Bayanihan in Review – You Make The Difference


What the foundation have achieved so far? 

Bayanihan Foundation IN REVIEW

Planting Seeds of Change, Nurturing Leadership

Youth participants planting mangrove trees in Northern Cebu, Philippines

Youth participants planting mangrove trees in Northern Cebu, Philippines

 

10 – 30,000 mangrove seedlings planted and hundreds of youth trained in environmental leadership to fight climate change in Liloan, Cebu

 

 

Street children receiving food relief in Tacloban City, Leyte

 

 

9 – 12,000 families received emergency food relief packages worth $15,000 distributed during super typhoon Haiyan in Samar and Leyte

 

 

Filipino Muslim children enjoying feast during Eid al-Adha in Iligan, Mindanao, Pihlippines (2010 )

8 – 10,000 indigent Filipino Muslim families provided meals during Eid Al Fitr celebrations, with the support of Zakat Foundation of America

 

 

School children of Iligan Central Elementary School made posters and signs showing their gratitude for the new latrines

 

7 – 6,000 families and children provided clean water and latrines in Iligan

 

 

 

High school students watched attentively during the brief ceremony donating the used computers to the high school in Giporlos Samar

6 – 2,000 school children impacted by donation of three computer labs and 3,000 books donated to build libraries in four different islands

 

 

Planned homes in Dingle, Iloilo sponsored by the PFK Family Foundation

 

 

5 – 20 homes built for indigent families in Dingle, Iloilo, with the generous support of PFK Family Foundation and the municipal government of Dingle

 

 

 

Members of the United Philippine Amerasians (UPA) celebrate 4th of July 2014

 

4 – Organizing and advocacy campaigns including environmental clean-up of former US military bases in the Philippines and Filipino Amerasians, America’s Forgotten Children

 

(left to right): Marc Butiong and Camillo Geaga visiting the monument of Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero in Manila, Philippines (August 2017)

 

 

 

3 – Five NEXTGEN Fellows, young Filipino Americans traveled to the Philippines, encouraging their own giving – locally and globally

 

 

 

Renovated hospital lobby of the Calamba Municipal Hospital, courtesy of the donations of ‘The Adorables’ and the many donors of the Bayanihan Foundation

 

2 – Two hospital lobby canopies were built for a public hospital in Calamba, Laguna

 

 

 

You make the difference!

1- YOU are important. 100% of the foundation’s income comes from individual donors. 97% goes directly to programs. The Bayanihan Foundation is planting seeds of change, nurturing leadership. Would you consider donating? Donate online at http://www.fdnbayanihan.org

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Planting Seeds of Change, Nurturing Leadership


Marc Butiong celebrating his birthday in honor of the Bayanihan Foundation

On November 12, 2017, NEXTGEN alumnus and Bayanihan Foundation board member, Marc Butiong celebrated his birthday in honor of the Bayanihan Foundation. What’s so special about this birthday celebration? Marc asked his friends and family to give to the foundation instead of birthday presents. Marc demonstrated the zeal of helping others and the true aspiration of the NEXTGEN Program of developing young people to help others and nurturing their leadership for the long-term. Bayanihan Foundation’s  NEXTGEN Program is planting seeds for change and it has blossomed into young Filipino American leaders like Marc.

(left to right): Marc Butiong and Camillo Geaga visiting the monument of Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero in Manila, Philippines (August 2017)

In August 2017, Marc took charge of the NEXTGEN Program that summer and made sure that the Bayanihan Foundation pushed forward with the program that year. Without his leadership, the program would not have pushed through or would be as successful. After our trip to the Philippines, Marc Butiong and Camillo Geaga were both eager to share what they have learned and are finding  ways to fund raise for local and global projects. One of the projects they’re enthusiastically supporting is a local water drainage program in Cebu that benefits 60 impoverished families there. Such a project would prevent further cases of dengue fever and other water-borne illnesses for children and families.

