Angelica Ligas The Caring Filipina Nurse

This Filipino nurse proves that a little luck, hard work, and optimism can go a long way — even from rock bottom to the height of success.

When Angelica Ligas was a young girl growing up in Bulacan, she never imagined that one day she would be standing on a stage in Florida in the United States, halfway around the world, to receive an award for being an outstanding nurse.

The story of Angelica sounds like something right out of a Lemony Snicket novel. Her childhood was marred by a series of unfortunate events.

Her father died when she was five years old. Soon after, their family home burned to the ground, rendering Angelica, her four siblings and their mother homeless. They lived in different places, even somewhere which Angelica now describes as a “small pig house.”

There was also never enough to eat. The family of six would content themselves in sharing three eggs and rice for their meal.

But through all these, Angelica’s mother would remind her children not to give up because their circumstances could change, and that it was up to them to make that change happen. “Life was so hard and it seemed endless,” Angelica recalls. “But my loving mother Catalina Rodriguez told us to be strong and not give up.”

Angelica and her siblings took their mother’s words to heart and worked hard to find ways to make their life a little less difficult. Angelica learned the true value of teamwork as they all worked as a team.


And then life seemed to turn around, their fortune doing a 180 degree turn. Their mother was able to send her children to school because she believes that education is the most important wealth that could never be taken away. Catalina turned out to be right, of course.

Because nursing, Angelica flew to Canada where she was hired as a caregiver. Her life there was fairly easy, save for the intense homesickness that she would often experience. But she knew she had to toughen up if she wanted to make things work, so she tried her best to focus on the real reason for her being in Canada.

“I always said that working abroad would be a great opportunity, so I might as well do the best I could to be successful,” Angelica says.

Her positive attitude paid off. The elderly patient she was taking care of allowed her to work and enroll in a nursing refresher course. “I worked seven days a week and went to school at night. I didn’t have much time to socialize because of my goal to save money to give my family a better future,” she recalls.

Eventually, Angelica earned a nurse’s license in Canada. In 2006, she married Daniel Ligas. After their daughter Andrea was born, they packed up and moved to the United States and settled down in Florida, where Angelica earned another nurse’s license. She was soon hired by the Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, where she made her mark for being one of the most caring nurses on staff.


Angelica became known for her warm attitude towards her co-workers and most especially her patients. Having to help take care of her siblings at a young age made her the kind person she is today. For a nurse, being able to take great care of her patients and put them all at ease despite whatever ails them is a great asset.

“I love taking care of people,” she enthuses. “I treat them with love and respect. I get verbal and written appreciation every week.”

Because of all the effort she puts into her work and the kindness she shows her patients, Angelica had been named Good Samaritan Medical Center’s Employee of the Month earlier this year. Recently, Angelica also took home the Hands and Heart Award, which is given to a nurse who exemplifies compassion and caring in his or her practice of nursing. This award was given by the Palm Healthcare Foundation.

She believes that her being Filipino manifested in her attitude towards her work and patients. “Filipinos are known to respect and value other cultures. We receive a lot of compliment for being caring, loving and hardworking. We treat everybody with love and respect,” she says.

When Angelica took the stage at the dinner to receive her award, she dedicated it to all Filipinos who are struggling to make it.

“It’s such a great honor to receive this award. I dedicate it to all my co-workers at Good Samaritan, to the members of Palm Healthcare Foundation, to my friends and family, and my patients. Without them the rest of my team and I would not exist. Also, I dedicate this to all Filipinos and I encourage them to pursue their dreams because nothing is impossible.”

As Angelica’s story proves, everything is possible with a little luck, hard work and optimism. So if you’re up against a wall, don’t get bogged down by your situation. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow because things will be better if you don’t stop believing. – via

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