The 31st of March, 2012 was an eventful day not just for me but for 15 other people who had the rare privilege to attend an inspiring event organized by World Vision Philippines. Although the location, Cavite, was a bit far, I eagerly prepared for the not-so-short trip. I knew that we were up for a meaningful day.
We were already at Tropical Garden Resort a little past seven in the morning, and everyone of the 4-team, 16-man group was given a quick run-through by the staff of World Vision Philippines.
Task 1: Coastal Cleanup
Each team, including ours, was set to join the coastal cleanup. However, what was more exciting is the fact that Shoreline scholars (people supported by World Vision) would be helping us along.
Shoreline Kabalikat sa Kaunlaran, Inc. is actually an NGO that was established to help poor families rise through transformational development. Over the years, Shoreline has been acting as sponsors of children and families in their educational needs, providing school tuition and supplies, food, and livelihood programs in the communities of Cavite through the help of World Vision.
Our first task for the day, as I said earlier, was the coastal cleanup. Together Shoreline scholars Kim and James, we made the coastal area spic and span. Incidentally, these two kids live along that coastal area. What did we find as we were cleaning? All types of plastic you could imagine including diapers and some strewn coconut leaves (which was okay with me since these were biodegradable). We completed our first task in 30 minutes. All of the teams were able to accumulate around seven sacks of garbage. It was also after our cleanup that we learned that since September of 2011, our venue, Tropical Garden Resort, has been a protected site.
Tropical Garden Resort is a sanctuary for pawikan or sea turtles
Task 2: Meeting a shoreline scholar and his or her family
Our second task was a humbling experience. We met with the Shoreline kids’ families. We actually shared breakfast with them! We all shared the pancit that we brought with us, and we got to meet other Shoreline scholars. One has just graduated with a degree in Education while the other one is in his junior year and is currently teaching Taekwondo and Arnis to some of his kid neighbours. We also met Alvin, a former Shoreline scholar who graduated Cum Laude during his time and is now taking up his MBA here in Manila. I would never forget how one of the mothers of these scholars shared to us how much World Vision through Shoreline was able to change their lives. Now, both she and her husband are working, with three kids enrolled in school. I was able to appreciate and was humbled by everything I learned that day.
Task 3: Water Lilies on our Toes
Our third task was to drop by the area were people were weaving water lilies into bags. Yes, the women of the community shared with us some tips on how to make hand-woven bags from dried water lilies! Talk about innovation. These women do everything lovingly, from gathering the water lilies, drying, pressing, weaving, cutting, sewing, sealing, and polishing these into beautiful bags. They put their hearts into the work at hand because the products that have been supporting them all these years. These women personify hard work and dedication.
Woven Lilies products are available in their community resource center coop, the Daluyan Community Resource Center and all Kultura branches. They also export their products to Canada and the US.
Task 4: Farmville and Plants vs. Bloggers
Our fourth task involved feeding organically bred pigs and chickens at the Daluyan Community Resource Center. Behind the center was a tiny farm that raised these pigs and chickens. All the animals are fed with organic feeds, so there was none of the usual stench that permeates pigsties and chicken coops.
Incidentally, this is the commitment of Daluyan:
“Daluyan Community Resource Center is a center for training, spiritual nurture, community & social transformation, enterprise development and appropriate technologies. We are founded in faith to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and living according to His will. We envision to becoming a spiritual wellspring of development ideas, initiatives and incarnation of Christ’s compassion.
We are Christian. We value people as individuals created in God’s likeness possessing inherent worth, dignity, knowledge and talents. We are committed to respond to the increasing needs and contribute to the transformation of the people and communities of Cavite.
We are tobacco, alcoholic beverages free. We highly value the sanctity of marriage and fidelity. We support the preservation of our environment.”
Task 5: Meet a former Shoreline Scholar
After our hearty, healthy and yummy lunch, we met Ernani Pangilinan, a former shoreline scholar who works part time at the Community Resource Center.
Task 6: Tutorial with the Ebenezer Childcare Project Scholars
We reached the area late so we weren’t able to help with the tutorial but we got to bond with the children
We met Jasel Rowanto, 9, in Grade II already and dreams of becoming a doctor someday. Her mom is a laundrywoman and her father accepts odd jobs from time to time. Through World Vision’s Ebenezer Childcare Project, Jasel can now attend school and pursue her dreams of becoming a doctor.
Task 7: Meeting the Nanays of Batong Sandigan Development Foundation
The friendly nanays of Batong Sandigan Development Foundation welcomed us into their Bahay Pagawaan at Pangkabuhayan.
They explained to us that WVDF supports about 1,400 families in the area and most of the kids are sent to school through the Ebenezer Childcare Project.
Nanay Jenny and Nanay Gina with team yellow 4
That concludes our humbling, learning, and eventful adventure in Tropical Garden Resort. Personally speaking, I wasn’t prepared for this event. I had no idea how inspiring it would be. It made me realize how privileged I am to have lived the way I am living when there were people like the ones in this community who needed help just to make it through every day of their lives. The whole event made me think about life in general. These people weren’t well off. They worked to make ends meet, and yet, they strived hard just to be able to go to school. I can sum up the entire experience in just three letters: WOW.
These families must be emulated for their dedication and commitment to life. They don’t give up easily. On the part of the volunteers, I take my hat off to them. Like these people, they don’t have bulging pockets. Still, they try to help in any small way they can. Finally, I have to give props to World Vision for their dedication in sponsoring these kids’ education. Life is beautiful, and these folks are showing us just how much more beautiful it can be if we make it meaningful.
*thanks to Jeman of OrangeMagazineTV and Wendy of World Vision for some of the photos