The Philippines is composed of 1,107 beautiful islands endowed with a plethora of beauty and natural resources, mega-cities, volcanoes, beaches and rice fields, but also a land of startling poverty. The culture here is incredibly unique relative to any of its closest geographic neighbors. Our program site is in the province of Nueva Ecija, about 100 miles from Manila. In 1896, Nueva Ecija became one of the first provinces to revolt against Spain, and one of the provinces who declared its independence in 1898. Poverty was the only reason why Nueva Ecija was not given recognition as a separate country from the Philippines by the King of Spain in 1840s.The people of this community are neglected and marginalized in terms of social development. As a result, they live in poverty. Women, children, and the disabled bear the effect of massive poverty, and it is to this particularly needy population that we direct our efforts.
Our program seeks to promote the value of “Bayanihan” a Filipino value of working together towards sustainable community development through volunteerism. Our work projects center around these core activities:
- Education assistance for disabled children
- Repair / construction of houses for families of the disabled
- Repair or construction of basic housing and sanitation buildings
- Volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of leisure activities while in Nueva Ecija.
- Tour Cabanatuan City, Gapan City, and San Isidoro
- Volunteers will take a tour of important historical sites of each of these cities. This is an evening activity and takes about 3-4 hours and ends with a stop at Filipino spa to get a break from the heat.
- Volunteers will have the opportunity to try their hand at making some traditional Filipino dishes in a class like setting. The class will be followed by dinner, where volunteers will get to try out all of their creations.
- There will also be an organized volleyball game between volunteers and the students of the College of the Immaculate Conception (CIC). This is a light-hearted event and not to be taken too seriously. Students will have a chance to practice their English and volleyball skillswith our volunteers.
- Cultural exchange is a large part of every program Globe Aware offers. Volunteers will have an opportunity to meet thedifferent tribes who are living in Bacao. This is a great way to partake in new food, dance, and culture.
- Volunteers will explore the Minalungao National Park for hiking and swimming in the calm, clean river.
The Volunteer Coordinator will meet the volunteers at the Manila International Airport at 12:30 pm on Saturday. From Manila International Airport, we will travel together the roughly 4 hours back to Nueva Ecija. For return flights we ask that volunteers not book flights leaving before 2 p.m.
SAFETY / SECURITY
The Philippines is very rich in culture, customs and traditions. The majority of the inhabitants of Nueva Ecija speaks Tagalog. The good news is, most of the people speak clearly in English. Thus the volunteers will not have any problem in terms of language. There are lots of hospitals in Cabanatuan City so any medical needs of the volunteers can be easily responded to. The Volunteer Coordinator can guide volunteers to where the best to exchange currency. Use common sense by not carrying large sums of money, passports, and bank cards in an easily accessible area should help deter thieves.