I love you, 3000th wish!

Make-A-Wish Foundation PH grants a boy’s dream to reach the skies

Manila Bulletin, 9 August 2019

“I love you 3000” was as memorable as the movie where the line came from. But in Make-A-Wish Foundation Philippines, it takes on a whole new meaning as they’ve granted the 3000th wish made by Mark Jamir “MJ” Cantuangco.

MJ is a young boy diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. Currently, he’s undergoing treatment at the Philippine General Hospital.

Growing up in Cavite, MJ has never experienced riding on an airplane. But despite that, he loves looking up at the clouds, watching the planes fly, and often wonders how it feels “to be in the sky” for he aspires to become a pilot when he grows up.

And with the help of real-life heroes composed of volunteers and sponsors working with the foundation, MJ’s wish came true.

“We are so grateful to have real-life heroes who believe in our mission and work with us in transforming lives, one wish at a time. We are celebrating this milestone of granting the 3,000th wish in the Philippines and we could not have done all these without the support of our volunteers, sponsors and partners,” said Ana Chua, president of the Foundation.

As a preparation for his first take off, MJ visited the Philippine Airlines Flight Simulation Center. Here, he got to experience riding a flight simulator and spent the day with three pilots who taught him about the technical aspects of a commercial airplane.

On August 5, with the help of Marc Soong, president of Autostrada Motore, Inc., together with First Aviation Academy, MJ successfully lead his first flight. He even experienced underground schooling by Capt. Janine Alcantara;be in a simulator with Capt. Mike Tan, and fly a four-seater plane with Capt. Bryan David.

That day, MJ wasn’t the only one who reached cloud nine, but also everyone who made his dream turn to reality. They know they will always look back on this day with fondness, joy, and hope shared with a young boy bravely battling a critical illness.

MJ wasn’t the only one who reached cloud nine, but also everyone who made his dream turn to reality.

Dani Girl: Of sickness, songs and hope

“Why is cancer?”

Far from sitting back and letting her leukemia take over, nine-year old Dani sets off on a whimsical quest to find her hair and figure out the answer to the question, “Why is cancer?”.

Together with her best friend and guardian angel, they go on a journey with lightsaber duels, game shows, space ships and all the silly games in between, showing that a child’s imagination and fighting spirit have no bounds.

“Dani Girl: A Musical About Hope” by Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond celebrates the childlike innocence, wonder, imagination, courage and hope that people often forget and lose as full-fledged adults.

The play first premiered in Manila in 2014 as the maiden production of The Sandbox Collective. The show received wide acclaim from audiences and critics. Stage actress Lea Salonga called it “perfection” in its simplicity and execution, while METRO Magazine praised it as a play that “refreshes the mind and soul and touches your heart and spirit.”

On the musical’s restaging this year, Make-A-Wish Philippines seized the opportunity to partner with The Sandbox Collective. “What Dani Girl offers the audience is what we strive to give whenever we make the wish of a child with a critical illness come true. Our mission is to transform children’s lives with hope in those moments they need it the most,” said Ana Chua, president of Make-A-Wish Philippines.

The show on September 1, 8:00 PM, will be an avenue for the foundation to raise funds to make more wishes come true for Filipino children battling not just with cancer but with other life-threatening conditions such as blood disorders, cardiac problems, kidney neuropathies, and more.

‘We may or may not know the answer to ‘Why is cancer?’ or ‘Why these other illnesses?” but we do know the answer to ‘Why is hope?’… Hope improves the lives of our wish kids, volunteers, partners and staff. Hope transforms lives, one wish at a time. May we keep on sharing hope,” added Chua.

 “Dani Girl: A Musical about Hope” on September 1, 8:00 PM, will be co-sponsored by RBA-Aljay, Jollibee, and PBA, with WhenInManila.com as media partner. For ticket reservations, please contact 09159573020 / info@makeawish.org.ph. Tickets are also available through www.ticketworld.com.ph.

Thank you, Kuya TJ!


Before #MakeAWishPH wish granter, Kuya TJ, passed away – his dream was to bring the kids whose wishes he granted (through Spike For Hope) to Enchanted Kingdom. This is how his family fulfilled that dream. ✨

“I wish to be a fashion designer!”- Erica Lei

In September 2011, we helped grant Erica’s (13, medulloblastomata) wish as she was mentored by Filipino designer Rajo Laurel to create a fashion line, and even witnessed it modeled on the runway.