Blog, Events, Outreach

Leaving footprints

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Life is too short to be serious all the time: The assembly time for Leaving Footprints event was 5 in the morning at downtown Divisoria fronting Dunkin Donuts and the departure time was at 6:00AM. As time ticks the volunteers arrived one by one. Committees were ready to do their assigned tasks and to meet and greet the volunteers especially the new faces, giving them a warm welcome to the group. Some of the volunteers were still taking their breakfast at different fast food chains and buying their own food provisions for the day. Though there was a problem which arose regarding the vehicle assistance from the City Engineering Office through the City Hall Office when there quested transportation didn’t come. Everyone patiently waited for more than 3 hours as the assigned transportation committee looked for back-up vehicles to transport the volunteers and the cargoes to Mambuaya Elementary School. Despite of the delays, each and every one was savoring every moment, making group selfies and sharing their experiences from the previous days and as usual making fun of each and everyone including the new ones.

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Trials are not a reason to give up: After 3 hours of waiting for the back-up transportation to fetch them, the volunteers were finally picked up by 2 hired public utility vehicles / jeepneys, which transported them to Mambuaya Elementary School. Along the way, one of the jeepneys got a flat tire in a provincial road along barangay Lumbia. The volunteers experienced a temporary setback which further delayed the event for a few minutes. However, the volunteers did not see it as a hindrance as they were well aware that kids in Mambuaya Elementary School were patiently waiting for the arrival of ROTA-Philippines. Indeed trial is not a reason to give up but a challenge to improve.

A warm smile is the universal language of kindness. ~WilliamArthurWard

Though the volunteers arrived late based on ROTA’s itinerary, the volunteers were still welcomed with charming smiles from the kids of Mambuaya Elementary School. Meet and greet was held first and foremost before the program proper to gain rapport with the kids’, while other volunteers helped unload the cargoes and personal stuffs from their assigned vehicles. After that, a quick last minute orientation was given to the volunteers and everyone prepared for the activity.

As the program prepared by the teachers of Mambuaya Elementary School took place, fun and laughter resonated at the school grounds. Part of the program was that the volunteers and the kids have to do an exchange of talents by showing their own hearty moves. A group of students presented a special dance number and not so surprisingly the volunteers willingly offered their priceless dance moves as well. Everyone danced to the rhythm of the music even those who had two left feet. They all had fun because the moment was for everyone’s taking.

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Live-Laugh-and-Love: They say “Do what you love and do it often”, and that was what ROTA was doing for the past outreaches for more than three years; making kids happy and having fun with them even for just a short time. Usually, after the program proper the assigned committees are deployed to their assigned areas, the kids committee takes over. They are always eager and excited to have a direct interaction with the kids.Taking into considerations the age group, ROTA divided kids by their age ranges. Kindergartens and the first graders where categorized in the same group. Their activities involved interactive and animated play, these involves educational games that will keep the kindergarten and first grader kids entertained while learning at the same time. Story-telling with actions and matching voice modulations while narrating is their main event. These volunteers are assigned to prepare interesting stories before going into action.

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Children need the freedom and time to play, making them smarter, healthier and happier: In the meantime, older age groups were also distributed for different activities. Most of them were into energetic team-building type of activity and everyone including the volunteers happily participated in the different games. At times like these, volunteers had the chance of being childish and silly with the kids.

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Parent’s Class: Before anything else, the parent committee volunteers gathered the willing parents to sit with them for the Focused Group Discussion activity solely made for them and asked their permission take pictures of the children and to entrust their children to the volunteers of Rota Pilipinas for the whole outreach activity.

Parent’s class pay particular attention on the importance of Child Rights and Responsibilities in reaching their dreams for their children. Since it is a sensitive topic to be discussed, the volunteers have to follow a structured activity guidelines prepared by one of the Team Leader of Parents Committee. The activity involves interactive sharing and listening between the parents and volunteers. After guiding the parents to digest the topic, a brief synthesis of the session is given. Participants were also encouraged to raise any clarifications or questions about the activity and of course snacks were provided to the parents and volunteers.

