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Why does this Filipino girl in Sarangani have blue eyes?


A little girl in the Sarangani province has attracted a lot of attention for having clear blue eyes.  

In an episode of GMA Public Affairs Stand for Truth this week, reporter Asmarie Labao explored the extraordinary life of Chenie Abarao Tuvilla, and dug deeper as to what could have caused  her rare condition.

Blue eyes are highly uncommon among Filipinos.

Chenie was teased by her classmates very often, calling her names like "aswang" or "manika."

According to her mom Cherie May Cole Abarao, their family didn't have any foreign blood but a few of her relatives also had the similar condition.

A specialist in ophtalmic surgery, on the other hand, explained that colored eyes a known product of a mutation that limits the production of the melanin in the iris.

"So dahil kulang nang melanin, instead na ina-absorb ng melanin 'yung light, ang nangyayari, sina-scatter back niya. Nag-re-reflect. So, ang nangyayari nagmumukhang blue or green or gray or yung mata natin," Dr. Margarita Echaves said.

So far, doctors have found nothing wrong with Chenie's eyesight, but she was observed to have difficulty in hearing and speech.

Nevertheless, her father, Ronnie Tuvilla, says, "Masaya ako na normal siya."

"Kita naman na nakakapagsalita siya, kahit sabi nilang hindi siya nakakapagsalita. Sabi niya nga,  'mama, mama'," he added.

—Margaret Claire Layug/JCB, GMA News

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