Salamat po! to Bayanihan’s Supporters & Friends


(left to right): Rebekah Lomahan, Maria Ferrera and Shirley Pintado enjoying the Report Back last August 29, 2015

Maria Ferrera (standing center) welcomed all the guests during the Report Back including (left tor right): Rebekah Lomahan, Shirley Pintado and Vivian Santiago.

In July 2015, the Bayanihan Foundation enabled a new generation of Filipino Americans to “return” to the Philippines for the first time. On August 29, 2015, Bayanihan Foundation board member Dr. Maria Ferrera of DePaul University welcomed everyone to the Report Back event where participants from Kaluluwa Kolectivo and NEXTGEN shared their stories and experiences during their journey. The seven participants were: 1) E Armea; 2) Jane Baron; 3) Marc Butiong; 4) Stephanie Camba; 5) Crystle Dino; 6) Irene Juaniza; and 7) Jeselle Santiago. Salamat po! (thank you). I also shared a heartfelt thanks to all the Foundation’s supporters and friends that made this project possible.

The participants also put together five different interactive display tables to highlight special moments of their trip, including:

"Tabi tabi po (please let me pass through) exhibit

“Tabi tabi po” (please stand aside) exhibit

  • Tabi tabi po” (please stand aside) table, organized by Irene Juaniza
  • Slide show of photo highlights, organized by E Armea
  • Water and rain samples exhibit, also organized by E Armea
  • Information display of various organizations they’ve met during the trip, organized by Jane Baron
  • Art and journal tables, organized by Crystle Dino and Jeselle Santiago
  • Display of malongs, traditional hand-woven “tube skirt” made of multi-colored cotton cloth

NEXTGEN Fellow Marc Butiong moderated the event and my Mom, Shirley Pintado, prepared all the refreshments and food that was served. Board member James Castillo also shared his reflections during the trip. Board member Ted Kirpach encouraged the audience to donate and continue to support the Bayanihan Foundation through its Indiegogo crowd fundraising campaign “Change A World, Change The World“: http://igg.me/at/bayanihan   The participants shared their heartfelt reflection of the trip and how their visit of “returning” for the first time affected them.

Marc Butiong (center) moderating the Report Back event

Marc Butiong (standing center) moderating the Report Back event

Participants of Kaluluwa Kolectivo, NEXTGEN and guests enjoy the Report Back last August 29, 2015

Participants of Kaluluwa Kolectivo, NEXTGEN and guests enjoy the Report Back last August 29, 2015

Maraming salamat po! Thank you to the many people who made this project possible, including:

Foundation board members: James Castillo, Maria Ferrera, Ted Kirpach and Vincent Saavedra

In Cebu: Emz Aliviano, Norms Alonso, James Castillo; community leaders of the Carbon Market, Cebu City; Visayas Mindanao People’s Resource Development Center (VMPRDC); youth & community leaders of Liloan, Cebu

In Iligan: Dr. & Mrs. Vicente Saavedra; Imam Atty. Saidali Gandamra, Nor Shida and Mrs. Marsanca; Rotary clubs of Iligan East and South; Zakat Foundation of America; the 100s who helped package food

In Manila: Adamson University; Bahay ni Isis (Isis International Women’s House); Kaya Ko Collaborative

In Samar: Evelyn Castillo; Dr. Antoinette Cui & The Rotary Club of Borongan; Barangay captains and leaders of Giporlos; the municipal government of Giporlos & Vice Mayor Fritzie Odron; “the Angels” nieces and nephews of Evelyn Castillo

In Balayan, Batangas: Geraldine Baral & extended family of Irene Juaniza

In Chicago: my partner Will Dix who wrote and edited an accompanying photo book; my mother, Shirley Pintado, who cooked tirelessly and fed the participants during their workshops, meetings and the Report Back event

Finally, maraming salamat po – thank you – to all the Bayanihan Foundation donors and supporters around the world.

Posted in Diaspora Giving, Philippines, Uncategorized, Youth leadership development | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Why I’m Asking for Your Support


NEXTGEN and Kaluluwa Kolectivo join group discussion in Liloan, Cebu

NEXTGEN and Kaluluwa Kolectivo join group discussion in Liloan, Cebu (July 2015)

In late 2014, I committed to helping young Filipino-Americans visit their families’ homeland as part of a NEXTGEN Fellowship, supported by the Bayanihan Foundation, which organized the trip and paid for their travel expenses.  The NEXTGEN Fellowship Program is dear to my heart. It speaks to the core of why I was drawn to help back in the Philippines.  I believe that if you give people the right opportunity and motivation to help, they can make many small, personal changes that ultimately benefit large numbers of people who need help. That’s why I’m doing this work. 