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The Kitchen’s Comm and Tippy Tappy (A happy hand-washing experience): This committee might be doing the messy job but they are doing it from their hearts. In order to feed the 686 school kids of Mambuaya Elementary School, the volunteers have to set up many cauldrons over an open fire to cook the highly nutritious VITAMEALS from MASSA Feeding Program NU Skin Enterprises Philippines, Inc. In addition to vitameals, Rota’s friends donated additional ingredients to make it more yummy and nutritious – a concoction of bananas, root crops and milk.

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Food preparation was a challenging task because they had to peel and slice more than 20 kilos of banana and yam. Additionally, a regular stirring every couple of minutes was needed to prevent the ingredients from sticking at the bottom of the cauldrons not to mention the smoke and direct heat coming from the open fire.

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By time the kitchen committee signaled that the food was ready for serving and the food distributions was all set up in front of the Tippy Tappy corner, then the kids were instructed to line up at the tippy tappy corner for them to be taught on how to do the proper hand-washing before eating. Emphasis was given on the importance of regular hand washing especially before and after meals.

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The Shoe fitting: After filling the little tummies of Mambuaya Elementary School kids with the yummy and nutritious VITAMEALS, then they proceeded to the giving out of black canvass shoes from BOBS by Skechers through Soles4Souls and World Mission Outreach Fellowship (WMOF) as the last activity. Regardless of the nonstop activities inside the school ground, the volunteers were still willing to do the shoe fitting and giving out of BOBS shoes even under the scorching heat of the sun. Everyone was enthusiastic to perform the task; these volunteers indeed choose to serve the 686 kids out of altruism.

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FAITH-HOPE-and-LOVE:
With FAITH in HIM to meet the needs in every outreach activity of ROTA-Pilipinas; HOPE to have each activity be safe and successful and; LOVE governing the hearts of every volunteer, each volunteer has made a mark to inspire a heart.

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Blog, Events, Hiking, Outreach

Pasko-sa-SULADS Anecdote (2012)

“Unsa na imo year ‘te?” (What year level are you now?), a SULADS student – a teenager boy posed while we were walking. I was borrowing a knife from their school kitchen, he was keeping me company.

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Preparing food for co-volunteers

“Ah graduate naman ko. Gatrabaho na. 3 years na.”(I’m done with my studies. I’m already working now for almost 3 years.), I replied.

He asked my age and I obligingly told him. Then he said, “Dalia ra ninyo mahuman noh?.” (Oh, you finish studies fast). I thought I was just on-time.

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Big pan and a big hand to help. Volunteers cooking for meals using local utensils.

He further pointed he was leaving his teen years but still in High School. I was stunned to reflect their condition, to be more sensitive, mustered a smile and said, “Mahuman ra lagi ka!” (I believe you will graduate in due time).

I then went on with him to the visitor shed, we the volunteers were staying in, to help prepare our breakfast before the day’s descent.

CONNECTIONS make us CARE. And what we care for, we do something about. This dialogue was my CONNECTION with SULADS students and maybe all other IP (Indigenous People) students ROTA is helping. I may not be able to support him all throughout his studies like I try to do with my brothers, but I hope in the littlest chances we’re able to talk and the meagre goods or amount we’re able to give each time we hike hours up to their school in the remote mountains of Quezon, Bukidnon, I being with ROTA will continually be able to motivate him and his classmates to continue studying until they successfully graduate from High School.

I find myself carrying that connection until now, especially when I volunteer. That was more than a worthy take-home from SULADS.

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Blog, Events, Outreach

Back-To-School in Intavas

I’ve always wanted to cultivate a sincere heart for missions and what better way to achieve this than taking most opportunities to be of help. Being assigned Team Leader for the Back-To-School in Intavas Elementary School to serve 389 kids of the Higaonon tribe last June 12, 2014 was a chance not to miss. It was one outreach when I was busiest but one where I realized good things.

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Volunteers and outreach supplies on a truck to Impasugong, Bukidnon

Many people say they want to live a life of purpose but put it off until they’re retired or they’re rich, when they have extra time and extra money to spare. But we can choose to do it now. Even with our schedules and our scanty income, we can make a movement. We can still give and volunteer. What little you have (time, resource, talent, confidence even patience) can be enough to make lives better for as long as they are pooled-in and of course, shared.

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.Steve Jobs
I’m glad to have met this bunch of crazy people and being one with them in carrying out an advocacy. It was a holiday spent well, a day of good cheer when we were spent full.

