Filipinos in US, Around The World Get Set to Vote in Philippine Polls


Mr. Mariano Santos (left) and Mr. Dominador Ramirez (right) were the first to cast their ballots during the opening of overseas voting in Chicago April 2016 (photo courtesy of Consulate General of the Philippines Chicago)

Mr. Mariano Santos (left) and Mr. Dominador Ramirez (right) were the first to cast their ballots during the opening of overseas voting in Chicago April 2016 (photo courtesy of Consulate General of the Philippines Chicago)

On April 9, 2016, Mr. Mariano Santos and Mr. Dominador Ramirez were eager to be the first to cast their ballots during the opening of the overseas voting in Philippine Consulate General Office in downtown Chicago. My mother, Shirley Pintado, also received her ballot in the mail and is also looking forward to cast her ballot.  Thousands of Filipino citizens in the US and around the world are eager to cast their vote in the one of the closest Philippine presidential elections in recent history. The polls will be open in the Philippine Consulate office in Chicago until May 9, 2016; closing dates of polling locations may vary around the world (Philippine Consulate General Chicago Press Release, April 2016).

Mr. Dominador Ramirez, a WWII veteran, submits his ballot at the Philippine Consulate General Office in Chicago (photo courtesy of the Philippine Consulate General of Chicago)

Mr. Dominador Ramirez, a WWII veteran, submits his ballot at the Philippine Consulate General Office in Chicago (photo courtesy of the Philippine Consulate General of Chicago)

Mr. Dominador Ramirez, a World War II veteran said, “I am proud of voting and in participating in nation building.” Mr. Ramirez is one of the few surviving Filipino World War II veterans that sacrificed to defend Bataan and Corregidor during the war.

In 2010, the US Census reported there were 3.4 million Filipino Americans in the US (US Census Bureau, December 2014). However, there were only  12,684 registered voters in the 16 states listed under the jurisdiction of the Consulate General of Chicago. Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia noted that in 2004, overseas voter turnout rate was at 65 percent, which, despite being comparable to national turnout, was lower than expected (Philippine National Inquirer, April 7, 2016).

The Philippine Ambassador Cuisia commented, “It was the overseas Filipino community that ignited innovations to the overseas voting system to encourage higher voter turnout and maintain the sanctity of the ballot.”  The Ambassador said that it was also overseas Filipinos who were concerned about good governance.  They organized efforts to influence national leaders in the Philippines; spearheaded efforts to simplify overseas voting procedures; and encouraged overseas Filipinos living in the diaspora to be involved in Philippine political affairs.  Philanthropist Loida Lewis, then national chair of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) and other Filipino leaders spearheaded these efforts (Philippine National Inquirer, April 7, 2016). The Filipino diaspora follows the trend of many other groups including diaspora groups from Mexico, India and others that are politically active in both the US and in their native homeland.

Filipinos Overseas Absentee Voting Logo

Filipinos Overseas Absentee Voting Logo

Posted in government, Overseas workers, Philippines | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Anthony Bourdain: Unfinished business in the Philippines


I’m reposting this article written by famous chef, author and TV personality, Anthony Bourdain of the CNN show

Unfinished business in the Philippines

 Festive spirit prevails despite typhoon, Anthony Bourdain, center, enjoying festivities

Story highlights

  • Anthony Bourdain returns to the Philippines with a personal mission
  • He looks at the kindness overseas Filipino workers have spread around the globe

(CNN) Tagalog, the language of the Philippines, is not an uncommon thing to hear in my household. Like many children all over the world, my daughter arrived home from the hospital to find a Filipino baby nurse. Vangie was with her from the very beginning of her life, and in time, my daughter came to know her son, her daughter-in law, their kid — and in time, an extended family and friends — in New Jersey, Southern California and the Bay Area. And of course, most importantly, Jacques, Vangie’s grandson, her best friend, from whom she has been inseparable since infancy — her older brother in every way but biological. Partners in crime. If I go back through old photos today, at least half will be of the two of them together.

