I created WeAreSugarfree.com in October, 2008. I was not yet the manager of the band at that time. I created it because I felt that a band such as SUGARFREE deserved a website (or “fan site”), especially since their name is so (for a lack of a better term…) generic. Google “sugarfree” and a gazillion search results will appear, mostly pertaining to sugar-less candies. So the idea was to create some sort of one-stop-shop or “portal” to anything SUGARFREE band-related, hence the copy-pasting of old and new articles onto the blog. The goal was to get WeAreSugarfree.com at the top of search engine results so that information about the band would be just one click away.
SUGARFREE… Again, such a generic term. For the diet or figure conscious, it’s the word they look for on food labels. When it comes to music, it’s a 3-piece band from the Philippines with a handful of hit songs. For a diabetic, it’s a way of life.
Not too many people know why the 3-piece band (Ebe + Jal + then-Mitch; now-Kaka) is called SUGARFREE. Jal’s Mama helped coin the term because she is a diabetic.
Fe Garces-Taguibao has been a diabetic for 21 years now. The condition has affected her eyesight. She can barely see with her right eye, although apparently the condition normalizes when her sugar-level is controlled. She’s been pricking the tip of her fingers to check her blood sugar level and injecting herself with insulin before meals for years. This has been her way of life.
Last June 24, Mama was rushed to the E.R. in Laguna, where she’s been residing, due to hypertension. But she went home that very same day. Apparently, she’d eaten a few “bad” things like fried eggs, Mamon, etc. One problem is that, considering there are only three of them in the family (Mama, Dad, and their only son Jalton), the three of them live apart, and no one other than household help is really there to take care of Mama (or at the very minimum, watch over her diet). Dad and Jal are usually able to spend only weekends with her.
Last July 2, Mama was rushed to the E.R. again. This time, she was confined overnight. Another problem is that, for years, Mama has not wanted to have herself tested because she doesn’t want to know what is wrong with her. But this time, she had no choice. As soon as the results were released (and the results were very “normal” except for her Creatinine level), she was discharged (although “discharged against medical advice”) so that she could be transferred to Makati Medical Center. There, she went to see a Cardiologist. He redesigned her medication and sent her home. She was to come back in a few days to see a Diabetologist next.
On July 5, a Sunday, while we were at the shoot of SUGARFREE’s latest music video, Mama was rushed to the hospital again. This time, Dad made the decision to have her confined. She was discharged the following Thursday.
Jal came to our photoshoot Friday morning looking really beat. Mama kept him up all night, he said, calling him every 15 minutes. That same night, she was rushed to MMC again. This time, she was in really bad shape. She was already hallucinating. Jal asked me to meet him at the ER. And that was the start of our 17-hour ER-experience.
After almost two weeks in the hospital, Mama is “home”. Home is no longer on Thursday Street in San Pedro Laguna. Without even a second thought, Jal found an apartment in Mandaluyong just two cartwheels away from his condo. This is where their family now resides.
Mama is happy. After more than six years of living apart, her family is together again (when Jal moved Mama to Laguna six years ago, Dad opted to stay in Marikina).
Mama has lost about 27 pounds mostly because her eating is controlled. The whole hospital experience taught her a lot of things: how regulate her sugar level, what to eat, and to not be afraid of doctors or taking lab tests.
This is a side of “SUGARFREE” that the band’s fans have no idea about.
Again, “SUGARFREE”…a cool band name, a generic term. For the figure conscious, it’s they key word on food labels. In music, it’s a 3-piece band. But for a diabetic, it’s a way of life.