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Blog, Principles

ROTA
Serenity – This is my sole purpose when I first explored higher grounds. Searching for peace of mind in the middle of nowhere and a temporary escape from reality.Hannah

Sense of responsibility kicks in as we explore depth areas. Do we really need to experience series of natural disasters before we start caring for our nature? We know the cause of the problem but are we doing something? NO! That’s the truth but it’s never too late.

Start now and nurture nature on your own way; plant trees and stop throwing garbage anywhere. Even though there seems no hope for us to bring back the natural beauty of the earth however optimism is one of our vehicle to our destination. This is a long term goal and it could be past on to generation to generation. Optimism helps us think that in every negative aspect or happenings in the world, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. In every action there’s an equal an opposite reaction. So, if we start doing things that we can do today for a better future, we can expect transformation.

Transformation will not only take place on mother nature but also from within us. Since change is the only constant thing in this world, let’s change for the better. Transform the world to what it should be and what we want it to be.

Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal, and transformation in our lives.ThinkExist

To realize this goal, we need commitment to ourselves and to the nature. Altruism will be practiced by each individual and together we will be able to reach our destination. The better place to live and people with good relationship with each other.

This is a very ambitious vision but with the right help and resources, we will be able to achieve it together.

Join us and be part of the change that we need. ROTA.

Blog, Events, Hiking, Principles

Significance of LNT to my Ordinary Days

Every event pursued is often has an objectives and goals. Even more, it is strictly guided with policies and principles not to affect anyplace, anybody or anywhere’s culture and norms.

One can possibly be a more responsible mountaineer if he or she isgolden shower tree aware of the “Leave No Trace” (LNT) principles.  On the other hand, can LNT be applied to ordinary daily routines?  Can LNT be helpful also to non-mountaineers and would it not affect those who are guided with ethics and rules contrary to LNT as basis for their daily goals and objectives? It might help or possibly not.  Having oriented with the said outdoor ethics during the Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC) attended at Pualas, Baungon Bukidnon last February 1-2, 2014, here are the seven principles I can likely relate to my ordinary daily routines;

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare (know the regulations and special concerns for the area you will visit and prepare for extreme weather, hazards and emergencies).   Routine is a regular activity repeatedly done day by day or may even be called as program of activities within the day.  Is there a need to plan and prepare when things are already programmed?  Whether we like it or not, there always be intervening factors that affects every programmed activities.  Thus, planning ahead and getting prepared of all things is much better in case of any circumstances and short notices rather ending into disaster or trouble. Prepare for precautionary measures before it even gets worst.   Organize activities in a way that it also meets goals within the day.  It is the same as formulating policies and contingencies that is ought to be done whenever interventions or diversions occur.
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces (Established trails and campsite, rock, gravel, dry grasses, camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams, altering a site is not necessary, concentrate on one existing trail).  In order not to affect or disturb other properties and surroundings, we must know our limits and restrictions.  Tasks must be performed within area of coverage or only in place delegated to you.  Similarly, one must observe ownership and privacy of anything.  Better than that, identify and select appropriate place where the activity is conducive and possibly result to efficient and relatively high outputs.  Focus on area which you find beneficial for everybody and that can be made suitable and sustainable workplace and shelter.  Nonetheless, maximize utilization of minimal space given and be able not to destruct more of the surroundings.
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly (Pack it in, pack it out; pack out all trash, leftover food and litter).  Even a toddler is taught where to dispose his/her garbage, how much more for a mature ones?  It is a matter of sanitary and even health procedure to keep away from illness and diseases thereupon promoting healthful living.   Relative to organizing, it is one way to keep things in proper sequence and enables efficient management to certain matters.   On the other hand, one must learn to keep any waste  properly as not to  litter and pollute the surroundings, learn the three R’s of the environment (reduce,  reuse, recycle).   Set out what is unimportant, keep only things that will likely helped for future use (reject rubbish stuff that depressingly affects the environment).
  4. Leave what you find (Preserve the past, examine but do not touch cultural/historic structures and artifacts, leave natural objects, avoid introducing non-native species).  SHolland lilyimilar to the quote ”What you see, what you hear, leave it here” is also one way of keeping something in place and out of trouble.  It is good to be keen observer but not to the extent of digging much deeper into some matters that seem to worsen or seemingly harsh intervening to someone’s behavior and practices or anything’s characteristics.  More so, introduction of innovations can also be helpful in aiming improvements but unlikely forcing them to adopt or embrace certain procedures as the way you want it.  Not all things are worth approving.  It is the same as making decision in consensus with both parties.  Also, refrain showing unacceptable behavior and norms to a place where it is not practiced, respect others culture and policies.  Likewise, do not touch anything that does not belong to you and do not intervene to any activities that are none of your concern.  One can suggest or recommend but not going beyond insisting or initiating.
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts (Keep fires small, enjoy a candle lantern for light, use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand, burn all woods and coals to ash, put out campfires completely).    Create enough fire what the surrounding or a certain things need.  Lighting a fire is as good as providing light to see things clearly at the dark side.   Metaphorically, it is the same as cheering others to make things delightful.  Make sure of anything which is cheerful and not hurting nor offensive that may only drive out anger.   Do not create so much fire or intense conversations; rather stick to limits and show enough or exact entertainment.  Respond well to attitude of others and analyze the setting first before getting into actions or starting a fire.
  6. Respect wildlife (Observe wildlife from a distance, never feed animals, protect wildlife, avwild orchidoid wildlife during sensitive times).  This relates to the line that says “for your eyes only”.   Let us not drag or grab anything unless permitted.  Respect others’ habitat in as much that you are respected and accommodated.  In terms of characteristics, take into consideration that every individual is unique.  Thus, always interact politely with someone despite his/her disclosed behavior.  Carefully utter words and come into gentle strokes that will not ruin someone’s ego tending to contribute violent reactions.  Be conscious on someone’s sensitivity.
  7. Be considerate of other visitors (protect the quality of tpink florettesheir experience, Be courteous, yield to other users on the trail, step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock, let nature sounds prevail, avoid loud voices and noises).  In the same way with respecting others, be reminded of the ethic of reciprocity “Do not do unto others, what you do not want others do unto you”.  Thus, be down to earth often times so others will courteously treat you.   Present procedures that finds beneficial for either parties or even much better giving way or offer most of it to others than grabbing much for one.   Furthermore, do not talk often or at all times and absolutely give time to listen, listen to others opinion and proposals.