(standing far right) Dale Asis and Marc Butiong talked to family and guests during his birthday celebration (November 2017)

In November 2017, when we got back to the US, Marc Butiong invited his family and friends to a birthday celebration at a local restaurant in Chicago. Rather than asking for birthday presents, he requested his friends and family to donate to the Bayanihan Foundation. Marc and I went around the table explaining to his friends and family the foundation’s mission and the many programs it conducts locally and globally, including the NEXTGEN Program. Marc was eager to share with his friends about the foundation. His enthusiasm is one of the reasons the Bayanihan Foundation’s NEXTGEN Program is successful. And it worked. At the end of the evening, his friends and family raised enough funds to ensure that the Bayanihan Foundation would be able to sponsor partial scholarships for the NEXTGEN Program in 2018.

Jeselle Santiago announces the launch of the Community Power Giving Circle with Shirley Pintado (second from right) and Alicia Santiago (far right) looking on (June 2016)

Marc Butiong is not alone in helping the Bayanihan Foundation. Other NEXTGEN alumni are also pitching in. In 2016, NEXTGEN alumna Jeselle Santiago also opened up her home and invited her family and friends to raise funds for the Bayanihan Foundation.  Other NEXTGEN alumni Jane Baron and Camillo Geaga also offered to help the foundation and both continue to be involved. Is the NEXTGEN Program a worthwhile program? Yes. The program continues to nurture young leadership and plant seeds of change. It’s worth investing in young Filipino Americans so they can discover their roots and heritage, travel back to the Philippines, and find ways to help locally and globally.

Marc Butiong celebrating his birthday (November 2017)

And Marc Butiong exemplifies the success of the NEXTGEN Program in planting seeds of change and nurturing leadership for long-term change. In November 28, 2017, the Bayanihan Foundation is joining a national online giving campaign in the US. Would you consider donating to support the NEXTGEN Program and other local and global projects it supports? Your support is critical to the foundation’s continued success. You can donate securely through PayPal at this link.

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History Matters: Four Things I Learned About the Philippine Revolution


(left to right): Marc Butiong and Camillo Geaga visiting the monument of Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero in Manila, Philippines (August 2017)

Last summer 2017, I traveled with NEXTGEN participants Marc Butiong and Camillo Geaga to several historical sites and museums in the Philippines as we tried to learn more about the history of the Philippines. Unfortunately, Philippine or Asian history is not taught in elementary or high schools in the US.

(left to right): Camillo Geaga, Dale Asis, and Marc Butiong visiting the museum dedicated to Philippine revolutionary leader, Apolinario Mabini in Tanauan, Batangas

 

We visited several museums and historical sites including the birthplace of Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero in Calamba, Laguna and the museum dedicated to the Filipino revolutionary leader, Apolinario Mabini. He was known to be the brains behind the Philippine Revolution in 1898. Both Camillo and Marc were asking a lot of questions throughout the trip.

I learned four things about Philippine Revolution I wanted to share:
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1)The 1898 Treaty of Paris didn’t even mention the Philippine Revolution that was happening at the same time. In June 12, 1898, Philippine revolutionary leaders cried for independence of the islands. However, halfway around the world, the fate of the Philippine Islands were being decided without the voice of the Filipinos. In July 1898, the US fought a decisive battle against Spain in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In December 1898, Spain sold the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Cuba to the United States. Spain sold its colonial territories to the US for a bargain price of $20 million (about $500 million in 2017). The US and Spain signed the Treaty of Paris and the islands were sold in the stroke of a pen. The strangest thing is that US historical documents never even mentioned the Filipino uprising for independence happening at the same time.

Agueda Kahabagan of Santa Cruz, Laguna Philippine Revolutionary hero (Mabini Museum, 2017)

2) Filipino women played key roles during the revolution including the battle field. I always thought Filipino women were on the sidelines during the revolution – cooking meals, caring for the wounded, or sewing the first Philippine flag. I was wrong. Filipina women led hundreds of Filipino soldiers in the battle field. Have you heard of Agueda Kahabagan from Santa Cruz, Laguna? She was awarded the title of General during the Philippine Revolution and served under General Miguel Malvar with 500 troops under her command.

Teresa Magbanua of Iloilo, Philippine Revolutionary hero (Mabini Museum, 2017)

 

How about Teresa Magbanua of Pototan, Iloilo? She earned the title of Captain and was fighting both Spanish and American colonials. Locals nicknamed her one of the “bandits” of Panay Island.

