Giving Back Project in San Luis, Aurora  Friday, December 30, 2016

The waves that we crossed to get to this island were no joke! Plus it was dark the entire time we were in the middle of the sea and our boxes of relief were heavy, our boats weren't that big boats too. I was quite scared the entire trip to be honest. We sailed the sea early morning for almost 3 hours from Baler to Dibut Bay. It was already past 6 am when we arrived to this beautiful island of Dibut and from afar, we saw this bunch of people in the community, children and faculty members of Dibut Elementary School welcoming us and helping us unload our stuff.

Dibut is a barangay in Aurora that we were able to give assistance last December for our club’s Christmas Outreach. They were one of the most affected communities in the province by the Typhoon Lawin. Dibut Elementary School, the only school in the island was destroyed, and classrooms were washed out by the said typhoon. Despite this tragedy, I have witnessed how locals in this community raised their spirits. Everyone seems so happy, lift up and excited to participate in the program we prepared for them.

One of the teachers I have talked to also mentioned that in an effort to get students back into education, they would still held their classes under a tree every afternoon. This dedication though was so admirable and inspiring. It reminds me why I do what I do with this club.

The community welcomed us with their traditional breakfast food that they prepared before we arrived. We had sweet potatoes and taro which were my childhood food having raised by my grandparents who were farmers. 

[ Parents helping us prepare the food for the program ]

We started the program with few inspirational speeches from one of the faculty members, Kuya Oli, our head and the Brgy. Captain of the community. It was followed by lots of dancing and playing! The children also surprised us with their intermission numbers. 

[ My sister, Audrey with the kids made it to her 2nd volunteer works with us ]

After all the parlor games the children played with some of our volunteers, they had spaghetti for snacks. Our Christmas presents were also distributed to everyone while the school received new teaching materials donated by the club. The half day event dedicated to bring joy to the community was graced by each and everyone's love and compassion to one another. The indomitable Filipino spirit was abundant and for some reason natural calamity indeed shows the real strength of Filipinos.

It was my grandfather, Tatay Teo, who said to me once that, "Extending one hand to help someone has more value than joining two hands for prayer." I know, sometimes it is often hard to find time out from our usual grind to make a difference in our communities but every waking day is our opportunity to begin giving part of our time toward causes close to our hearts. 

There are moments in life I am guilty of that sometimes I take blessings for granted, but was reminded again through this outreach project, just being around with this wonderful people that one of the best ways to live a life full of real happiness is to give back to others, appreciate all little things and be contented. 

Just plainly observing, I saw how people in the community go on with their lives in-spite of their current situation – some of their roofs got blown off  while crops and trees were knocked over by the storm, but they were able to bounce back from tragedy, with grace and optimism. You see, we can always take inspiration from ordinary people and their extraordinary acts of love and kindness.

1 comment

  1. ahhh, this is so inspiring <3 you must be living a purposeful life though


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