Filipinos Mourned as a Fairytale Turned Tragic in Sweden


Her name was Mailyn “Mai-mai” Sinambong. She was a timid girl from a small fishing village in northern Cebu. Nine years ago, in front of ecstatic neighbors, she awkwardly placed her arms on her Swedish groom’s shoulders as they did their first dance as husband and wife.

“It was love at first sight,” said Maria Fe Buhayan, 33, when asked to describe the meeting of Mailyn with Steve Abou Bakr Aalam, who would be her husband and father to two of their children.

Buhayan, Mailyn’s best friend, was maid of honor at the wedding. She said that the naïve girl from Barangay Kawit in Medellin found herself lost inside the mall one day, and asked help from Aalam, 22 years her senior.

At that time, Aalam, an actor-director, had just taken a break from filming in Sweden and worked as a producer in a big film company based in Lapu-Lapu City.

It didn’t take them long to become lovers. She gave birth to their first son a year after their meeting. They married on June 6, 2009, and two months later they moved to Sweden.

Now, her body was cold as death hugged her. Mailyn was allegedly beaten to death by her 50-year-old Swedish husband on Sunday (23/9).


Not so happy after all

According to Buhayan, as retold by The Philstar, the two sometimes argued but managed to settle things.

“One time I saw bruises on her arms but I dismissed it. I thought it was normal for a woman who was having her period,” she added, thinking that Mailyn was suffering from anemia that may have caused the bruises.

Mailyn’s mother, Maria Conde Sinambong, 48, said the man was a caring and loving husband in the beginning. But the quarrels became more frequent. The mother revealed that in 2011, Mailyn reported her husband to Swedish police authorities for alleged domestic violence, not just against her but also their first son. Then again, both were able to settle their issues and got back together.

“I asked her: ‘Are you OK there? Are you being loved?’ She replied: ‘Nothing, Ma.’ She wouldn’t tell me,” Sinambong recalled her conversation with her daughter.

Angelo Monato, 24, Mailyn’s younger brother, always pictured his sister as happily married to Steve as his sister never mentioned anything bad about Aalam and their marriage.

But their mother suspected that the couple was not on good terms, especially when she found out that Aalam left Mailyn confined alone in a hospital last month. Mailyn had lupus.

To cheer Mailyn up, the mother made sure to communicate with her daughter via video chat online. The last one was on Sunday (23/9), the day when Mailyn was discharged from the hospital.

“She grew morbid. She told me that no matter what happens, she loves me. ‘I love you so much, Ma.’ But I would cut her short. I told her not to say bad things like that. But she said she could not bear the pain anymore,” said the mother.

However, Mailyn abruptly ended the conversation and promised to do a video chat with her.

“She never called back. I was waiting. I had been calling her, but there was no response,” the mother said, wiping her tears.

On the same day, Angelo received a message from a Filipina neighbor of the Aalam family in Stockholm, Sweden, informing them that Mailyn had been killed by her husband on Sunday night .

The Philippine embassy confirmed the tragic news. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in a statement, said the husband admitted to the killing.


Sweden promised to serve justice
Elena Algabre of the Philippine Embassy in Oslo discusses the case with Mailyn’s maternal aunt Lugina Eliasen in Stockholm on Monday (1/10) before meeting with the Swedish lawyer handling the case. (Photo: The Philstar / Oslo PE Photos via DFA)

Steve Abou Bakr Aalam, has been taken into custody and will be charged with murder. Swedish authorities gave assurances to the Philippines that justice will be served for slain Filipina Mailyn Sinambong.

Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs welcomed the assurances conveyed by Malin Kühn, a Swedish prosecutor, in a meeting with Consul General Ma. Elena Algabre of the Philippine Embassy in Oslo, Norway. She flew to Sweden this week and they met in Stockholm.

“This assurance means so much not only to the loved ones Mailyn left behind but to all Filipinos who are mourning with them,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement.

Algabre is to look into the case and to make arrangements on the repatriation of Mailyn’s remains, which for now still kept in the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm.

According to Algabre, the Philippine Embassy will hire a lawyer to see how the Sinambong’s mother Maria Monato, who is in Cebu, could secure custody of the victim’s children.

The first son is currently staying with his paternal uncle, while the 4-year-old daughter is with a foster family that has been taking care of her since birth, the DFA said.


Source: The Philstar


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Ellen Kusuma

A cultural studies student for life. Travel junkie. Solo traveling is super fun. Living digitally under @timejumble.