Bourdain, Cooper and 'sizzling, chopped-up pig face'

 Antony Bourdain and Anderson Cooper of CNN News and Filipino Sisig dish – ‘sizzling, chopped-up pig face’ 

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, vacations and birthdays are celebrated together, our families in and out of each others’ homes interchangeably. So, I have noticed some things, some features of Filipino daily life that I thought worth investigating. There’s always singing, for instance. Everybody seems to sing — an affinity passed on to my daughter. Family — and church, of course, loom large (even in my otherwise atheistic household). And food.

6 dishes every visitor to Manila should try

My daughter is no stranger to sisig and sinigang and adobo and holds me in disregard for being unable to procure her the delicious Filipino pastries and breads she finds at her other family’s home.  She knows a few phrases in Tagalog and looks at me pityingly when I don’t know what she’s talking about. Nothing goes to waste around here. Anything, no matter how small, that could be of use to anyone who might need it back home, gets packed in a big box and sent to the other side of the world — if not to family members, to someone in need.

Why do Filipinos care so much?

So, that’s what this episode is really about. It’s NOT about the Philippines. How could it be? There are over 7,000 islands in the Philippine archipelago and I’m pretty sure I’ll die ignorant of most of them. It’s not even about Filipinos — as my experience, however intimate, is limited in the extreme.

And, as it turned out, our plans to explore beyond Manila were foiled by typhoon.

This episode is an attempt to address the question of why so many Filipinos are so damn caring. Why they care so much — for each other — for strangers. Because my experience is far from unusual. Hundreds of thousands — maybe millions — of children have been raised by Filipino nannies. Usually mothers of their own children who they were forced to leave behind in the Philippines.

Doctors, nurses, housekeepers, babysitters, in so many cases, people who you’d call “caregivers” but who, in every case I’ve ever heard of, actually care. Where does this kindness, this instinct for … charity come from?

For sure, to go abroad and look after others is a huge part of the Philippine economy. Overseas workers account for an enormous and vital part of the lives of those who remain.  The government cannot be counted on to take care of its people — and Filipinos often have had to get really good at a do-it-yourself way of getting by, and hopefully, rising up.

You see that attitude everywhere in Manila — in the makeshift Jeepneys that shuttle people to work and back, to the cobbled together homes in the poorer districts. Hammered together scrap wood but swept, kept clean, decorated with flowers or holiday decorations.

It’s personal

Not everyone in the Philippines, I should stress, has such limited options — but it is the overseas worker — and those they have had to leave behind, who interest me most this episode. I guess you could say it’s personal.  You will meet, in this episode, one woman — only one (and there are many, many like her) — who, in her 30 years abroad, separated from her children, raised DOZENS of people up, sent them to school, helped to improve their lives, built homes — before finally returning, her kids now middle-aged. It is an astounding story — and not at all an unusual one.

A taste of Manila's street food

A taste of Manila’s street food, Sisig, a Filipino dish made from parts of pig’s head and liver, usually seasoned with calamansi and chili peppers

There was one other bit of business I had to investigate.  For years now, in hotel bars in Chiang Mai, in lobbies in Singapore, cocktail lounges in Colombo and Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, wherever I go, I find a Filipino cover band able, on request, to play “Dark Side of the Moon” note for note — before moving on to Happy Birthday (in English, German or Cantonese), Patsy Cline, Celine Dion — and then “Welcome to the Jungle.”  I had to know more.

Where do they all come from?

I hope the overseas Filipinos and our fans in the Philippines like this episode more than they liked the last one on our other show. This is certainly not the definitive show on the Philippines — and it will not be our last show there.  I imagine this time around there will be tears. At least I hope so.  We tried to do right by people who’ve been very, very good to us.

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

Celebrating Its Fifth Anniversary: My Top Five Faves


This blog entry  celebrates Bayanihan Foundation’s Fifth Anniversary and Five Years of Giving:

Filipino Diaspora Donors in Chicago, June 2009

Filipino Diaspora Donors in Chicago, June 2009

In June 2009, my friend Rebecca Bardach who was working for the Center for International Migration and Integration (CIMI) at that time, facilitated a group of Filipino diaspora donors at my mother’s living room to think about the potential of pooling funds together for  philanthropic efforts to help in the Philippines.

