Friday, April 23, 2010

Aplaya Elementary School, Pila, Laguna

Looking back a year ago, the Principal cried in the middle of her speech, on the stage, in front of everybody, when the Principal accepted the donation of 2 classrooms from FtH to the Balatbat Elementary School in Lobo, Batangas last April 18, 2009. It is a gift of much needed classrooms in the crowded school from FtH, an organization half way around the world, the Principal have not heard of until February 2009. The classrooms, donated by the Gaw Family, built in less than 2 months are a gift of love from the FtH volunteers to the students of Balatbat ES, from FtH volunteers the students have not seen and most probably will never meet.

And today, the Barangay Kagawad, looking tough and weathered beyond his age, always exposed to the sun the whole day, with his everyday farming and fishing for a livelihood, cried unashamedly in front of schools staff and FtH volunteers when he acknowledge the donation of 2 classrooms to Aplaya Elementary School in Pila, Laguna. The classrooms will replace the classrooms damaged by Typhoon Ondoy last November 2009. For two months after the typhoon, the students had to pay P2 to ride the boats to another school on higher grounds in another neighborhood, until the water subsided and the school ground had been cleaned of mud and debris. Grades 1 and 2 had to share the basketball court since their classrooms had been damaged by Typhoon Ondoy. The teachers had to play musical chairs with the blackboard to shield the students from the hot sun in the morning and later in the afternoon. The students had to suffer the dust and the noise from the street in the open classrooms. The school officials and local government have repeatedly asked for some help from the Department of Education and high government officials and all they get were empty promises to replace their classrooms.

FtH must be doing something good to make these seasoned people cry, in appreciation of the classroom donation. These people must have prayed for some miracles and FtH answered the call through some divine guidance. It was already late in the afternoon, FtH volunteers and CFO staffs were very tired from visiting about six (6) sites in Pagsanjan and Pila, since we left Manila about 8:30 AM. We already called it a day around 4:00PM; since we need two more hours to get home, when the phone rang and the teachers were asking our contact, Jerry of CFO, if we can still visit the school. We turned back; saw the school and we agreed on the need for the classrooms. Today, we met with the school staff, the Barangay officials, PTA for the pre-construction meeting, signing of the MOA and the ground breaking. The classrooms will be ready when school starts in June 14, 2010.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

St Anthony Boys Village

St Anthony Boys Village (SABV) is a home for indigent students, located inside the 7 hectares compound of the Rogationist College (RC) in Km 52 Aguinaldo Highway, Brgy Lalaan 2nd, Silang, Cavite 4118. Fr. Herman Abcede, RCJ, is the Superior of SABV, a member of the Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus.

My contact with SABV is Mr. Venancio De Los Reyes, a SABV supporter, who used to be with the Scholarship Department of the De La Salle University (DLSU) in Dasmarinas, Cavite where the Philippine Association of Metropolitan Washington Engineers (PAMWE) have a scholarship when Pablito was the head of the Scholarship Committee of PAMWE. Ven is no longer with DLSU but was able to re-establish our contact through the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO). Ven invited me to visit the SABV and promised to treat me to an Italian lunch or dinner, if I should come. Last month, coming from a trip to Tagaytay, Tess and Pablito dropped unannounced to visit SABV but there was no Ven and no Fr. Herman at the RC. Persistence and patience ruled and FtH with CFO finally made it to SABV today.

Fr. Herman and Ven were on hand to welcome the FtH volunteers Fely and Manny D. from Las Vegas and Pablito and CFO staff Eve, Marie and Angie. Fr. Herman gave us an introduction to SABV and RC and then a walking tour of their facilities. The campus is not designed for physically challenged persons and/or students; no escalators and elevators; Manny noticed no provisions for emergency or security lighting or public address system. But RC is like UP Diliman and Don Bosco School, combined, in a smaller scale. Besides high school, RC has many different colleges and trade schools. RC accepts students from outside and the residents of the SABV, called interns, are integrated in the school.

Starting with the Administration Building, we then climb up to the 3rd or 4th floor Library, then down to the trade building of welding, automotive, electronics, physics and chemistry laboratories, etc., a complete, commercial-quality printing press; an amphitheater; a huge, well ventilated, insulated gymnasium where they held the graduation exercise for about 500 high school and college graduates a year, a cafeteria with complete institutional kitchen facilities; the boys home and finally, to their dining room where we were served, among other Pinoy foods, the delicious Italian spaghetti and pizza promised to me by Ven and topped with fruit salad and espresso coffee made from a big, commercial coffee machine.