I’m asking for your support and give to the Indiegogo online crowd fundraising campaign: http://igg.me/at/bayanihan

I’m asking you to donate so that young Filipino Americans can have opportunities to reconnect with their culture and heritage, learn the importance of “reaching back” to help others, and gain a larger sense of their responsibilities in the world. Through the NEXTGEN Fellowship Program, they will learn about the foundation’s sustainable projects and learn to develop their own potential sustainable projects.  Your contribution will enable us to bring more and more of the next generation of Filipinos back to the Philippines, where they will continue these projects.  Your donation will make sure that the NEXTGEN Fellowship will continue beyond its first year.

Your contribution of  $10, $100, $1000, or whatever you can afford will enable us to recruit the next generation of Filipino Americans in the cause of cultural, spiritual, environmental, and economic renewal for everyone involved. I believe that small changes lead to large results and that when you change someone’s world, you change the world.

You can also help in other ways:
1.  Like us and Share on Facebook and social media. Use the Indiegogo crowd fundraising share tools: http://igg.me/at/bayanihan
2.  Follow the blog at www.fdnbayanihan.org
3.  Tell your friends and family about this campaign and the Bayanihan Foundation
4.  Attend one of the upcoming events planned in Chicago, IL and in Los Angeles, CA: a) Sunday September 27, 2015 – luncheon house party at the home of Dale Asis’ mother, 3752 N. Central Park Ave. Chicago. Enjoy a home-cooked Filipino meal; and b) October 2015 – final campaign send off in Los Angeles, CA (date and details to be confirmed)

I invite you to donate and be part of this. Small changes lead to large results.   Your contribution will change these young people’s lives but will also changing the world.

Posted in Diaspora Donors, Diaspora Giving, philanthropy, Youth leadership development | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Change A World, Change The World


Kaluluwa Kolectivo and NEXTGEN Fellows enjoy Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City, Philippines

Kaluluwa Kolectivo and NEXTGEN Fellows enjoy Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City, Philippines

In July 2015, I traveled with the Kaluluwa Kolectivo and the NEXTGEN Fellows.  I joined a new generation of Filipino Americans “returning home” for the first time. They explored pre-colonial spiritual practices to create community.  They explored their heritage and looked into ways of giving back.  We found generosity everywhere.

I would like to invite you to an exciting and interactive REPORT BACK in Chicago, IL to share with you the memorable experiences of the trip.  This Chicago event will be held on August 29, 2015 at DePaul University Schmitt Academic Center, 2320 N. Kenmore Ave. Room 280 Chicago. We will have:

  • Interactive rain exhibit and photos
  • Art & journal sharing
  • Tabi tabi po” (please stand aside) table
  • Sharing of personal stories
  • Display of malongs, traditional hand-woven “tube skirt” made of multi-colored cotton cloth

You are welcome to invite your friends and family.  Filipino snacks and refreshments will also be served. I know that many supporters of the Bayanihan Foundation are located outside the Chicago area.  You are also invited to support the Foundation and join the Indiegogo online crowd fundraising campaign: http://igg.me/at/bayanihan

Your donation will make sure that the NEXTGEN Fellowship will continue beyond its first year.  You can also help in other ways:
1.  Like us and Share on Facebook and social media. Use the Indiegogo crowd fundraising share tools: http://igg.me/at/bayanihan
2.  Follow the blog at www.fdnbayanihan.org
3.  Tell your friends and family about this campaign and the Bayanihan Foundation
4.  Attend one of the upcoming events planned in Chicago, IL and in Los Angeles, CA: a) Sunday September 27, 2015 – luncheon house party at the home of Dale Asis’ mother, 3752 N. Central Park Ave. Chicago. Enjoy a home-cooked Filipino meal; and b) October 2015 – final campaign send off in Los Angeles, CA (date and details to be confirmed)

I invite you to donate and be part of this. Small changes lead to large results.   Your contribution will change these young people’s lives but will also changing the world.