Bayanihan Foundation partners picking the winners of the grand raffle (from left to right): Dale Asis, Mauricio Roman, Francoise Pierre, Marlou Montelibano, Nora Castillo & Bea Rodriguez

Bayanihan Foundation partners picking the winners of the grand raffle (from left to right): Dale Asis, Mauricio Roman, Francoise Pierre, Marlou Montelibano, Nora Castillo & Bea Rodriguez

 

On May 1, 2010, I formally registered the Bayanihan Foundation Worldwide as a registered 501c3 public charity in the US – Filipinos abroad helping Filipinos at home. On May 1, 2015, the Bayanihan Foundation will celebrate its fifth anniversary. Since its start, the Foundation has given thousands of dollars to various projects  in the Philippines. Five years later, I am still asking the same three questions I’ve been asking since I started this personal commitment to help in the Philippines: 1) Will these donations matter? 2) Will they make a difference? 3) Will they ultimately affect people’s lives in the Philippines and reduce the economic ‘push’ to migrate? The Foundation will conduct an internal assessment and strategic planning process that will try to answer these questions. I would like to share with you my personal, top five fave highlights during the last five years that might be able to help answer these questions:

5) Researching for Unexploded Bombs in Pampanga

Last July 2011, I visited Clark and Subic, Philippines where I interviewed 21 victims of unexploded ordnance (UXO) including Norberto Dacuyan.  I was shocked to see the unexploded mortars, shells and bombs that residents have dug up and found in their farms.  This project was in partnership with the Alliance for Bases Clean Up about the US significant environmental damage left behind its former military bases in Clark Air Base and the Subic Bay Naval Facility in the Philippines.  However, the US continues to deny its responsibility to clean up the toxic wastes left behind. They deny responsibility based on the military bases agreement that it does not have any well-defined environmental responsibility to clean up after the bases withdrawal (US General Accounting Office Report January 1992: page 6; Mercado, 2001: page 9). If the US unilaterally decides to clean up these bases in accordance to US standards, the cost for environmental clean up and restoration could reach Superfund proportions (US General Accounting Office Report January 1992). In 2016, the Philippine case is still far from being resolved after 25 years of the closure of the bases.   The US continues to deny responsibility because the US-Philippines military bases agreement that it signed in 1947 lacked any provisions on environmental protection.  The continued denial runs counter to the US’ core values of fairness and justice.

4) Marching with Filipino Amerasians, America’s Forgotten Children in Clark

In January 2011, I visited the former US military bases in the Philippines: Subic Naval Base and Clark Air Base and met with Mark Gilbore. I’ve learned for the first time the plight of Filipino Amerasians.  In 1992, the United States military left the Philippines. The American GIs left behind 50,000 Amerasian children whose fathers were American sailors and their mothers were assumed to be prostitutes. In 1982, the US Congress voted to grant U.S. citizenship to Amerasians from Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, and other Asian countries, in what was known as the Amerasian Homecoming Act, except for Amerasians from the Philippines. The Filipino Amerasians are America’s forgotten children. On July 4, 2011, I joined about 50 young Filipino Amerasians with local partner Wedpro and we marched through the bars and red light district asking for recognition and to stop the racial discrimination and prejudice against them.  The children of African-American soldiers are especially singled out and ridiculed.  Mark confided in me that he suffered a lot of discrimination growing up. They grew up with the social stigma of being an illegitimate child and unable to elude prejudice because it shows in his physical features. Many Amerasian children are labeled Iniwan ng Barko (left by the ship). In 2016, Mark Gilbore is now raising a family and continues to live in poverty. Filipino Amerasians continue their tragic stories of discrimination and prejudice. They are America’s forgotten children.

3) Sharing blessings of food to Filipino Muslims with the Zakat Foundation in Iligan

(left to right): E Armea of Kaluluwa Kolectivo and Marc Butiong, NEXTGEN Fellow distributes food packages to indigent Filipino Muslims in Iligan City, Philippines July 2015

(left to right): E Armea of Kaluluwa Kolectivo and Marc Butiong, NEXTGEN Fellow distributes food packages to indigent Filipino Muslims in Iligan City, Philippines July 2015

Since 2010, the Bayanihan Foundation has provided thousands of food packages to indigent Filipino Muslims in Iligan. The Zakat Foundation has sponsored this project for many years, with 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. The food packages are often distributed during Eid al-Fitr, a holy day that comes at the end of Ramadan.  In July 2015,  the NEXTGEN Fellows and the participants of the Kaluluwa Kolectivo were able to join me in distributing the food packages to indigent Filipino Muslims in the area.  These Filipino-American students and young professionals traveling and rediscovering their heritage helped us that day.  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. The food distributions has contributed to the peace and understanding and that both Christians and Muslims strive to live together and find common ground.