We said TY and goodbye to the interns and other fathers and went back to discuss “business” with Fr. Herman in his air conditioned office, a welcome respite from the tropical heat outside. Being an educational facility, Fr. Herman is seeking assistance to be able to accept more indigent students to the school and to be able to build more rooms to house the interns. Pablito suggested to Fr. Herman to prepare a ‘wish list’, with estimated cost and number of beneficiaries; submit the proposal to CFO for evaluation and recommendation to FtH and other associations who might be able to help them. We were thankful to Ven and Fr. Herman for the tour of the SABV and RC, which you will not be able to appreciate just looking from the outside.

April 21, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

Our Lady of Peace Hospital

Sister Eva Maamo of the Our Lady of Peace Hospital in Brgy San Dionisio, Paranaque, recieved a variety of medicines and medical supplies from FtH . This hospital provides free medical services to indigent families around the area as well as extended medical services to the indigenous tribes in Zambales and Mindanao


Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Left to Right: Pablito of FtH, Ms. Flordeliza A. Adan, Administrator Pasig Gen. Hosp., Ms. Imelda Biscocho,Pasig. Gen Hosp., Sir Boyet of CFO, Tess A. of FtH, and Tobi of CFO

The medicines were solicited by Bettina O. of FtH from the Catholic Medical Mission Board of New York; was shipped last December 8, 2009 through donations of Washington DC Fil-Ams; cleared through Custom by first week of Feb 2010 and stored in his warehouse by Martin G., a FtH. Honorary Chairperson based in Manila. The Administrator and a staff of Pasig Gen. Hospital is very appreciative of the medicines and have stated that their indigent patients can really use the free supply of medicines. The rest of the medicines are being given to other areas affected by Typhoon Ondoy, Pepeng and Santi.

Los Banos, Laguna

The Feed the Hungry Classrooms Nos. 75 & 76, was formally started today with a pre-construction meeting among the signatories to the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) namely FtH volunteers Pablito and Tess, CFO staff Tobi, Contractor Engr. Adriano, Principal Encabo, Brgy Captain Alborida, PTA president, and other school officials.

Principal Syl was very excited about the unexpected donation of the classrooms as she was wondering where to place her new teacher and more students from a new GK village nearby. Her prayers were answered and she was surprised when the construction crew and building materials arrived this week.

Capt. Alborida and the PTA President promised to fully support the construction of the classrooms by providing sweat equity from the parent and barangay residents by helping haul the materials from the road to the construction site, some distance away. Capt. Alborida assured the provision of back fill materials to level the site. All local government officials and school staff promised to protect and maintain their new classrooms.

After a long day of hard and enjoyable work, on our way back to Manila, we treated every one in our group of FtH, CFO and Engr. Myles with an ice cold , delicious, sweet, 'fiesta' (as in super big bowl) halo-halo at Chow King.

In 1993, the idea of Feed the Hungry was borne here in Los Banos when Pablito and Tess met a young street orphan begging for alms. Instead of giving some change, Tess invited the boy to have lunch with us. In gratitude for his breakfast and lunch (and maybe dinner), the boy did not accept any handout and kept on repeating his thanks to the couple. Noticing that Pablito could not back out into the very busy street, the boy placed his young body in harms' way and stopped the traffic from both directions to gave me a chance to drive home. As we drove away, we still heard him say "THANK YOU and BALIK PO KAYO", which we did every year, ever since, with other FtH volunteers joining in.

Donsol, Sorsogon

Last Feb. 12, 2010 , another historical milestone happened in the FtH Classroom Project. While some of the FtH Volunteers were inaugurating the first FtH classrooms for the physically-challenged students in Indang, Cavite, four seasoned FtH volunteers traveled to Donsol, Sorsogon, on their own expense, to inaugurate two classrooms donated to Donsol Comprehensive National High School. That's two classroom inauguration in one day!

Joe Naldo, the donor, and his mother Mrs. Naldo who hails from Donsol, Carl Abella and Jeanette Calahong flew to Legaspi City, took a shuttle to Donsol, Sorsogon to inaugurate the two classrooms. On the trip back the same day, they inspected the water system FtH donated in Buhatan NHS in Sorsogon City and stayed overnight in Legaspi City for the trip back to Manila the following morning. It is a long, exhausting, expensive, trip for two days but the FtH volunteers were happy to be able to donate the classrooms and make the students very happy.

During the inauguration, the students of the newly donated classrooms were also treated to a lunch and gifts of school supplies, also donated by Dra. Juliet (also from Donsol) and Joe Naldo.

Since 2003, Feed the Hungry has donated 72 classrooms through out the Philippines, two (2) are under construction in Talingting ES in Carles, Iloilo in cooperation with the Rotary Club of Kalibo, Aklan; two (2) will start construction this Wednesday, Mar. 17, in Los Banos, Laguna and four (4) more are to be built in Pandi, Bulacan and Infanta, Quezon. The Philippines need around 39,900 more classrooms and they need them yesterday. Those individuals and organizations wishing to donate classrooms can get in touch with any FtH Board members and/or visit the FtH web site