Posted in Diaspora Donors, Diaspora Giving, Youth leadership development | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mind, Body, and Spirit are Fed in the Philippines


In July 2015, the Bayanihan Foundation supported travel to the Philippines with the NEXTGEN Fellows and the Kaluluwa Kolectivo. The following blog post reflect insights and experiences of that trip.

Last July 2015, I traveled with the participants of the Kaluluwa Kolectivo and NEXTGEN Fellows to the Philippines. Besides philanthropic giving, I experienced with them the abundance of spirituality and the natural beauty of the Philippine islands. We enjoyed the delicious native foods and the wonderful hospitality of our hosts. But most of all, I vividly remember the joys we shared with family and children. The mind, body and spirit are fed and nourished in the Philippines.

Abundance of spirituality and natural beauty of the islands

(left to right): E Armea and Crystle Dino struck in awe by the lush forest around them on the road to Samar, Philippines

(left to right): E Armea and Crystle Dino struck in awe by the lush forest around them on the road to Samar, Philippines

From the moment we left Tacloban City, I saw the lush canopy of green jungle enveloping us as we head toward Giporlos, Samar.  I took a big breath. I could feel the thick, humid air in my face. I could not help but feel the energy that there must be a higher being around me. I contemplated on the larger question posed by the participants of the Kaluluwa Kolectivo, “How do we live as genuine expressions of the Divine Source through every thought, action, and intention?”

(left to right): E Armea and Dale Asis enjoying the awe-inspiring beauty of Tinago Falls, Iligan City

(left to right): E Armea and Dale Asis enjoying the awe-inspiring beauty of Tinago Falls, Iligan City

In Iligan City, I took the participants of the Kaluluwa Kolectivo and the NEXTGEN Fellows to swim in Tinago (hidden) Falls. We hiked down over 400 steps through a deep ravine of lush jungle, tropical vines and mahogany trees. As I descended through this deep ravine, I felt again the indigenous spirituality that surrounds the islands. I cannot help but ponder on the Kaluluwa Kolectivo’s question: “How do pre-colonial indigenous spiritual practices continue to run in everyday life to build thriving communities?” I felt fortunate that I was able to share these beautiful experiences with the Kaluluwa Kolectivo and the NEXTGEN Fellows and that our minds and souls were fulfilled and nourished with questions and deep thoughts. At the same time, it was easy to be awe-struck by the natural beauty of its 7,000 islands. I don’t have to search too far to be nourished by the many undiscovered gems of natural beauty and spirituality.

Stephanie Camba enjoying Tinago Falls, Iligan City

Stephanie Camba enjoying Tinago Falls, Iligan City

Native foods, delicacies and wonderful hospitality of our hosts

Jeselle Santiago enjoying her first halo halo (ice cream with tropical fruits) served in a fresh coconut shell

Jeselle Santiago enjoying her first halo halo (ice cream with tropical fruits) served in a fresh coconut shell

Any trip to the Philippines is not complete without enjoying the native foods and delicacies of the islands. “Kain na tayo!” (let’s eat) is the Filipino invitation to eat that we heard over and over and over. Getting fed and nourished in these islands is easy.

I knew NEXTGEN Fellow Jeselle Santiago felt a taste of heaven as she flashed that big grin when she was served her first halo-halo dessert (ice cream with tropical fruits) served in a fresh coconut.

Marc Butiong taking picture of the lechon

Marc Butiong taking picture of the lechon

 

 

 

How about when NEXTGEN Fellow Marc Butiong was taking pictures of the lechon for our welcome celebration in Iligan City?

 

 

Jane Baron (far right) receiving a basket of green mangoes in Cebu

Jane Baron (far right) receiving a basket of green mangoes in Cebu

 

 

Or the big smile that Jane Baron gave after receiving a basket full of green mangoes in Liloan, Cebu?

(left to right); Vicente Saavedra and Evelyn Castillo enjoying the spread of native foods and delicacies during the welcome dinner in Iligan City

(left to right): Dr.  Vicente Saavedra, Mrs. Luz Saavedra and Evelyn Castillo preparing the spread of native foods and delicacies during the welcome dinner in Iligan City

The hosts in all the four islands we visited prepared a fiesta to welcome us. I enjoyed the fresh grilled fish in Samar; the fried kamote (sweet potatoes) on a stick in Iligan; and sizzling sisig (sizzling grilled bits of pork or fish) in Cebu. I don’t think anyone in our group ventured to try balut (fertilized duck eggs with legs), as it’s also known. But what’s really memorable is the warm hospitality of all our hosts and partners in all the places we visited. They did not only fed our bellies but filled our hearts with welcome and contentment.

