Cathy Babao Guballa: When Children Get Ill

The founder of Migi’s Corner, Cathy Babao Guballa, speaks with Dr. Heidi Horsley during an Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) conference. As a writer and grief educator, Guballa created Migi’s Corner as a space in pediatric charity wards throughout the Philippines. It was founded in 1998 after Guballa’s four-year-old son, Migi, died from complications during an open heart surgery. Children who are confined to hospitals in the Philippines have a very different experience compared to American children. There’s no such thing as a “children’s ward” actually designed to comfort and entertain children. That’s changed a bit since then, but Migi’s Corner was the first.

Guballa created play materials and books, and was shocked by the response from around the world. There are now Migi’s Corners around the country, providing a more enjoyable space for children and families in hospitals. Today, there are over 14 Migi’s Corners in the Philippines. There are Migi’s Rooms, Wards, and Gardens. So many children have benefited, which has helped in Guballa’s own grief journey.

A Better Experience

At first, it was very difficult for Guballa to return to the hospital. It was only six months after Migi’s death. However, it was a means of honoring his memory and she quickly fell into the spirit of service. When you help others, you also help yourself. Stepping out of your grief lightens your own burden. She’s seen many children through the years, and it’s like seeing a part of her son come alive again.

She had promised Migi, right before he died, that she would do something incredible to help other children in similar situations. Today, she’s proud to have honored this promise and continues to ensure Migi’s Corner grows. Fortunately, other similar projects have also been created.

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