Agutaya archipelago doctor who cared for 13,000 people on her own
By Rupert Wingfield-Hayes
in Agutaya and Manila
When 99-year-old Eleuthera Abus lifts her right arm, she winces as the broken bones move. It's been six months since her fall.
"All I can do is manage her pain," says Alena Yap, the 28-year-old doctor who is examining her on her porch. "She really needs to have the bone pinned. But the family is refusing to take her to hospital."
Eleuthera's daughters are not heartless. They are poor.
The nearest surgical facility is hundreds of miles away across the sea from the tiny island of Diit where they live. It's one of a cluster of islands that make up the Agutaya archipelago, stranded in the middle of the Philippines' Sulu Sea.
For the 13,000 or so people who live here, Dr Alena, as they call her, is the only doctor. Petite, with glasses and long hair tied back in a ponytail, she always wears a broad smile that masks quiet determination.
There is only one island in the archipelago she does not visit - Amanpulo, named after the luxury resort on it, which has reportedly hosted Tom Cruise and Beyonc. On a clear day, it's visible from the beaches of Diit, just 20km (12 miles) away.