Joys of Family and the Smiles of Children

Family of Irene Juaniza welcoming Dale Asis (left) and Evelyn Castillo (second from left) to Balayan, Batangas

Family of Irene Juaniza welcoming Dale Asis (left) and Evelyn Castillo (second from left) to Balayan, Batangas

I was blown away the natural beauty of the Philippines. I was enthralled by the enduring spirituality all around us. I gained weight eating all the delicious food and enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of our hosts. But what’s the most enduring of the entire trip was the warmth and joy I shared with the families and children in the Philippines. They fed our mind, body and soul. Our planned trip to the Cordilleras, northern Philippine highlands was cancelled due to two incoming typhoons that closed all the main roads.  Evelyn Castillo, the Foundation’s Liaison suggested that we travel to Balayan, Batangas instead and visit Irene Juaniza’s relatives. I was amazed by the wonderful rolling hills and the majestic Taal Volcano on the way to Balayan. As soon as we arrived, Geraldine Baral and her family welcomed us warmly and literally rolled up the red carpet. She cooked the best fried eggplant I have ever tasted! Geraldine, Eric and Irene’s entire family welcomed all of us with open arms and they made our trip to Balayan worthwhile. The warmth of Geraldine and her family was repeated countless times over and over as we visited the country. This is the real gift of visiting the Philippines. The islands and its people will feed your mind, body and soul and they will you make you come back again and again and again.

Posted in Philippine travel, Philippines, Spirituality | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Books, Education, and Collective Giving Essentials for Change


In July 2015, the Bayanihan Foundation supported travel to the Philippines with the NEXTGEN Fellows and the Kaluluwa Kolectivo. The following two blog posts reflect insights and experiences of that trip.

(standing far left) Iligan Central Elementary School librarian Idamarie Navarro symbolically receives the donated books from Evelyn Castillo (second to the right)  and Dale Asis (standing far right)

(standing far left) Iligan City National School librarian Idamarie Navarro-Abejo symbolically receives the donated books from the Bayanihan Foundation represented by Evelyn Castillo (second to the right) and Dale Asis (standing far right)

In July 2015, I joined the Bayanihan Foundation NEXTGEN Fellows and participants of the Kaluluwa Kolectivo in donating over 1,000 books to the Iligan City National High School in Iligan City and to the Coticot Elementary School in Giporlos, Samar. In 2013, members of the Iligan-Lanao Association of the Midwest collected used books in a book drive to help boost the library collection in these two schools. I am proud to involve the NEXTGEN Fellows and the participants of the Kaluluwa Kolectivo and show them the power of collective giving and of books and education; they are essentials for long-term sustainability and change.

(left to right); Mrs. Luz Saavedra, Evelyn Castillo and Idamarie Navarro-Abejo

(left to right); Mrs. Luz Saavedra, Evelyn Castillo and Idamarie Navarro-Abejo at Iligan City National High School

I was shocked to see that all the 1,000 titles of used books that the Bayanihan Foundation donated were already sorted and organized in the book shelves when we arrived at the Iligan City National High School library.  The high school librarian Idamarie Navarro-Abejo was proud to show us the donated books already properly catalogued and shelved.

 

 

Amedah Dimangadap enjoying one of the 1,000 titles of used books donated

Amedah Dimangadap enjoying one of the 1,000 titles of used books donated at Iligan City National High School

 

I was most proud when I saw Amedah Dimangadap, 10th grade high school student arrived as soon as the library opened. Amedah was eager to browse through the stacks of donated books and started reading between the stacks.  At that moment, I felt that the Bayanihan Foundation made an impact in bringing to Amedah and hundreds of other students like her the gift of books and education.

In 2013, members of the Iligan-Lanao Association of the Midwest, led by Barbara Alban and Helen Tulen.  My aunt, Mrs. Luz Saavedra, a long-term resident of Iligan City ensured the local connections and relationships for a seamless donation of these books. The members of the Rotary Iligan East also helped in the delivery and distribution of the used books.

