COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROJECT AT THE BOARDWALK, TANJAY CITY CONDUCTED 28 JANUARY 2017


Sitio Baybay Report

Sitio Baybay Project – The Full Report

Date: 13 Feb, 2017  No Comments

Morning Interaction

CEA Volunteers interacting with Sitio Baybay children.
CEA volunteers interacting with Sitio Baybay children.

 

We started the day with a trek to Sitio Baybay with the volunteers. We wanted an on-site close and personal encounter between our youthful volunteers and the children of Sitio Baybay for them to see first-hand how the residents actually live and for the children to enjoy the company of young people from the outside eager to meet and help them.

Liza Marie, a volunteer whose youthful looks seemed to belie her experience in these types of interaction, skillfully led the children and the other volunteers through a few song and dance numbers. It all went quite smoothly as the volunteers and the children rehearsed a few action songs to everyone’s delight.

Our friend and colleague, Elmer Palacio, who came all the way from Cebu to join us in this initiative, also talked to the residents of the village to understand a little the concerns of the villagers and find ways on how to help them better in the future.

The two hours we scheduled for this interaction went by quickly and soon after a few hasty group pictures were taken, we had to say our goodbyes and repeated our invitations for them to come to the venue of the afternoon’s outreach activity – at the nearby Boardwalk of Tanjay City.

At The Boardwalk

CEA Activities Director Georgia Olis-Brown giving last-minute instructions to volunteers ar the Boardwalk venue
CEA Activities Director Georgia Olis-Brown giving last-minute instructions to volunteers at the Boardwalk venue.

 

Hiking along fishpond and rice field embankments to Sitio Baybay in our earlier visits, it became immediately obvious that we had a problem with the venue. We found that it would be unsafe and time-consuming to haul all our stuff (food and grocery packs, tables and chairs, sound system, etc.) from the road to the village itself.

Some residents offered to transport the supplies by boat but we didn’t want to risk any untoward incident so in the end we just grabbed at the suggestion to hold the event at the Boardwalk, instead.

Originally developed as a tourist attraction by the provincial government, the Boardwalk in Barangay Luca, Tanjay City is a maze of platforms and elevated walkways built atop a mangrove area close to the shoreline. As the water comes in during high tide, people kayak or just glide around peacefully in floaters in between the mangrove trees and the walkway columns. Later, when the waters subside, some children walk on the muddy sand picking clams, crabs, and other sea critters marooned by the receding waters.

Thankfully, the location was available for our use and we quickly booked the site’s parking area for our event. The Sitio Baybay residents agreed to walk the short distance from their village to the Boardwalk site along a hidden path that meanders through a nipa field and a mangrove thicket – only the locals know about this path, naturally.

Clown & Magic Show

Clown and magic show
Clown and magic show during the Sitio Baybay outreach event.

 

Thankfully, the residents accepted our invitations and the event was well-attended – everyone invited was actually there by one p.m.

The clown hired to entertain the children started painting the faces of the children but after a few minutes of slow progress, the volunteers improvised with their own paint palettes and joined in. It was quite a novelty for the children – they were all smiles as they looked at each other sporting customized face paint designs thanks to the skills of the clown and the volunteers.

We started the afternoon program with a welcome remark from CEA President Elmer Palacio, followed by a community prayer led by our Communications Director, Emmanuel Gonot. San Isidro Barangay Captain Reyes also made a few remarks during the event.

The most anticipated number at this point, however, was the clown and magic show – for many of the children, it was their first time ever to watch a clown or magician in action – and right after the speeches were dispensed with, the show got underway.

The entertainment number obviously meant additional costs but it was well worth it after seeing the priceless smiles and the rapt attention of those children as the clown entertained them with over an hour worth of games, magic tricks, and slapstick comedy.

Children’s Meal & Gift-Giving

Meal and gift-giving
The children’s meal and gift-giving during the Sitio Baybay outreach activity.

 

The kids were famished after the clown show and so the volunteers started distributing the food packs for the children right away. Each meal included a serving of pasta, fruit pie, and soda. The parents and elders were served with fruit juice and donuts. The volunteers also ate their snacks with the children and the village elders, it was a great community meal that everyone enjoyed.

After mealtime, we started distributing the gift bags and the flip-flops for the children.

Georgia Brown, our Activities Director made a few visits to the village earlier to list the names of the children and the family heads and it was in one of those visits that we noticed the small hazardous debris littering their common areas endangering the children who were playing barefooted in the dirt. We talked to them about safety and sanitation, we also decided to give them flip-flops to protect their feet and promptly got their measurements for their footwear.

The children were quite ecstatic and thankful after receiving their loot bags and flip-flops.

Seeing the smiles in those faces, I told one of the volunteers that if our contribution goal there was only to provide beautiful memories for the children, I think we succeeded grandly. They will be talking about this event among themselves for days to come and every time they recall that afternoon at the Boardwalk they will remember that other people do care about them.

Grocery Distribution

CEA Managing Director Ronald Brown distributing
CEA Managing Director Ronald Brown handing a grocery pack to a resident of Sitio Baybay.

 

Each of the 19 families of Sitio Baybay received a grocery parcel consisting of a few kilos of rice, cans of sardines, noodle packs, sugar, coffee, and a wash basin.