 

 

David Fagen, African-American soldier defected to the Philippine rebel side and became a Philippine revolutionary hero (Mabini Museum, 2017)

 

3) Ever heard of David Fagen (1875-19010)? He’s an African-American soldier that became a Philippine revolutionary hero. David Fagen was one of the African-American soldiers and was part of the US “Buffalo Soldiers” regiment. In 1899, He was assigned during the Philippine American War but defected to the Filipino side in condemnation of the white American excesses. In 1901, the Philippine rebel troops that he joined surrendered but he refused to give up. He’s believed to have hidden in the mountains near the province of Nueva Ecija. David eventually became the symbol of African-American struggle against white American excesses and exploitation of other races (Mabini Museum, 2017).

Balimbing (Carambola) Philippine native fruit

4) ‘Balimbing’ – there’s more than one side to the story. It is often said that history is written by the victors. But according to Filipinos, like the Philippine native fruit, balimbing (carambola) there’s more than one side to the story.  I learned that the history of the Philippine Revolution is complex. It had multiple characters and a complicated plot played along with various competing interests. Philippine history, like the fruit, Balimbing has multiple sides and more than one side to its complex story.

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History Matters: Magellan Didn’t ‘Discover’ the Philippines After All


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Philippines’ Igorot Tribe Wearing Loin Cloths, St. Louis World’s Fair 1904

Were precolonial Filipinos ‘primitive’ before the colonial Spaniards and Ferdinand Magellan ‘discovered’ the islands in 1521? Were Filipino tribes consist of ‘savages in loin cloths’ when the Americans came to the islands in 1898? I think it’s time to change that narrative because history matters.

In 1904, the Philippines Exhibit was one of the major attractions of the World’s Fair in St. Louis, MO. Over 20 million Americans attended the fair. About 1,100 Filipinos were ‘recruited’ and presented as part of the “living exhibits” that recreated their native villages. They came from various islands and ethnic groups throughout the Philippine islands. The most popular were the head-hunting, dog-eating Igorot tribe not only because of their novelty, but also for the scanty dressing of the men in loin cloths and their daily dancing to the tom-tom beats. They were also a major attraction because for their apparent appetite for dog meat which is a normal part of their diet (Virginia Pilapil, webster.edu) The ‘primitive aspect’ of Philippine culture was seared in everyone’s mind.

The narrative of ‘savages in loin cloths’ still continues till today. In 2004, National Public Radio (NPR) featured again this “living exhibit” of savage Filipinos in loin cloths.  One of the grandchildren of the tribesmen featured said that his grandfather made sure when he returned to the Philippines that all of his children and grandchildren received an education. They highlighted the benevolence of Western culture and how they helped everyone became ‘civilized’ (NPR ‘Living Exhibits at the 1904 World’s Fair, 2004).

Dale Asis moved to tears viewing the Boxer Codex for the first time, a 16th century manuscript that included significant illustrations of rich, precolonial Philippine culture (September 2017)

In September 2017, I saw the 16th century manuscript, The Boxer Codex at The Lilly Library, Indiana University. The manuscript was written c. 1590 and contains precolonial illustrations of the Philippines.

Precolonial ‘Naturales Tagalog’ (everyday Filipinos) in elaborate garb and gold jewelry (September 2017)

 

The Boxer Codex detailed elaborate pictures of precolonial Filipinos in ornamental garb and gold jewelry, depicting a rich culture and trade with neighboring countries. Precolonial Filipinos, after all, were not ‘savages’ in loin cloths.

The Boxer Codex showed the rich culture, trade, gold, and relationships of precolonial Philippines. Spanish explorer, Ferdinand Magellan didn’t ‘discover’ the Philippines after all.

 

 

Boxer Codex Illustrations of people from other countries as far away as Japan (September 2017)

 

The Boxer Codex included pictures of people from faraway places as far as Japan and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). It showed precolonial Filipinos potentially have traded with these countries and had a rich relationship with them that influenced their precolonial Filipinos’ beliefs, social organization, trade, gold and culture. Precolonial Filipinos were sophisticated traders after all, not just ‘savages’ in little dug out canoes.