Members of the Rotary Iligan East helped with the distribution of the used books

Members of the Rotary Iligan East helped with the distribution of the used books at Iligan City National High School

(left to right): NEXTGEN Fellows Marc Butiong and Jeselle Santiago presented books to elementary school children in Coticot Elementary School in Giporlos, Samar

(left to right): NEXTGEN Fellows Marc Butiong and Jeselle Santiago presented books to elementary school children in Coticot Elementary School in Giporlos, Samar

The Bayanihan Foundation also donated elementary school books to Coticot Elementary School in Giporlos, Samar. NEXTGEN Fellows Marc Butiong and Jeselle joined me in presenting the books to the students there. Coticot Elementary School teacher, Evelyn Alvaro picked  Melinda Apuya, second grade student to go in front of the class and read from one of the books. I was astounded how wide-eyed and eager Melinda was in reading the books and other students eagerly crowded around her to read the book.  At that point, I knew those donated books will also make essential impact for change at that elementary school. My hope is that the NEXTGEN Fellows see the valuable lesson of strategic giving and the power of books and education for long-term change. I hope that their visit to the Philippines has inspired them and that they could also make a difference in people’s lives – Filipinos living abroad can contribute to meaningful change to Filipinos at home.

Posted in Diaspora Donors, Diaspora Giving, Education, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Education Leads to Action for Philippines Environmental Cleanup


In July 2015, the Bayanihan Foundation supported travel to the Philippines with the NEXTGEN Fellows and the Kaluluwa Kolectivo. The following three blog posts reflect insights and experiences of that trip.

Young resident of LIloan Cebu, a fisher folk community supported by the Bayanihan Foundation since 2011.

Young resident of LIloan Cebu, a fisher folk community supported by the Bayanihan Foundation since 2011.

In July 2015, I traveled to the Philippines with the members of Kaluluwa Kolectivo and the NEXTGEN Fellows. They were engaged in the Foundation’s efforts to conduct regular youth environmental workshops, encourage discussion of climate change and environmental sustainability, and prove how individuals everywhere can have a positive impact in their communities.  They were exposed to the sustainable community partnerships that the Bayanihan Foundation has supported for long-term local solutions for climate change.

BBC News: Satellites trace sea level change

Sea level rise

On September 2012, the BBC reported that 18 years of satellite observations provided a startling view of sea-level change around the world.  Incorporating the data from a number of satellites, the study re-affirms that ocean waters globally are rising by just over 3mm/yr. However, that figure hides some very big regional differences – and unfortunately, the Philippine Sea has seen increases in excess of 10mm/yr (Amos: Satellite Traces Sea Level Changes, BBC, September 2012).

The Bayanihan Foundation and its local community partners in the Philippines have responded to these accelerating changes threatening the Philippine archipelago of over 7,000 islands. We believe that we can do something to positively affect climate change locally. I was fortunate enough to share with the NEXTGEN Fellows and Kaluluwa Kolectivo three examples of long-term sustainability that the Bayanihan Foundation has been working on. They are good examples of community-driven, grassroots-empowered solutions to climate change:

I. Conducting Youth Environmental Workshops, Providing Critical Consciousness Raising and Planting Mangrove Trees in Liloan, Cebu

(left to right): James Castillo, board member of the Bayanihan Foundation, long-time supporter of youth environmental workshops in Cebu and Jane Baron, NEXTGEN Fellow

(left to right): James Castillo, board member of the Bayanihan Foundation, long-time supporter of youth environmental workshops in Cebu and Jane Baron, NEXTGEN Fellow

Since 2011, board member James Castillo has conducted youth environmental workshops in Liloan, Cebu. He and other donors of the Bayanihan Foundation, including Heman and Ruth Ezra and Cesar Conde, have enabled  hundreds of local  youth to attend environmental workshops to raise their awareness of  climate change. One effort has been the replanting of mangrove trees to re-establish environmental balance.

Unfortunately, mangrove trees, which provide flood control and fish habitat in the area, have been greatly eradicated partly due to urban growth in Cebu.  This decrease  has threatened the way of life of many fisher folk community in Liloan. To combat this, hundreds of youth have planted over 20,000 mangrove trees since 2011.

