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Biyaya: A blessing for furbabies & Fifty Shades of 'Kapon'

By KATHY MORAN, The Philippine STAR Published Mar 28, 2023 5:00 am

I have always been interested in pets,” said animal advocate Rina Ortiz. “My life with pets and animals began when I was five years old.”

Although Rina has spent her life as a rescuer, her commitment officially began when she set up Biyaya Animal Center (BAC), which is “an organization of diversity that came together with a goal to make a positive change in the companion animal welfare of the country through the eradication of rabies, and decreasing animal cruelty by humanely controlling the animal population through neutering.”

BAC president Rina’s aim is for Biyaya to become a one-stop shop which offers everything an animal needs.

“I am a rescuer and the reason Biyaya was born was because I couldn’t find the support to do the ‘trap, neuter, vaccinate and release (TNVR)’ procedure,” shared Rina. “Since we started Biyaya Animal Center last year, we have helped other communities. I really wanted to have a place where we have the facilities for TNVR as well as for treatment and adoption, too. The BAC animal hospital is open 24/7.”

Gift for the soul: Rina Ortiz at the Biyaya event.

On the Sunday that I visited Rina, she toured me around the hospital that she put up. I saw how much care, concern and thought has gone into the building and maintenance of the Biyaya Dog and Cat Hospital in Mandala, Mandaluyong.

With a mission to make the Philippines a rabies-free country and to improve the living condition of cats and dogs by providing low-cost and — in many cases—free neutering service, BAC works in cooperation with local government units and other institutions as well as individuals with shared values and advocacy.

“We are very much driven to change the animal welfare status in the country and therefore repurposing the meaning of veterinary services by launching the #AlagangBiyaya campaign—integrating veterinary services with a cause that benefits the welfare of all animals,” she said. “Veterinary care is almost the same for all, the only difference is that we are in the business of earning for the cats and dogs in need that we also service.”

We are very much driven to change the animal welfare status in the country and therefore repurposing the meaning of veterinary services by launching the #AlagangBiyaya campaign.

Biyaya runs a hospital with rates starting at P1,500 for emergency cases. The hospital was full with pet patients on that Sunday when I visited. It was evident that Rina is a hands-on president because she knows every nook and cranny of the hospital; she is even aware of what illnesses afflicting the cat and dog patients—or if they are at all contagious—in the areas we visited.

As she rattled off the ailments of each of the patients, she also informed me that Biyaya was born last year during the pandemic when she saw the need for such a facility.

“We stand resolute in doing everything we can to save, rescue and protect abused, neglected, lost and mistreated animals while serving the veterinary needs of pet owners and individuals,” she stressed. “Our main goal is to give love and hope to all animals, whether pets that are owned or the homeless out in the streets.”

Blessing for all

“Why the name ‘Biyaya’?” I asked.

Rina answered, “Biyaya because the animals we rescue and help are blessings sent to us, and in turn we are the blessing in their lives.”

Rescued cats and dogs for adoption

Last Sunday, March 19, Biyaya had its first-ever adoption event; the cats and dogs up for adoption that day were just a small fraction of the rescued pets that need to be rehomed.

The adoption event was attended by people from nearby areas who were looking to become pet parents for the first time. 

“Are you ready for the big, revolutionary news?” asked Rina at the event? “We are launching what we call ‘Fifty Shades of Kapon.’ We will provide kapon services at a flat rate of P50. This rate is applicable to pet owners whose animals are fully vaccinated and dewormed. We are trying to encourage people to take their animals and have them vaccinated and as a reward we will give them the kapon for P50.”

Truly a blessing: Biyaya Dog and Cat Hospital is 24-7 in Mandala, Mandaluyong

This is welcome news, indeed. Anyone who has had his or her animal spayed or neutered knows that it usually costs P1,000 or even more for such an operation.

“If you come to us and get your dogs and cats fully vaccinated, your prize will be free kapon,” she added.

The Fifty Shades of Kapon began last March 22 and runs until May 10. Rina promised that the P50 collected would go to the care of the shelter animals.

Street animals need homes, too

Rina knows there is much to be done for stray animals and believes that providing proper information to pet parents is important.

“I believe every pet parent can do what needs to be done with the resources at hand,” she said. “We can do what we need to do in our own little ways. Because every effort in turning the country into a rabies-free Philippines helps.”

Rina shared that it is important for them to support every animal owner that comes to BAC. Simply presenting them with ideas — on what they can do and how to go about it—works, as attested by Rina based on her experience through the years.

“Imagination is half the battle,” Rina said, pertaining to Biyaya. “I call it soul-building, I am not religious, but I pray all the time when I am about to rescue an animal. My work is a movement. I need to move, to do something, to learn more about what needs to be done. So, the acts of rescuing, talking, and convincing are all part of my soul-building.”

For Rina, being able to help animals and the owners that will come their way is how she is able to know and see that there is a God who looks out for all living beings. And by doing what she does, Rina Ortiz is able to provide blessings to even the smallest of creatures and, for herself, in turn feel blessed.

The Biyaya Animal Center team

Biyaya Animal center may be reached at:

Low Cost Spay & Neuter Clinic
873 Katarungan St. Plainview, Mandaluyong City (0917) 543-3444; 8708-4987 or [email protected]

Biyaya Animal Care-Rockwell
4th Floor South Joya Loft Towers, Rockwell Plaza Dr. Makati City (0917) 137-1157; 7120-8722 or [email protected]

Biyaya Animal Care-Mandala
312 Mandala Park, Pleasant Hill, Mandaluyong City