Who Cares for Pasig’s Poorest?

March 2, 2007

They are medical doctors and pastors rolled into one. He is also one of the founding directors of the Real Life Foundation. The effectiveness of their ministry is due to a focused strategy.  Their area of focus is Pasig more particularly among the students of Rizal High School.

Rizal High School is located at Dr. Sixto Antonio Avenue, Caniogan, Pasig City, Metro Manila. It has been cited by he Guinness Book of World Records as the “largest high school in the world” since 1993. Today, it has a student population of more than 25,000.

Its Alumnae include former Senator Neptali Gonzales, former Senator Jovito Salonga, former Senator Rene Saguisag, Maestro Lucio San Pedro, and National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco, to mention a few.

Clearly this place is a hotbed of future leaders .85 % of its student population however are very poor. They walk to school and come from families with incomes averaging 8-15 thousand pesos (US $ 160 – 300) a month. They come from dysfunctional families that need more than just money.

Yet, in the midst of these, the school boasts of brilliant students who excel in National academic contests, Math and Science Quizzes, Arts, Journalism contests, Sports and Music.

So, who cares for Pasig’s poorest? They are Drs. Joey and Tess Castro. I have known Joey and his wife Tess (both medical doctors) for more than 10 years and have seen them quietly serve this community with everything from providing free medical assistance, counselling and child care. And now through the Real Life Foundation they are providing some of these students with concrete steps to go through college.

What has impressed me all these years with Joey and Tess is the humility and joyful attitude they have in the midst of all the direnes that surrounds them. Where they get the seemingly endless energy and smiles is a wonder.

On weekends their local church Victory Christian Fellowship Pasig hauls squatter kids by the hundreds and bring them to their center. They teach them how to brush their teeth, wash their face, cut their nails and other hygienic practices.

More importantly they have discipleship and leadership programs both for the High School students and little children. But what is most admirable is how they have raised these young men and women to become leaders who make leaders as well. What this means is that all this work is long term and is sustainable.

Last Night I was with Joey Castro at the Van Hagen and Van Hagen Exhibit at the Shangri-la Hotel in Makati. Dutch artists Alex and brother Hans Van Hagen have elected to donate proceeds to the Real Life Foundation. Alex is a member of Victory Christian Fellowship – Fort Bonifacio and is part of our discipleship group that meets at the Every Nation Building on Thursday evenings.

Thank you Joey and Tess for your wonderful example that you both are and thank you Alex and Hans for your generosity and love for our country.

If you wish to know more about or support the Real Life Foundation you can best access them through this link: Real Life Foundation



  1. thank God for Doc Joey & Tess, Dave and the rest of the RLF team. they are doing a great job serving the students of RHS & beyond.
    i enjoyed the Van Hagan Bros exhibit last night. they are true artists. beautiful stuff.
    thx for letting the world know what some of these unsung heroes are doing.

  2. […] Dr. Joey Castro was recently featured in Pastor Joey Bonifacio’s blog. To view the article please click on the link: Who Cares for Pasig’s Poorest? […]

  3. hi this is mayie, rizal high teacher, i certainly agree with you po, for i know and witness how our leaders really go out of their way to touch lives and bring hope in the lives of our students in Rizal high.. God is really using these people and all of u who work and partner with us in turning our students’ dreams into reality…we know that because of this, we believe so much of what Pasig can do, of what will it be for there are people who sincerely care for them, we thank God for doc and atetess and all of you for loving your calling with a passion which will truly give meaning to this generation and the generations to come.Thank you.

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