2) Providing immediate disaster relief after typhoon Haiyan in Samar

Dale Asis, Bayanihan Foundation Worldwide handing out emergency food supplies in Giporlos, Samar November 2014

Dale Asis, Bayanihan Foundation Worldwide handing out emergency food supplies in Giporlos, Samar November 2014

In November 2014, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms to make landfall in world history, affected more than 14 million people, and displaced 4 million.  The Bayanihan Foundation Worldwide, together with partners Zakat Foundation and volunteer Medical Action Group (MAG), responded quickly by coordinating on the ground relief efforts in the affected areas.  Two weeks after the storm hit, I was in Leyte and Samar with Evelyn Castillo, the Bayanihan Foundation Liaison providing emergency relief goods and supplies on the ground. Seeing that devastation was a life-changing experience.  I thought about the many things we take for granted, living in Chicago – clean water, a decent meal and a safe place to stay.  The families affected by Typhoon Haiyan were stripped of these basic necessities of life, and they have nowhere to turn. But I was surprised by the resiliency of the human spirit. The residents of Leyte and Samar not only endured but thrived and they are rebuilding their lives.

1) Bringing NEXTGEN Fellows, Young Filipino Americans back to the Philippines, many of them for the first time

Jane Baron (standing left) poses with other NEXTGEN Fellows Marc Butiong and Jeselle Santiago visiting Tinago Falls, iligan July 2015

Jane Baron (standing left) poses with other NEXTGEN Fellows Marc Butiong and Jeselle Santiago visiting Tinago Falls, Iligan July 2015

In 2008, I received the Chicago Community Trust Fellowship and I had the rare opportunity to travel back to the Philippines and visit my mother’s native village in Bicol, in the southernmost tip of Luzon Island, the largest island in the Philippine archipelago. There I was confronted with the poverty in the region and of my own distant relatives.  I had the chance to travel back home and I saw the connection between the desperation of my family and the overwhelming number of immigrants who feel they must migrate to seek a better life.  In May 2015, the Bayanihan Foundation offered the same opportunity to young Filipino Americans to go back home, discover their roots and at the same time offer them opportunities to become long-term partners for change in the Philippines.  The NEXTGEN Fellows were Jane Baron, Marc Butiong and Jeselle Santiago. They visited the Philippines for 14 days. They discovered their homeland and cultural heritage; connected with their relatives; and explored opportunities to become long-term partners for change in the Philippines.

Bayanihan Foundation's Partners in CA (pictured from left to right): Myrla Baldonado, Lolita Andrada Lledo of Pilipino Workers Center, James Castillo of the Visayas Mindanao Resource Center and Vic Isidro of the UP XDS Alumni Association of the US. December 2010

Bayanihan Foundation’s Partners in CA (pictured from left to right): Myrla Baldonado, Lolita Andrada Lledo of Pilipino Workers Center, James Castillo of the Visayas Mindanao Resource Center and Vic Isidro of the UP XDS Alumni Association of the US. December 2010

In 2010, I’ve met  James Castillo and I was impressed by his dedication and commitment to help back in the Philippines. In 2016, James Castillo became a board member of the Bayanihan Foundation and continues to help locally in the Filipino American community in Los Angeles and globally back in the Philippines. Has the Bayanihan Foundation made an impact in people’s lives? Is it making a difference? Do these donations really matter? I guess the next five years will tell if my efforts with the Bayanihan Foundation matter and that it eventually created positive social change.

