I did have a wonderful time in the Philippines and I treasure every opportunity to volunteer abroad every now and then.
Highlights of the trip:
One of the highlights of this trip was that I got to immerse myself in a cultural-rich environment, Tacloban City. During the time, I have been given opportunities to interact and connect with the local families and children, which in turn, brought me immeasurable amount of love and joy. I was assigned to a community-feeing project at Cangumbang; and this experience was incredible from the beginning till the end — from planning, forecasting ingredients, buying extra things out of my own expense, cooking to serving there weren’t moments I didn’t enjoy. I really looked forward to each day visiting the community there and feeding the sponsored children of up to 35. After feeding, I have enjoyed the playing and chilling times with the children because they are all welcoming, amiable and simple! In addition, this trip has made me cherish all that I have, such as access to clean drinkable water and advanced public health facilities such as paced pedestrian roads.
Comments on the team, food and accommodation:
The team was welcoming and warm-hearted. I could definitely tell that my vision with the organisation, is alike. Because that the Philippines is predominantly a Christian (Roman Catholic) country, I felt much more spiritually connected to the land and the people. The food provided by my homestay was simple yet delicious! I had no issue with the local food there at all because the filipino cuisine is very much like my home dishes, which I have found soul-comforting. Except that I had experience epsiodes of diarrhoea at the same time with my accompanying brother when we had our first contact with the restaurant foods in an adjacent mall.
My homestay was neat and simple; just needed to overcome the fears of insects (cockroaches, lizards, mice etc.) and bear with the challenge of bucket shower and no flush toilet. My homestay nanay was nice and friendly and has always treated me like a family. I just needed to report an incident of break-in into my homestay house. My homestay was alert of this thereafter and has changed the lock of the back door and the team was aware of this issue. So I believe this security issue would be improved in a later term.
Any improvements to help us be better:
With the nutrition project, I think the future volunteers could accomplish more aside from feeding the community children. Outreach activities related to optimal nutrition could be planned out and developed, so that more and more young children and families will have a fair chance to learn from qualified health professionals and tackle the issue of malnutrition city-wide. Outside of placement times (mine was between 1pm to 5pm), I think we could have some site visits so we can understand what other sites are currently doing but again understand that the staff were busy with their own workloads.
Find out more: Nutrition and Public Health Philippines Project