(left to right): Jeselle Santiago and Stephanie Camba planting mangrove trees

(left to right): Jeselle Santiago and Stephanie Camba planting mangrove trees

NEXTGEN Fellows and participants of the Kauluwa Kolectivo participate in a youth environmental workshop with the Visayas Mindanao People's Resource Development Center (VMPRDC)

NEXTGEN Fellows and participants of the  Kaluluwa Kolectivo take part in a youth environmental workshop with the Visayas Mindanao People’s Resource Development Center (VMPRDC)

II. Leading Environmental Youth Workshops in Giporlos, Samar after Typhoon Haiyan

(left to right): Marc Butiong, Stephanie Camba and James Castillo lead discussion on environmental sustainability and climate change at Giporlos National Trade School

(left to right): Marc Butiong, Stephanie Camba and James Castillo lead discussion on environmental sustainability and climate change at Giporlos National Trade School

NEXTGEN Fellows and participants of the Kaluluwa Kolectivo lead discussion on environmental sustainablity at Giporlos National Trade School

NEXTGEN Fellows and participants of the Kaluluwa Kolectivo lead discussion on environmental sustainability at Giporlos National Trade School

In July 2015, NEXTGEN Fellows and participants of the Kaluluwa Kolectivo led a discussion with hundreds of high school juniors and seniors from Giporlos National Trade School in Giporlos, Samar. They led the students in a discussion about the connection of environmental sustainability, climate change and the recent super typhoon Haiyan that hit the island. A large number of scientists around the world have formed a consensus that overall storm intensity has categorically increased and could be linked to climate change (Vidal & Carrington: Is Climate Change To Blame for Typhoon Haiyan? The Guardian, November 2013). This was the first time the school had ever held such a discussion on global warming and climate change as the Bayanihan Foundation continues its long-term partnership with the school. In 2014, the Foundation donated ten desktop computers.  Later in 2015, it plans to donate two public latrines to the school.  These environmental discussions are part of the Foundation’s long-term efforts to help the region recover from the devastating effects of super typhoon Haiyan and begin the long-term process of community work for positive change.

III. Partnering with local government and barangay (village) officials for environmental clean up and long-term sustainability

Evelyn Castillo, Bayanihan Foundation liaison holding up a mangrove tree seedling in Liloan, Cebu

Evelyn Castillo, Bayanihan Foundation liaison holding up a mangrove tree seedling in Liloan, Cebu

Evelyn Castillo, the Bayanihan Foundation Liaison, led the charge with eight local barangay (village) officials, the Vice Mayor Fritzie Odron, and the municipality of Giporlos to hold the town’s first environmental cleanup effort. In November 2013, super typhoon Haiyan swept through Giporlos and other towns in Samar and Leyte, creating havoc and destruction and leaving behind lots of trash and debris.

Participants from Kaluluwa Kolectivo inspecting the participation of Barangay Parenas in its environmental clean up efforts

Participants from Kaluluwa Kolectivo inspecting the participation of Barangay Parenas in its environmental clean up efforts

In July 2015, hundreds of barangay volunteers, including youth from the Giporlos National Trade School, collected over two tons of plastic, garbage, gravel and debris left behind by Haiyan.  Participants from the Kaluluwa Kolectivo and the NEXTGEN Fellows joined to celebrate this effort and hand out certificates and awards to the winning barangays (villages) that did the most thorough cleanup.

While climate change continues to be mired in politics and is a target of naysayers, the increasing amount of trash and plastic in the oceans is an easier issue to address because it is so visible (Parker: Millions of Tons of Plastic in Oceans, Scientist Studying Impact; National Geographic, June 2014).

Evelyn Castillo and barangay (village) officials accpeting awards and certificates after the successful environmental clean up efforts there

Evelyn Castillo and barangay (village) officials accepting awards and certificates after the successful environmental clean up efforts there

(left to right): Evelyn Castillo and Norms Alonso of the Visayas Mindanao Peoples' Resource Development Center (VMPRDC)

(left to right): Evelyn Castillo and Normalyn Alonso of the Visayas Mindanao Peoples’ Resource Development Center (VMPRDC)

(left to right): Evelyn Castillo, Marc Butiong and Jeselle Santiago gives thank you certificate to Barangay (village) Captain of Parenas, Giporlos Samar

(left to right): Evelyn Castillo, Marc Butiong and Jeselle Santiago gives thank you certificate to Barangay (village) Captain of Parenas, Giporlos Samar

Discussions of global warming and climate change can be overwhelming at times and participants could feel powerless as the discussion is often mired in politics and political stalemate. However, the Bayanihan Foundation shows that grassroots community efforts can happen and make a difference.