As with the children, a list of the families was earlier prepared by Gigi Brown, assisted by the Barangay secretary Lulu Fabe, to ensure that every Sitio Baybay family will get something and we don’t get blindsided with off-budget requests and expenses. As a result, every listed family went home with a grocery package and the distribution went off smoothly without the rancorous discussions that sometimes happen during these relief distribution activities.

When told that everyone listed had to be at the venue to claim their package, an old half-blind and paralyzed Sitio Baybay gentleman who was living in a small hut right across the river, had himself rowed over to the village when we visited them in the morning. We told him that his wife or daughter can claim the parcel on his behalf and he needn’t make the trek to the Boardwalk site in the afternoon.

The residents were very appreciative of the grocery and food packs we gave them, our only regret is that we couldn’t give them a little bit more but, there will be other times, I’m sure. We hope to return to Sitio Baybay someday and once again see the smiles and hear the laughter of the children.

Volunteers

CEA Volunteers in Sitio Baybay
CEA Volunteers in Sitio Baybay pose for a group picture with the residents.

 

Our project volunteers were the unsung heroes in this event, I strongly doubt if the event would have pushed through without them.

From helping us with the venue arrangements and after-event clean-up to making all our guests feel welcomed and comfortable, they did the heavy-lifting and took genuine delight in doing good work and helping others. Many of them were from out of town (Cebu and Dumaguete City) and they made the extra effort to commute early to get to the venue on time.

I actually asked them a few questions about volunteering in general, just to help them crystallize in their minds their reasons for being there and frankly, I was taken aback by the intelligence and maturity they displayed with their answers. It wouldn’t do them justice if I go through those interviews haphazardly in this post so I decided to write a separate post for it coming out next week.

To our dear volunteers Arjie Sedillo, John Reynald Narciso, Vergielyn Cubol, Liza Marie Ragusta, Sherwin Café, Seth Abraham Singuit, Rhea Ramirez, Marie Concepcion Salatan, Mary Stephanie Bigno, Lulu Fabe, Eda Saycon, and Elsa Maglucot:

Guys, thank you so much! We appreciate all your help and the effort you exerted to help make our Sitio Baybay outreach program a resounding success. We hope to work with you again in our future outreach activities. Certainly, when the orphanage is operational we look forward to welcoming you as volunteers to help us provide care and instruction to the children we will be sheltering there.

Donations & Accounting

Sitio Baybay residents
Sitio Baybay residents posing with the grocery packs they received during the outreach activity.

 

Without our donors for this event, Sitio Baybay wouldn’t have happened.

We set up an Indiegogo.com crowdfunding campaign to help us secure funds for the event. We also  approached some of our friends in the U.S. and a few former classmates based abroad to try and get them to pitch in for the project.

In the end, a good number of good people got behind the Sitio Baybay initiative and we actually exceeded our target amount for this project, which was set at $700. We received a total of $998.21 from donations coming by way of Indiegogo.com, Agape Asia, and from direct donations (direct deposit, pick-up, money transfers, etc.).

The following individuals and families, in no particular order, donated to help fund our Sitio Baybay project:

 

Aaron and Brittany Morrison

Monalisa T. Hew

William Pentecost

Nelvyn P. Mirasol

An Anonymous Donor from the U.S.

Vergielyn Cubol – donor and volunteer

Dave Halligan

Leigh Ann Dotson

Michiko Calumpang de Leon

Gerald and Phyllis Lee

Maureen Olis Rotea

An Anonymous Donor from Uganda, Africa

 

Here’s a full accounting of the money we spent for the Sitio Baybay project. Any excess amount will be set aside and earmarked exclusively for future community outreach-related projects in 2017. An itemized statement of expenses will be published soon. Please don’t hesitate to communicate with us if you have any feedback or questions about this statement.

Sitio Baybay statement

 

To everyone who contributed funds to help alleviate their plight and bring happiness to the children of Sitio Baybay, thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts! We pray that you continue to thrive and succeed in all your undertakings. We look forward to working with you in our future projects as well as in completing construction of the Casa Esperanza of Angels orphan care facility in Tanjay City.

Government Participation

Barangay San Isidro officials
Barangay San Isidro officials who helped us during the Sitio Baybay event.

 

We would also like to thank the Luca Barangay Captain and the maintenance crew at the Boardwalk for allowing us to use the place for our activity.

San Isidro Barangay Captain Rufino C. Reyes, Jr. also assisted us in coordinating the event and in securing the use of the power generator from City Hall. Three of our volunteers – Lulu Fabe, Eda Saycon, and Elsa Maglucot were Barangay employees. Thank you Barangay San Isidro for your active participation!

Finally, we’d like to thank the Office of the City Mayor, the Office of the City Administrator, and the City Engineer’s Office for lending us the heavy duty generator to power our sound system. Without it, the event would have been less fun-filled than it actually was. Shoutout goes to our friend and classmate, Fernando ‘Palski’ Lopez for helping us during our visit to the City Hall.

To all those who helped make Sitio Baybay happen, if your name or office is not mentioned here, please forgive us for the inadvertent omission. We are always grateful for your help and we hope to continue working with you to help more of our needy kababayans in the future.

Daghang Salamat!

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