Posted in Diaspora Donors, Diaspora Giving, Philippines | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Beautiful Samar


 San Juanico Bridge connecting Samar island to Leyte Island August 2014

San Juanico Bridge connecting Samar  to Leyte Island August 2014

Sunrise at Giporlos Bay, Samar

Sunrise at Giporlos Bay, Samar

In March 2016, I visited Samar island for the seventh time in a row. Evelyn Castillo, the Bayanihan Foundation Liaison, was taking me around Samar and to the town of Basey on the southern end of the island. I realized how beautiful the island is. In November 2014, I visited Samar for the first time, just two weeks after super typhoon Haiyan hit the island. It probably was the worst time to see the island after it was devastated by the strongest typhoon recorded in history to ever hit landfall. Since then, I have gone back and forth for various philanthropic projects for Bayanihan Foundation.  All that time I was taking for granted the beautiful scenery around me. However, that day in Basey was different. As I passed by Sohoton River, I was struck how captivating the island really was.  I said to myself, “Wow, I never realized the different shades of green around me.”

View of Sohoton River and Basey, Samar, Philippines

View of Sohoton River and Basey, Samar, Philippines

 

The Philippines has more than 7,000 islands and Samar is never considered a top tourist destination. I looked up Samar in my Lonely Planet guidebook and the travel book barely wrote half a page description. It described the island in one word – rugged. I think it’s fairly accurate.

Rocky islets around Marabut, Samar (photo courtesy of "It's More Fun In the Philippines)

Rocky islets around Marabut, Samar (photo courtesy of “It’s More Fun In the Philippines”)

 

 

 

Samar indeed has its rugged charm; it has a gorgeous coastline, beautiful rocky beaches and lush green scenery everywhere you look.

 

 

Dale Asis (right) showing off a different variety of bananas he has not tried (March 2016)

Dale Asis (right) showing off a different variety of bananas he has not tried (March 2016)

 

 

There’s always plenty of fish and seafood dishes and a variety of tropical fruits abound.

 

 

"Tinitim", a local dessert in Samar made with cassava and brown sugar

“Tinitim,” a local dessert in Samar made with cassava and brown sugar

 

 

 

And of course, my personal favorite, “Tinitim,” a local dessert made with cassava (a popular root crop rich in starch, calcium and vitamin C) and brown sugar.

 

 

 

 

(left to right): Bob Newlon, Dale Asis, Aida and Evelyn Castillo

(left to right): Bob Newlon, Dale Asis, Aida and Evelyn Castillo

But what really is memorable every time I travel to Samar is the wonderful hospitality of the people I met. During my last trip, Evelyn’s neighbor, Aida invited me and Bob Newlon of Rotary Oregon, Illinois for lunch with her neighbors and friends, celebrating her late father’s death anniversary. I had the best home-made food at her home but most of all, they made me feel that Samar is home.

The highlight of my trip every time I travel to Samar is the warmth and hospitality of the nieces of Evelyn Castillo. They always welcome me with open arms. They take care of all my meals and all my accommodations every time I visit. They essentially roll out the red carpet every time I arrive.  In 2015, the young Filipino Americans that traveled with the Bayanihan Foundation’s NEXTGEN Project appropriately call them “The Angels.”

Nieces of Evelyn Castillo "The Angels" (left to right): Diana Lo, Gretchen Lo, Nova Chua and Mayrose Caandoy

Nieces of Evelyn Castillo “The Angels” (left to right): Diana Lo, Gretchen Lo, Nova Chua and Mayrose Caandoy

Samar will never make it to the top 10 island destinations of the Philippines. There will always be other islands with whiter sand beaches and with more spectacular activities. But Samar will always be my top destination because of the warmth and hospitality of the people there. Evelyn, her nieces “The Angels,” her neighbors and even the Vice Mayor of the town always make feel like that Samar is home. The feeling of belonging makes Samar the most beautiful island in my list.

Posted in Philippine travel, Philippines, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Like Heaven On Earth


View of Sohoton River and Basey, Samar, Philippines

View of Sohoton River and Basey, Samar, Philippines

On March 17, 2016, Evelyn Castillo, Bayanihan Foundation Liaison took me to Basey, Samar to find another potential suitable site of the “BOB Toilet” , a biodegradable, zero waste toilet that doesn’t use water and recycles rain water to wash hands and promote hygiene. In 2014, Basey was one of the places heavily devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan, leaving many people dead and thousands displaced by the storm. I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon in the middle of nowhere this wonderful organic farm run by a farmers cooperative. I felt like I accidentally found a little heaven on earth.