I was fortunate to be able to show the  Kaluluwa Kolectivo and NEXTGEN Fellows that the Foundation is leading the charge in creating change. These changes happen with four key partnerships: 1) local community organizations like the Visayas Mindanao People’s Resource Development Center (VMPRDC) and Normalyn Alonso; 2) local municipal government officials and barangay (village) officials; 3) consistent donors who support the idea of long-term partnerships for sustainable change; and 4) investment in the next generation of Filipino Americans for learning and connecting locally and globally.

 

Participants from Kaluluwa Kolectivo and NEXTGEN Fellows pose after conducting environmental workshop in Giporlos, Samar

Participants from Kaluluwa Kolectivo and NEXTGEN Fellows pose after conducting environmental workshop in Giporlos, Samar

Posted in Diaspora Giving, Philippines, Uncategorized, Youth leadership development | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Sharing Gifts and Blessings During Ramadan


In July 2015, the Bayanihan Foundation supported the trip to the Philippines with the NEXTGEN Fellows and the Kaluluwa Kolectivo. The following four blog posts reflect insights and experiences of that trip.

(left to right): Volunteers from Rotary Iligan South, Mrs. Luz Saavedra, NextGen Fellows and Kaluluwa Kolectivo participants join in distirbuting food packages to indigent Filipino Muslims

(left to right): Volunteers from Rotary Iligan South, Mrs. Luz Saavedra, NextGen Fellows and Kaluluwa Kolectivo participants join in distributing food packages to indigent Filipino Muslims

Muslims are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, a holy day that comes at the end of Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr is a day of merriment and thanksgiving marked by gatherings with friends and family, wearing new clothes, exchanging gifts and putting up lights. It is also a time for reflection, a time to remember those who don’t have enough, to count our blessings while also giving charity to others. The Bayanihan Foundation follows this spirit of giving that cuts across religion and ethnicity.

In July 2015, the Bayanihan Foundation partnered with the Zakat Foundation of America in distributing over 3 tons of rice and food to over 100 indigent Filipino Muslim families in Iligan City, Philippines. Since 2010, the food package distribution was made possible by the tireless efforts of many people including my uncle and aunt, Dr. Vicente and Mrs. Luz Saavedra, the local Imam, Atty. Saidali Gandamra and countless volunteers from the Rotary Iligan South and Rotary Iligan East.

(left to right): E Armea of Kaluluwa Kolectivo and Marc Butiong, NEXTGEN Fellow distributes food packages to indigent Filipino Muslims in Iligan City, Philippines

(left to right): E Armea of Kaluluwa Kolectivo and Marc Butiong, NEXTGEN Fellow distributes food packages to indigent Filipino Muslims in Iligan City, Philippines

Evelyn Castillo (center) directs traffic flow of recipients during the food distribution

Evelyn Castillo (center) directs traffic flow of recipients during the food distribution

For the last five years, Christian Rotarian volunteers have packed, distributed and provided help in giving these food packages to indigent Filipino Muslims. The years of gift giving has engendered goodwill and trust among the local community and slowly but surely built trust and peace among Christians and Muslims in the area.

Filipino Muslim woman receiving food packages during Ramadan

Filipino Muslim woman receiving food packages during Ramadan

 

The local volunteers including the local Imam, Atty. Gandamra chose Barangay (village) Mahayahay to be the recipients of these food packages as many residents there recently suffered a devastating fire in the neighborhood. One hundred families received a fifty-pound sack of rice, canned goods, sugar, coffee, ramen noodles and other condiments that will last them for one month. This must have been the largest food gift giving they have ever received.

I am so glad that I got to share this gift giving and food distribution with the NEXTGEN Fellows and the participants of the Kaluluwa Kolectivo, Filipino-American students and young professionals traveling and rediscovering their heritage. I was fortunate to share this important part of the Philippines where both Christians and Muslims strive to live together and find common ground.

(left to right): Marc Butiong and Crystle Dino distributing food packages to indigent Filipino Muslims

(left to right): Marc Butiong and Crystle Dino distributing food packages to indigent Filipino Muslims

Man receiving sack of rice as part of Ramadan gift giving

Man receiving sack of rice as part of Ramadan gift giving

Posted in Diaspora Giving, philanthropy, Philippines, Poverty, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment