UP Cebu community joins hands to help beloved banana cue vendor’s recovery
CEBU CITY, Philippines - Criza "Lisa" Mendez, a banana cue vendor, has been serving the students, teachers, and alumni of University of the Philippines Cebu for more than 30 years.
She is the proud owner of the best-selling banana cue and pinaypay of Brgy. Lahug, Cebu. Her stall can be found inside UP Cebu High School, where she's seen by many as a motherly figure.
UP High School principal Dr Catherine Rodel shared that Manang Lisa has always been well-loved by the students, and has become an indelible part of the community.
“Manang Lisa cares for the students. She would allow students to make utang (loans) for snacks, especially to the ones who do not have any baon (allowance),” Rodel added.
However, Manang Lisa's world turned upside down when she suffered an aneurysm.
It was through a viral social media post by UP Cebu alumna Chastity Manuel Sermon that students found out their favorite banana cue vendor was admitted to Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center due to her aneurysm. A surgery to repair an aneurysm would cost about P200,000.
It was her way of giving back for all those years she found a lovable mother in Manang Lisa while studying in UP Cebu.
“She treats us all like her kids, always smiling and making us feel better if we are stressed with school. She’s close to us all from UP, and she's loved so much by both alumni and students," Sermon said.
The UP Cebu Student Council, along with its alumni, was quick to act. With the help of social media and a GoFundMe account, the student council was able to raise more than half of the amount needed for Manang Lisa's operation.
After her operation on Tuesday, February 4, Manang Lisa can now talk and eat properly. Aleza Mae Mendez, her daughter, gave her thanks to all those who donated to support her mother’s swift recovery. She recounts her experience with the doctors and UP graduates who were willing to come to the rescue.
“We were so happy. No one ever forgot about her. Everyone helped by giving medicine and our daily needs at the ward,” Mendez said.
Those interested in providing further financial assistance for Manang Lisa's recovery, may send in donations through any of the following methods:
- Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)
- Account name: Aleza Mae Mendez
- Account number: 1029217323
- Contact number: 09184762437
- UP Cebu Student Council's GoFundMe
John Tan Sitchon is a Rappler intern from the University of San Jose Recoletos in Cebu City. He tweets at @TheJohnSitchon.