(left to right): Community leader Anacita Badaran of the Basey Women's Association and Dale Asis

(left to right): Community leader Anacita Badaran of the Basey Women’s Association and Dale Asis

Evelyn introduced to me Ms. Anacita Badaran of the Basey Women’s Association and Farmers Cooperative. She gave me a tour of the farmer’s cooperative and the creative, self-sustaining agricultural practices they have created.  It was not just any farm. It was a farm shared by many farmers in the area through a farmers cooperative structure. The cooperative has eight different self-sustaining components: 1) pig farm; 2) poultry farm: 3) community herb garden; 4) vegetable patch; 5) duck farm; 6) taro patch; and 7) compost heap.

(left to right): Evelyn Castillo shopping for handmade purses and bags with Anacita Badaran, women leader of the Basey Women's Cooperative

(left to right): Evelyn Castillo shopping for handmade purses and bags with Anacita Badaran, women leader of the Basey Women’s Cooperative

They even have a women’s association center that turns native raw materials into beautiful women’s handbags and purses. These women and their families have turned this corner of the world into their own world of a self-sustaining  economy, a little heaven on earth. Join me in a brief pictorial tour of Basey’s ‘Heaven On Earth’ Farmer’s Cooperative:

Network of surrounding rice fields by the Basey Farmers Cooperative

Network of surrounding rice fields by the Basey Farmers Cooperative

 

 

 

As we climbed up the hill, I was surprised the extensive network of rice fields that surround the Basey Farmers Cooperative. They’ve planted both white and specialty black rice.

 

 

Basey Poultry Farm

They have a poultry, duck and pig farms in the Farmers Cooperative that provides much-needed livelihood programs for the community. That day, the women collected over 250 organic fresh farm eggs to be sold in the public market of Basey.

Basey Taro Patch (taro is a tropical plant primarily grown as a root vegetable for its edible starchy corn, and as a leaf vegetable)

Basey Taro Patch (taro is a tropical plant primarily grown as a root vegetable for its edible starchy corn, and as a leaf vegetable)

 

 

They have an herbal garden, vegetable plot and a taro patch. Taro is a tropical plant primarily grown as a root vegetable for its edible starchy corm, and as a leaf vegetable. They are planted prolifically in Southern and Southeast Asia and the Pacific and it’s used practically in every other dish.

 

 

(far right) Evelyn Castillo inspecting the Basey Women's Cooperative Building while women members looked on

(far right) Evelyn Castillo inspecting the Basey Women’s Cooperative Building while women members looked on

Through efforts of the Caritas Czech Republic and their partners, I was able to see the fruits of labor of 287 farmers working together to make this diverse organic farm thrive. I was able to see a piece of heaven on earth as women and their families help each other to make an organic, sustainable farm work in this corner of the world.

Posted in Environmental conservation, environmental sustainability, Typhoon Haiyan, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

“The BOB” Latrine: Toilet Without Water


The unique BOB Toilet (Biodegradable, Zero Waste Toilet Without Water)

The unique BOB Toilet (Biodegradable, Zero Waste Toilet Without Water)

(far right) Rotarian Bob Newlon with Evelyn Castillo (far left) of Bayanihan Foundation in Barangay Salvacion, Giporlos, Samar

(far right) Rotarian Bob Newlon with Evelyn Castillo (middle) of Bayanihan Foundation in Barangay Salvacion, Giporlos, Samar

On March 14, 2016,  I traveled to rural Samar, Philippines with Rotary 6420 Past District Governor Bob Newlon from Oregon, Illinois. We went to one remote barangay (village) to try his newest invention, “The BOB Toilet”, a biodegradable, zero waste toilet invention that doesn’t use water. Yes, believe it or not it does not use water. It uses rice hulls and banana leaves to help decompose human waste and turn it into fertilizer. The urine is diverted that significantly reduces the smell and could also be used as organic fertilizer. The slanted roof of the toilet collects rain water so school children and adults could wash their hands and promote hygiene and sanitation.

