Maria Dolores ‘Dolly’ Agduma Engracia

Maria Dolores ‘Dolly’ Agduma Engracia
Recipient:  National Prism Award for Women of Style and Achievements

Dolly’s World

By Gloria E. Mata

“A life of spirituality, love, caring, compassion, creative expression and authentic being is a life of greater meaning and purpose.”


Nicknamed “Dolly”, Maria Dolores Agduma Engracia, leads a life with a purpose rooted in faith in God. It is faith that rises beyond the limit of just believing and moves on to living and acting , yielding to a caring, loving, compassionate and creative expression of self for others. Dolly’s world today is a long way and years away from the life she knew in her hometown of Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat, where she was born.

Her parents, Don Felipe Engracia, a farmer, and Leticia Agduma., a Grade school teacher taught her to dream big, to find her purpose in life, uphold the value of compassion and keep in mind that everything happens for a reason. And from her maternal grandmother, she inherited the business acumen that would later prove crucial to holding her family together and helping everyone achieve his or her goal. Being the eldest of five siblings, she has grown to be responsible and caring early in life.

Presently a single mom to Aprelle, who is in her senior year in BS Nursing, Dolly wishes to pass on to her the values she has acquired from her family, school, work, church and other places that molded her character and the person that she is today.

Referred to as ‘the Caretaker’ by friends in the health industry, Dolly untiringly supports her family and extends this support to the needy and less fortunate. She is a very person – oriented lady and assumes the responsibility for the needs of the patients, friends, employees and the business in her optimized capacity.

She believes in God and for her this means realizing that life has a meaning and understanding that everything she has, has been entrusted to her by God. She maintains that she should use her blessings for HIS purpose and glory. Dolly unceasingly gives thanks to God for her life that continues to unfold beautifully as she ventures into businesses that relate to her academic background and training. Naturally endowed with good business sense, Dolly has emerged to be one of the most successful and respected women entrepreneurs engaged in home health care.

Anchored in these beliefs and armed with extraordinary qualities while focusing on making a difference in this world, Dolly worked her way through college and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing at Brokenshire School of Nursing in Davao City. She became an ICU nurse at Philippine Children’s Medical Center soon after licensure. But Dolly has not stopped even after finishing higher education. She is, in fact, currently working on her Masters degree in Nursing at the Northpark University in Chicago.

Driven by the desire to alleviate the family’s economic condition more than the personal ambition to go abroad, Dolly worked at King Fahad Military Medical Center as Assistant Head Nurse at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. She was there during the Gulf War (Persian Gulf War – the war between the United Nations and Iraq, 1990-1991) commonly known as the Desert Storm.

Dolly saw her chance at realizing her American Dream after she took and passed the CFGNS and obtained the US Visa in 1992 while in Saudi Arabia. She worked for four years at Mt. Sinai Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago where she eventually became the Trauma/ Surgical ICU nurse. She became an ICU Agency nurse in the affiliated hospitals of Rush St. Luke’s Medical Center, University of Illinois Hospital, John Stroger Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital and Norwegian American Hospital.

Her mother’s long bout with cancer tested her strength and courage in the face of trials. She worked double jobs and long hours to afford her mom’s expensive treatment but in the end, her mom succumbed to the deadly disease. It was a devastating loss for Dolly but it gave her a new resolve, to do more with her talent and time and make a difference in her community.

Supported by two friends, she put up Carefirst Home Health Services which is now a progressive business and in the roster of Homecare Elite.

To boot, Dolly is now the Administrator, Director of Nursing and certified in OASIS – Clinical.. She is a co-owner of NICE NURSE STAFFING AGENCY and NICE CARE HOME SERVICES, Inc. As owner of MDE CONSULTING SERVICES,LLC, She has mentored other home health agencies to acquire their State licensure, Medicare certification and Joint Commission accreditation. To name a few of the home health agencies that were launched with her help were: DMJ Home Health Services, Healing Touch Home Health Services, Midwest Health Care Providers and Homelink Health Services.

Equipped with the wealth of experience over and above her talents, Dolly made a benchmark in community service for the Philippines. She launched “Alay Mula sa Puso” which grants educational scholarship for needy children; she also launched “DONLET Engracia Enterprise, an agricultural business firm named after her parents and operates to help small farmers. She was elected President of the Agduma Clan Organization – International founded to continue the legacy of the Agduma clan in reaching out to the less fortunate Filipinos in their hometown.

Dolly was the recent recipient of the Humanitarian Award from Sultan Kudarat for having extended her generosity to the August 2008 flood victims. On its 15th Anniversary, Gintong Pamana Awards Foundation, Inc. honored her, along with five other women, with the prestigious PRISM AWARD for WOMEN of STYLE & ACHIEVEMENTS 2009. For Ma. Dolores “Dolly” Agduma-Engracia, a woman with depth, passion, kindness, generosity and wit, her Prism Award is another laurel that bespeaks of no small success and no insignificant recognition.

Dolly with her beautiful daughter Aprelle. At the Gintong Pamana Awards Night, Dolly is pictured here with daughter Aprelle and boyfriend Daniel Schaefer. On extreme left is Aprelle’s boyfriend, Eduardo.