Significantly, anyone can be guided with the seven principles as there can be no harm being channeled for a better outcome.  These principles are much helpful in guiding our daily routines to start up and end up the day with delight in serving others and the way others had served us (LCRM)###.

Blog, Hiking, Outreach

Walking Along Pavements to Trails

As she have been enjoying life to the notion that it is to the fullest, there have been times also in her life awfully wasted. That was when she freely walked and enjoyed every minute of episode at the pavements.

Later on, she diverted path and sincerely stepped on trails that seem difficult but surely leads into her goals. She then valued that every difficult path is made for a better reason. She heard the clock ticks as if she was reminded that she is out of time and needed to accomplish unfinished targets and get back to what is left behind and rectify situations. Even though bothered with ‘so little time, so much to do’, she still keeps on moving on.

Trees grew old and gets even harder, the harder it gets the sturdy it will become.


Down to pavements for amusement

Intavas outreachIn consequence of her vengeance, she never have tried to forgive neither forgets. Hence, she limitlessly spent so much time on various amusing establishments at the pavements. Most often than not, she went out at night with different faces and colleagues. So what would you expect? ‘often got home late at night or early dawn rather. Besides, she has to wake up early to catch up for work. Consequently, headache and tired body hits her but oblige to function. Further, she still managed to perform tasks as usual. She has to work harder to suffice family’s daily necessities.

More than that, she spent most on unimportant matters and consumed more on toxins. On the other hand, she also rendered time to outdoor activities, household chores and nurturing the children, but a week without a night of liquor is too bad for her and a day without puff of cigarette is even worse. In as much as she tried to escape from anger and took pleasure laughing outside to get pacified, the more she cried being unaware of telling miserable stories.

She is empty, she knew it. Her life is definitely messy for over five years and even witnessed or a contributor to bad practice that may closely relate to corruption, corruption of funds, time, and relationships and of service. So, having thought of being deceived, she trusted no one at all.


Dragged by selfishness

DSC_0241Seeing that she worked hard, she has to enjoy and indulge into her w ants to get herself paid. She knew it is not right and refused to listen to her heart instead. Because of selfishness, she explored the dark side of the road with no boundaries. Whatever and come what may are the thoughts that made her lost and almost get her failed, arriving at total darkness as if she sold her soul to death.