The road to the village (barangay) Salvacion, Giporlos, Samar

The road to the village (barangay) Salvacion, Giporlos, Samar

Barangay (village) Salvacion sits on top of the hill overlooking Giporlos Bay in the southeastern tip of the island. In 2014, it was one of the first areas hit by super-typhoon Haiyan, the strongest typhoon in recorded history to hit landfall. Evelyn Castillo, the Bayanihan Foundation, chose this remote area to be the recipient of the first BOB toilet trial. The village also does not have a lot of access to clean water and the BOB toilet will be the first public use toilet for the school children and the families that live near the school.

Bob Newlon (middle wearing yellow shirt) explains the BOB Toilet Without Water to Community Leaders of Village Salvacion, Giporlos, Samar

Bob Newlon (middle wearing yellow shirt) explains the BOB Toilet Without Water to Community Leaders of Village Salvacion, Giporlos, Samar

The village captain and the community leaders were very receptive to try the BOB toilet, the latrine model that does not use water. The community leaders gathered around Bob and listened to him intently. Bob explained  how to build and how to use the unique toilet system that he invented. I think that this toilet model would be beneficial to villages like Salvacion that also do not have access to clean water. The BOB Toilet could also move towards zero open defecation and promote hygiene and sanitation.

 

In the next few weeks, Evelyn Castillo of the Bayanihan Foundation will report back on how the school children and community members are using the BOB Toilet and if the first interest and warm reception continues as they use their new BOB latrine, a toilet without water.

(far left) Dale Asis and school children of Barangay Salvacion, Giporlos Samar

(far left) Dale Asis and school children of Barangay Salvacion, Giporlos Samar

Posted in philanthropy, Philippine poverty, Volunteerism, water & hygiene | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Building Community


Shoppers of the Bayanihan Foundation enjoy the bargains of the Garage Sale March 2016

Shoppers  enjoy the bargains of the Garage Sale March 2016

On March 5, 2016, the Bayanihan Foundation hosted a garage sale in partnership with the St. Wenceslaus Parish Club in Chicago, IL.  The foundation raised much-needed funds to support the women vendors at Cebu’s Carbon Market. Besides raising funds, the foundation built community and demonstrated its extended reach of over 100 volunteers and supporters.

Nora Castillo of the St. Wenceslaus Parish Club

Nora Castillo of the St. Wenceslaus Parish Club

The Bayanihan Foundation would not have been able to pull a successful event without the support of a long list of volunteers and supporters:

  • Nora Castillo of St. Wenceslaus Church Parish Club
  • Jeselle Santiago
  • Shirley Pintado of St. Wenceslaus Church Parish Club
  • Volunteers from the St. Wenceslaus Church Parish Club (Paulette, Stephen, Rose, Angie, Oscar, Ernie and many others)
  • Volunteers from the Bayanihan Foundation (Julia Widmaier, Will Dix, Emerita Bernales, Marc Butiong, David Aldeza and many others)
  • Donations of garage sale items from Bayanihan Foundation (Joanne Garces and JP Jael, Maria Ferrera, Jolynne Andal, Ed Vergara, Sionie Sales, Shirley Pintado, Will Dix, Julia Widmaier and many others)
  • Donations of thousands of garage sale items from the parishioners of the St. Wenceslaus Church Parish Club

The Bayanihan Foundation also wants to thank its donors that donated cash and in-kind donations to the garage sale: Marc Butiong, Shirley Pintado and Nora Castillo. The Bayanihan Foundation also wants to extend its thanks to the St. Wenceslaus Church for letting us use its basement space and for Fr. John Nowak for conducting the opening blessing of the event. The Bayanihan Foundation once again demonstrated that the community spirit of helping each other and building community is alive and well.

(left to right): Marc Butiong, Dale Asis and Nora Castillo

(left to right): Marc Butiong, Dale Asis and Nora Castillo

(left to right): Nora Castillo, Shirley Pintado and Angie

(left to right): Nora Castillo, Shirley Pintado and Angie

 

Posted in Diaspora Giving, Volunteerism | Tagged , | Leave a comment