 

 

(left to right) Dale Asis, Marc Butiong, and Camillo Geaga visiting the National Museum of the Philippines (August 2017)

 

 

Last August 2017, I traveled with NEXTGEN participants Marc Butiong and Camillo Geaga to the National Museum of the Philippines and found out more about the rich, precolonial history of the Philippines.

 

The Monreal Stone was found in Masbate Island. It depicts ‘Baybayin’ pre-colonial alphabet used before the arrival of colonial Spain

 

The Monreal Stone is not just another piece of stone. It was found in Masbate Island and it depicts the existence of the precolonial alphabet, Baybayin, that was widely used before the arrival of colonial Spain.

 

 

 

Gold of Ancestors Exhibit, Ayala Museum Makati, Philippines

We also visited the Gold Exhibit at the Ayala Museum in Makati, Philippines. The exhibition featured more than one thousand gold objects celebrating the sophisticated cultures that existed in the Philippines before colonization.

(left to right): Marc Butiong and Camillo Geaga enjoying the precolonial exhibit at the National Museum of the Philippines.

I saw the Boxer Codex up close and saw the rich illustrations of precolonial Filipinos in elegant garb wearing elaborate tunics and gold buttons. I saw hundreds of gold objects that were minted and designed before the colonial Spaniards came in 1521. I saw hundreds of objects of precolonial pottery, language, trade, and culture before the Americans colonized the islands in 1898. Did the Spanish explorer, Ferdinand Magellan ‘discovered’ the Philippines when it already had rich, trading routes with countries as far away as Japan and Ceylon (Sri Lanka)? Did the Americans tamed ‘the savage Filipinos’ in loin cloths and provided them with education and Western civilization, as depicted in the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair? I think it’s time to change the narrative. History matters. The islands had a rich culture even before the colonizers came.

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10 Famous Foods You’ll Love in the Philippines


(from left to right) Dale Asis, Marc Butiong, and Camillo Geaga enjoying view of the Taal Volcano and the food from Josephine’s Restaurant, Tagaytay

In August 2017, Bayanihan Foundation NEXTGEN participants Marc Butiong, Camillo Geaga and I enjoyed the many food delights of the Philippine Islands. Marc is a self-described foodie and through his excitement trying new foods, I also got carried away trying wonderful Filipino food delights during our visit. Most food lists often highlight the weird stuff which makes Filipino fare seem exotic and inedible. Every cuisine has their share of ‘weird’ foods, even American fare. Have you tried deep-fried Twinkies? Yup, they serve them, as they say, “proud to be Ammerican” at the Illinois State Fair.

Enjoying Fried Twinkies at the IL State Fair (Chicago Reader, 2008)

Here’s my top 10 list of food delights you must try the next you visit the Philippines Islands:

10. Bibingka at Kesong Puti (Filipino pancakes and white cheese made of carabao’s milk). The cheese complements the pancake so well. It tastes better than any goat cheese I’ve ever tasted.

Bibingka at Kesong Puti (Filipino pancake with white cheese made of carabao’s milk at Josephine’s Restaurant, Tagaytay

9. Manggang hilaw na may bagoong (Sliced, green mangoes dipped in anchovy paste). Every island seems to have their hometown favorite of anchovy paste. You can skip the salty anchovies but you should try the crunchy flavor of a fresh, green mango. It is to die for.

Fresh, green mangoes dipped in anchovy paste

5. Turon (fried bananas dusted with brown sugar, rolled in a spring roll). The best street food snack.

Turon, a Philippine snack made of thinly sliced bananas dusted with brown sugar, rolled in a spring roll (Talisay City, Cebu)

6. Fresh guavas. I picked this one right from the tree in Liloan, Cebu.

Fresh guava fruit right from the tree (Liloan, Cebu)

5. Tuyo, itlog, sinangag at pandesal (dried herring, scrambled eggs, fried rice and pan de sal bread). I enjoyed this hearty, Filipino breakfast, a perfect start when you’re going to see the sights of the islands.