Subsequently, she realized that all the pavements and cross roads she passed by is not constructed with amount of true happiness, prosperity and healthy living. Her sinful and unforgivable acts made her claim that she is a great sinner you will ever know. She even struggled at the peak of survival choosing to be dragged to hell or believe in God’s mercy. Yes, He rescued her while reaching her hands upon Him. He even sent His angels to give her direction.


How affiliation affects her diversion of path

SumagayaAnyhow, she has been diverting into something worth exploring for. It can be described as difficult trail, but surely will she gain glory. Her life was not that gratified and contained before she came to attend to ROTA’s events. She ain’t having planned destinations other than the programmed tasks of her job.

Here, there and everywhere until in the midst of nowhere. She ought to respond to her obligations and responsibilities but not to the extent of reaching fulfillment for herself and to other parties. Notwithstanding, outdoor activities or climb events is not new to her, she even joined the same on some of the invitations whenever she wanted to but merely climbing for fun purposely to reach summit.

How she met ROTA? From the start and in synchronization with her gradual shift of routines, she once invited to climb Mt. Apo by her colleague with ROTA. She even secured preliminary requirement at City Health but she never had made it to the final decision, she declined at eleventh hour. So awful, and she felt so sorry that even her colleague felt awful and disgusted. She refused to join up to several events and invitations.

Until her first time with ROTA eventuated at October 2012’s Pasko sa Sulads (Sto. Domingo, Quezon, Bukidnon).

Outreach to SULADS, Sto. Domingo, Quezon, Buk.Apart from her colleagues, all of their faces seem new to her. Meeting new faces made her felt uneasy and uncomfortable.

It was one memorable and embarrassing experience with the group since she came very late that made them wait longer before it even depart going to the area – wasted time contributor!


Frequent Participation

ImpadidingIn a while, as convinced she came to join some of their outreach and climb events. Frequent participation made her gained confidence and closely interacted with them and to ROTA itself.

She volunteered and as one of the volunteers, one of nicest encounters is getting close to people (especially IPs) at remote areas made her more even proud as being one of them too. Despite her exposure to other remote areas in Northern Mindanao to help recipients in livelihood project implementation, her exposure is not as enjoyable and fulfilled with ROTA.

Accessing rough roads, climbing and trekking on slippery trails are not that easy but it is delightful of having thought of achievements while serving our brothers and sisters. Along with the itinerary, tasks are also delegated to each volunteer. From planning, preparation of foods and school or health kits and up to serving them personally was even more fulfilling while expecting nothing in return but happiness. She can compare ROTA as a hands-on mother, with hands to do household chores and be able to serve the children, with hands to hold and touch one’s heart.


Contributing factor

AubijidIn any event, ROTA is that hard working to serve others, unlike serving to facilitate implementation of projects with the agency she is affiliated and served them the easy way. However, she does hard work at field (geotagging and monitoring of projects is not that easy) particularly in remote areas. Has ROTA helped her? Well, given the scale of 1 to 10 and 10 as the highest, how she rated ROTA as one factor of her diversions? Certainly, she rated ROTA with 10. As to percentage of how it contributed to her diversions, she gave ROTA 25% which is included in the composition: family 25% and prayer 50%. It is not that big but at least it added and happy to serve others with ROTA indeed.


Keep moving on

Recently, she have been asking herself, “Am I tired?”, “Should I not pursue other things I have been dreaming to reach?”. Yes, she is tired of doing worthless matters and dishonest ways. She has been serving others for over 5 years to help uplift and improve their lives – reaching farther and wider. Despite the fact that she is thousand miles away from home and family, had she served both of her family and others equally? It is that difficult but still handled to do so.

mangroove plantingAt any rate, her life’s daily routine has changed differently. For over two years, she started clinging into treats that somehow appease her and others as well. She tried to spend time wisely. Conversely, she dealt to get entertained and accommodates some events she described at the pavements but not beyond restrictions.

Little by little, she was able to start some of the things that must have been started long way before. She knew it is not too late to manage everything fairly.

Eventually, her frequent routines include facilitation and monitoring of projects, laundry, cooking, gardening, run, trek with family and assist in building a Home. ###