Nanay Cecil – A Joyful Journey with PLHIV Community in the Philippines

Her full name is Cecille Bacaylan Launio but she is better known to the PLHIV community as “Nanay Cecil” (Mother Cecil).

As do people in other parts of the world, Filipinos regard mother as the one associated with caring and nurturing, love and attention for the sick family members.

Her and her son’s stories are almost the same.

Nanay Cecil attended the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial (IACM) at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.  She was invited to share her journey as a mother and caregiver to her PLHIV son who passed away some months back.

“Sa totoo lang, na excite ako ng matanggap ko yung invitation na mag share ako ng story naming ng anak ko. Pero may takot din kasi ibang grupo ito…mas Malaki at hindi ko kilala lahat,” she admitted (Truth is, I was excited to share our story when I received the invitation. I also got scared, this is a big group and I didn’t know anyone).

She went on to say, “ Sana ako ang huling nanay na magbabahagi ng kwento ng anak na nagkaroon ng HIV, nagkasakit at namatay sa opportunistic infection.” (I hope I will be the last mother who would share the story of her child who had HIV, got sick and died of opportunistic infection).

Nanay Cecil expressed her desire to encourage those who are HIV positive that quality life is possible despite infection as long as they gain access to treatment, listen to and follow their doctors.

Nanay Cecil expressed her desire to encourage those who are HIV positive that quality life is possible despite infection as long as they gain access to treatment, listen to and follow their doctors.

Nanay Cecil’s son passed away after only 4 years and 9 months of being HIV positive.

She is still active in providing psychosocial support to the PLHIV who need a treatment partner but are unable to disclose their condition to their parents due to several reasons like the parents being too old and sick to be additionally burdened by their child’s health situation or they are living far from where the PLHIV is accessing the treatment.

She feels grateful for the opportunity she has to take care of PLHIV and she feels that they draw strength from her presence in their lives.

She took care of her son and was his treatment partner. She closely looked after her son’s treatment regimen and was the first to surrender his medicines to the treatment hub when she found out that he had gone on a drug holiday.

She understood the many challenges her son had to face as PLHIV and was pained by the realization that her love and care and the whole family’s attention could not provide enough support and strength to her son.

For her, International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is a celebration of love and life.

Through her sharing, she would like to encourage the newly diagnosed Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) to disclose their condition to their families.

Significant others like her can provide psychosocial support but there would always be boundaries and limits to nurture and care she can provide as there will always be priorities to be taken care of.

The initial months and first year is the scariest for her adopted children.

She goes to consultations with them; especially when they get opportunistic infection.

At times, they compete for her attention.  She usually plans her role in their lives in such a way that in 2 to 3 years’ time they can be on their own.

She is grateful for the countless PLHIV she has taken care of; who are enjoying quality life and are back to a productive life.

She said that this is her commitment and contribution to the efforts of achieving Triple Zero – Zero to new infection, Zero new deaths due to AIDS, Zero discrimination against People Living with HIV and their affected families!!!


If you need assistance, please contact Pinoy Plus at their home page, a Sub Recipient of Global Fund managed by APN Plus. Pinoy Plus responds to the treatment, care and support needs of People Living with HIV.

PS. Photo of the Manila skyline is provided with courtesy from and is unrelated to the story.