Tuyo, itlog, sinangag at pandesal (dried herring, scrambled eggs, fried rice and pan de sal bread with butter) – typical, hearty, Filipino breakfast.

4. Kalamansi juice ‘moxtail’ (a moxtail is a nonalcoholic beverage mixed with natural fruit juices and typically with iced tea). This one is made of fresh Philippine lime (Kalamansi). This one is a perfect refreshing drink I got at Greenbelt Makati.

Kalamansi ‘moxtail’ (a non-alcoholic drink made of fresh Philippine lime juice) (Greenbelt Makati)

(left to right): Marc Butiong, Dale Asis, Vicente Yanesa, and Camillo Geaga at Greenbelt Makati (August 2017)

3. Sweet rice with mango slices (Cafe Cesario, Cebu Airport).
Believe it or not I got this at a restaurant in Cebu Airport. It sure beats french fries or potato chips.

Sweet rice with mango slices (Cafe Cesario, Cebu)

2.  Make your own halo halo (shaved ice sundae). There are countless variations of halohalo. Ideally, it’s a layered dessert consisting of shaved ice, evaporated milk, ice cream, and variety of mix-ins. Camillo Geaga enjoyed making his own version of halo halo at Cabalen Restaurant at the local Robinson’s Mall in Manila.

NEXTGEN participant Camillo Geaga enjoying his halo halo (shaved ice sundae) (Cabalen Restaurant, Manila)

1. Seafood feast from the mangroves in Mactan, Cebu. We were guests of the fisher folk community in Mactan, Cebu and they served us a feast! (left to right clockwise: rice, shrimp, soy sauce, boiled crabs, fried fish, fresh seaweed, boiled bananas, and shellfish from the mangroves).

Seafood feast from the mangroves in Mactan Cebu (left to right clockwise: rice, shrimp, soy sauce, boiled crabs, fried fish, fresh seaweed, boiled bananas, and shellfish from the mangroves (Mactan, Cebu)

I noticed that Philippine cuisine is very regional. It  varies as much as the thousands of islands that make up the archipelago.  So what’s your favorite Filipino dish? Do you also have a list of top 10 favorites. Let me know. Enjoy!

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What’s Next? Support Women Vendors and Their Children To Have Access to Clean Water


Cebu’s Carbon Market is the oldest and largest farmer’s market in Cebu City, located in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines, and is a major tourist attraction (Wikipedia, September 2017).

In 2014, Cebu’s Carbon Market was devastated by a terrible fire displacing hundreds of vendors (Inquirer News, January 2014)..

In 2014, Cebu’s Carbon Market was devastated by a terrible fire that raged on for two hours at this city’s premier public market, razing to the ground a whole block of the market in Sitio Warwick Barracks. More than 100 stalls and hundreds of subsistence vendors lost their livelihood and their homes (Inquirer News, January 2014).

Housing settlement of women vendors displaced by a devastating fire in 2014

 

In August 2017, the 2017 NEXTGEN participants, Camillo Geaga, Marc Butiong, and I visited the new housing settlement of the displaced vendors. They live in a patch of land in Talisay City, about 11 kilometers away from Cebu’s Carbon Market, their place of livelihood.

 

Displaced women vendors of Cebu’s Carbon Market tell their stories. They were displaced due to a devastating fire in 2014 and still have to be properly resettled.

After the fire, the women vendors organized themselves and formed an urban poor association, through the support of the Visayas Mindanao People’s Resource & Development Center (VMPRDC).  We visited these women vendors and their families. They shared with us their heartfelt stories of earning meager wages, barely enough to feed their children. Some of the displaced women vendors of Cebu’s Carbon Market cried when they shared with their heartfelt stories. For the last three years, these women vendors are still waiting for restitution and justice. Without adequate insurance, government assistance or social service protections, these women do not have any other recourse.

Emz Aliviano of Visayas Mindanao People’s Resource & Development Center (VMPRDC)

 

Emz Aliviano of Visayas Mindanao People’s Resource & Development Center (VMPRDC) showed us the substandard housing conditions of where these women vendors and their children live.

