-Chinese Home for the Aged Women’ in 1973. This haven in Malinta, Valenzuela, provided free boarding and lodging to thirty-five elderly women who were homeless or without familial support.

Mrs. Limpe and Other Officers Bought the Land Where Filipino Chinese Home for Aged Women

Mrs. Limpe’s compassion and foresight led to the establishment of the ‘Filipino-Chinese Home for the Aged Women’ in 1973.. They bought a land in Manila, Valenzuela.

To ensure the sustainability of this initiative, Mrs. Limpe and her fellow members envisioned the ‘Retreat & Recreation Center for Women’ in 1986. This center, funded by generous donations, features 22 apartments whose rental income supports the operations of the Home for the Aged Women.

Over the years, the FCWA has evolved to meet the changing needs of its members. In 1993, the association acquired an office unit, facilitating regular gatherings and offering a range of activities from Chinese exercise dance, fitness exercises, and cooking classes to choral singing, all free of charge to its nearly 400 registered members.

Leadership Transition and Continued Service:

From 1999 to 2010, Mrs. Pilao Ong King (Dy Siok Ben) led the association as President for 11 years. During this period, my mother, Juanita Di Yao, served as one of the vice presidents until 2002, dedicating nearly 46 years of her life to the association. 

Following Mrs. King’s tenure, Mrs. Betty Lime No (Lim San Yao) took the helm from 2011 to 2023 for 12 years, including Rose Liao Tan, serving as one of the vice presidents. However, the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 to 2023 presented significant challenges. During this period, the association temporarily halted the acceptance of new applicants to the ‘Home for the Aged Women’. 

In 2024, Rose Liao Tan was elected as President, marking a new chapter in the association’s leadership.“In 2023 October I decided to ask her [former president] permission to activate and to increase our number of elders since we had 16 [residents] before COVID and it was becoming only 10 [residents] after COVID,” Rose shared. 

Tita Rose Tan, President of Filipino-Chinese Women Assocication

Tita Rose Tan, President of Filipino-Chinese Women Assocication

Unfortunately, some elderly women passed away, while one moved to be with her sister and now only has seven residents remaining. Rose continued, “and the other one is under the care of Dr. Tan Chong Chiong up to now for the treatment of Alzheimer’s.”

On March 2, 2024, FCWA announced that they are now accepting new applicants for residency at the Filipino-Chinese Home for Aged Women. “We started receiving applicants with three pending right now, ” Rose added.

Join FCWA in Making a Difference:

If you are inspired by their mission and interested in supporting the residents at the Filipino-Chinese Home for Aged Women, President Rose expressed her heartfelt gratitude, saying, “I want to thank the community for their good hearts, to the charity for sending so much support, not only coming to visit them [but also bringing] them food, letting them enjoy and have activities like today. Our Ateneo group came in—we are really happy that that makes them joyful.”

Ateneo Students Dancing with the Amas ar Filipino-Chinese Home for Aged Women

Ateneo Students Dancing with the Amas ar Filipino-Chinese Home for Aged Women

Your contributions, whether through donations, volunteering, or advocacy, can make a significant impact on the lives of elderly residents. You can visit the Amas at 850 General Molina Street Bagbaguin Molina Valenzuela.

For inquiries or to learn more about how you can support them, please visit them at Room 401, Le Mar Ben Condominium, 676 Florentino Torres St., Sta. Cruz, Manila. Together, all of us can continue to uphold the legacy of compassion, unity, and service that defines the Filipino-Chinese Women’s Association.

Watch our special Mother’s Day feature ‘Mga Kuwento ni Lola’ launched by Ateneo students:

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