 

 

 

Standing, filthy water surrounded the substandard housing of the displaced women vendors

The lack of proper water drainage creates a public health hazard for the women, their families and their children

I saw that standing, filthy water surrounded the substandard housing of the displaced women vendors. There was clearly a lack of proper water drainage surrounding their homes and that it created a public health hazard for the women, their families and their children.

One water well with inadequate, basic sewer system provides access to drinking water to 67 families

 

 

There was one water well that provide access to drinking water to 67 families. It has an inadequate drainage system where the water flows out into a puddle of standing, filthy water.

 

 

 

 

Toddler waits for clean water in Talisay City, Cebu

Last month, one vendor family lost a toddler to dengue fever, due to the unsanitary conditions of the standing water and the lack of proper water drainage around the homes.  The filthy, standing water creates a public health hazard as it breeds mosquitoes promoting dengue fever and other mosquito borne diseases.

Bayanihan Foundation to support these women vendors and provide them clean water for their families and children

Yes, you can help! The Bayanihan Foundation would like to support partner organization VMPRDC and its urban poor women vendors by providing them access to a basic, water sewer system around their homes. This way, the water will not be left standing to breed mosquitoes and other mosquito borne diseases that could affect families and children. VMPRDC will provide the technical assistance and the local community members will provide the manual labor to dig the ditches and provide the basic, sewer system for the community. How much will this cost? You only need to donate $25 to provide access to clean water and help prevent another death of dengue fever. Donate securely online at the Bayanihan Foundation’s PayPal link: https://www.paypal.me/fdnbayanihan

Provide access to clean water to women vendors and their children

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Mission Accomplished: Hospital Lobby in Calamba Completed, Before And After Pics


BEFORE 2014: Makeshift hospital lobby of the Calamba Municipal Hospital

AFTER 2017: Renovated hospital lobby of the JP Rizal Memorial Hospital, courtesy of the donations of ‘The Adorables’ and the many donors of the Bayanihan Foundation

2013

In 2013, I visited Calamba, Laguna, the hometown of my late cousin, Peter Aldeza. Calamba is located 100 kilometers south of the capital, Manila.  I found out that the only charity hospital in Calamba, JP Rizal Memorial Hospital, did not even have a proper hospital lobby. The hospital serves over 20,000 indigent patients every year and it’s the only medical facility for miles that provides charity care. All indigent patients have to wait out in a makeshift shed with a few corrugated metal sheets attached together as a roof and a few slabs of wood as benches. I wondered what happens when it rains and the patients have to wait out in the open?

BEFORE 2014: Makeshift lobby of the JP Rizal Memorial Hospital in Calamba, Laguna

AFTER 2017: Renovated emergency lobby of JP Rizal Memorial Hospital, courtesy of the donations of ‘The Adorables’ and the many donors of the Bayanihan Foundation

2014

‘The Adorables’ throwing a successful fundraiser in 2014: (left to right): Dr. Dorothy Anoina, Eva Torres, Aurora Gagni, Carminda Aldeza and Dale Asis)

In October 2014, I shared this project idea with my late cousin’s wife, Carminda Aldeza. She immediately got to work and recruited other Filipinas to help in putting together a fundraiser to build a proper lobby for the hospital. Carminda recruited 20 other women to help – Ate (older sister) Sally, Ate Chit, Ate Aurora, Ate Aurora, Ate Sionie, Ruth Banatin, Christine Krogmann and countless others, including my mother Shirley Pintado.  They put together the best party of the year – a Hawaiian ‘luau’ theme party replete with grass skirts, leis, tiki torches, a roast pig ‘lechon’ and the Aloha spirit. It all happened so fast! In  I thought that the party was going to be a small get together honoring my late cousin Peter but it turned out to be the best of the year honoring Pete Aldeza’s memory, his goodwill and his legacy. But most of all, Carminda and the legion of volunteer Filipinas called ‘Adorables’ were the highlight of the party.

2015

Ground breaking ceremonies at JP Rizal Memorial Hospital in 2015 (left to right): Dr. Borlongan, Carminda Aldeza, Dr. Ronaldo Catindig, Jeff & Penelope Krogmann, Christine Krogmann, Evelyn Castillo, Gov. Hernandez, Mrs. Hernandez, Brian Aldeza, Atty. Rebanal, Angelita Alviar & Rosemarie Aranza

In February 2015, I joined Carminda Aldeza and her family in the groundbreaking ceremony of the hospital lobby areas for the JP Rizal Memorial Hospital in Calamba, Laguna, the only charity hospital in the Laguna area.

2017

(left to right): Camillo Geaga, Marc Butiong, and Dale Asis visits the completed waiting lobby for the Calamba Municipal Hospital

In August 2017, the NEXTGEN 2017 participants Marc Butiong, Camillo Geaga and I visited the municipal hospital in Calamba, Laguna. I am proud to share the completion of the hospital lobby. The donation resulted in the completion of the covered lobby for the emergency hospital, the covered waiting area, and the outpatient services lobby. Now, the patients do not have to wait in the elements. Besides the request of additional paint for the emergency lobby awning, mission accomplished.

(left to right): Richard Lee, hospital staff, Dr. Amy Belarmino, Marc Butiong, Dale Asis, Camillo Geaga, and Mahli Sales) presenting an office printer and FAX machine to the JP Rizal Memorial Hospital staff

 

In addition, the Bayanihan Foundation donated a printer and a FAX machine for the hospital administration use. The completion of this project is especially significant and an important milestone for me. This project demonstrated the persistence, patience and commitment of many people behind the scenes that made this project possible.

 

 

Crab Mentality

Filipino crab mentality is the desire to outdo, outshine or surpass another (often of one’s same ethnic group) at the other’s expense.

In this project, I was confronted with intense cultural challenges that I did not expect in my endeavors to raise funds for community projects. These cultural challenges include intense competition among Filipinos and the pervasive ‘crab mentality’ (Nadal: Filipino Psychology, 2009).  Crab mentality is the desire to outdo, outshine or surpass another (often of one’s same ethnic group) at the other’s expense.  These challenges include fragmentation and distrust and intense competition. I’ve realized that these cultural challenges run deep and might be the main reason Filipinos are not unified to face together larger community challenges including combating poverty in the Philippines, the big gap in income between the rich and the poor and increasing out-migration. Without any solution in mind, I began to accept the crab mentality thinking and just soldier on. This project somehow embodied how Filipinos could overcome deep fragmentation and distrust among each other called ‘crab mentality’. This story renewed my hope on the Filipino community spirit of giving. I slowly evolved from pessimism to optimism.

Special Thanks

I would like to thank a lot of people who made this project possible including the ‘Adorables’ (Carminda Aldeza, Dr. Dorothy Anoina, Aurora Gagni and Eva Torres). They changed my perception from pessimism to optimism. They bonded and worked hard to put together a terrific fundraising party, to raise funds to build a hospital lobby in Calamba, Laguna,  in memory of the late Peter Aldeza. They are a living testament that Filipinos could overcome the cultural challenge of ‘crab mentality’ and worked together in Bayanihan, for the common good. Special thanks go to Evelyn Castillo, the Bayanihan Foundation’s Liaison that made multiple trips to Calamba to make this project happen. Special thanks also goes to: Dr. Borlongan and the hospital staff of JP Rizal Memorial Hospital; Dr. Doreen Sales; Dr. Amy Belarmino; Christine Aldeza Krogmann; Sionie Sales; Shirley Pintado; the continued support of the Bayanihan Foundation board and the many donors that supported this project.

“As a familiar story goes, one can leave a basket full of crabs and not worry that a single one of them can ever climb out of it and escape the cooking pan.  The moment one succeeds in pulling itself up an inch, there will be a dozen claws that will make sure it doesn’t make it to the top.” (Mejorada: The Filipino Express, 1996)

 

Honoring Peter Aldeza (left to right): Dale Asis and Carminda Aldeza

Honoring Peter Aldeza (left to right): Dale Asis and Carminda Aldeza

In the end, the indigent patients of Calamba, Philippines benefited with new hospital lobbies where they could wait in comfort and not out in the open.  I have indeed renewed my spirit. The Bayanihan spirit of community giving, Kawang Gawa is alive and well.

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