Jo Tankers Officials Visit Pasay BMDK

Voice of VIDES Choir and VIDES Happy Feet Dancers
render a special performance.  VIDES Volunteers and BMDK children
 sing and dance to welcome the special guests
Last December 13, Pasay's Busina Mo, Dunong Ko children were blessed to have met officials and representatives of the Philippine office of Jo Tankers, a Norwegian firm which provides deep-sea transportation services for chemicals and other high value liquids. 

The company, one of the major benefactors of VIDES Philippines, donated the first Busina Mo, Dunong Ko Mobile Library in May 2006.  It continues to provide financial support for the operations of the Mobile Education Project, which brings education and joy to hundreds of underprivileged children in Metro Manila five days a week. 

Thank you very much, Capt. Alinea, Capt. Johan Isaken, Capt. Balsamo, Ms. Angie and Ms. Mabel! 


Early Christmas with the Aetas of Pampanga

Fifty-five (55) VIDES volunteers brought holiday cheers to the residents of Sitio Monicayo, Mabalacat, Pampanga last December 8, 2013. 

The traditional early Christmas celebration with the Aeta community started with a prayer and reading of the gospel led by Sr. Mildred and volunteer students from the Mary Help of Christian School of Mabalacat.  Sr. Joy shared an inspirational talk which stressed the importance of heeding John the Baptist's call to prepare for the coming of the Lord.   

After the reflection of the day's gospel, the children and mothers joined the VIDES volunteers in dancing and singing praises to the Lord Almighty.   

Thereafter, snacks were distributed and the simultaneous activities commenced. 

VIDES doctors, nurses, and volunteers attended to the close to 200 persons who needed medical assistance.  


Voice of VIDES & Happy Feet Dancers Spread Christmas Cheers AT BPI

Last December 18, the Voice of VIDES Choir and Happy Feet dancers spread Christmas cheers at the BPI Main Office in Makati City.  The choir serenaded the bank's employees and guests with their angelic voices.  The dancers, on the other hand, showed off their graceful and rhythmic moves. 

No less than BPI Foundation officials led by Executive Director Florendo G. Maranan,             Ms. Tess Ramos, and Ms. Gina o. Astilla welcomed the VIDES group to the BPI Main Office.  

Since 2010, the BPI Foundation has annually invited the VIDES children to perform at the BPI Main Office and to bring holiday cheers to the employees and clients of the bank.

Our gratitude goes to our friends at the BPI for their continued support and appreciation. God bless your generous hearts!        


Project Lakbay Aral Brings BMDK Students to Las Farolas

VIDES kids with Project Lakbay Aral donors and volunteers
Last December 1, Project Lakbay Aral*,brought a busload of VIDES Philippines' Busina Mo, Dunong Ko underprivileged students to Las Farolas, a freshwater aquarium facility located in Frontera Verde, Ugong, Pasig City. 

Sixty-two students from NIA Road, Quezon City and Pasay City went on a guided tou
r of the 2-storey living museum which features 117 giant aquariums and 34 giant biotopes. They certainly enjoyed their face-to-face encounter with rare and exotic freshwater species from different parts of the world.

After exploring the facility, the students were asked to share their insights and write their personal commitment to help ensure the protection and conservation of our freshwater ecosystem and our environment. 


After the tour, everyone trooped to a nearby fastfood restaurant for lunch and some bonding time. 

Thanks so much to the generous and well-meaning people behind Project Lakbay Aral for letting VIDES students experience a fun voyage of discovery of the freshwater world. More power to all of you! 

Please visit Project Lakbay Aral FB Page for more photos.

*Project Lakbay Aral, an education and literacy advocacy initiative, is the brainchild of the blogger behind Happy Blue Thoughts.  It aims to give underprivileged students and out-of-school youth the opportunity to experience the fun and interactive voyage of learning and discovery through visits to museums and other places of historical and cultural significance. 


Volunteers' Corner: Carl Chua & Julie Clemenia

Above: Carl helps in packing the loot bags for the Aeta kids
Below: Julie attends to an elderly who availed of the free medical check-up

"On Sunday, December 8, 2013, a humble giving back of blessings to our brothers and sisters from Mabalacat, Pampangga was made possible with the facilitation of the VIDES group. That was the first time we met and joined the VIDES group. They welcomed us, the new individuals, warmly in helping them pass on the hopeful energy to the community in Mabalacat. 

Seeing the faces of everyone in the said community made us feel more motivated to reach out to those in need, and to fully serve our brothers and sisters who seek for other people's guidance in order to conquer their misfortunes."

Carl Chua & Julie Clemenia
Annual Mission Camp with the Aeta Community
December 8, 2013


Volunteers' Corner: Juan Alfredo Alcorta

Juan facilitates a poster-making activity with the kids
Sagñay, Camarines Sur

"My first time as a volunteer for VIDES was a very enriching experience. I got to know more up close the different realities of the Philippines. Living in Metro Manila only predisposes you to a certain view of life in the Philippines and having traveled to the Bicol region to provide assistance and spend time with children there opened my eyes. This is something I would recommend foreigners who like to volunteer do while living in the Philippines. In addition, I got to meet many interesting people beyond my circle of friends and colleagues. This is an experience I would like to repeat."

Juan Alfredo Alcorta from Argentina
Bicol Mission Camp, November 23-25, 2013


Volunteers' Corner: Ciel Estacio

Ciel facilitating a session on children's rights
during the Mission Camp in Hacienda Malihao, Victorias City

1. Take time off
Volunteering entails taking time off from your busy schedule at work, in school, your everyday life.   Know that the time you are willing to commit to volunteering is a priceless gift to our society.
Rick Warren, the author of the best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, so beautifully captured the essence of the gift of time when he said that “Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.” 
It does not matter if you volunteer on a full-time, part-time, or occasional basis.  What is important is that you are willing to share a portion of your time for a worthwhile cause.
2. Talk   
Talk and open up to your co-volunteers and to the people you are going to minister or serve.  Communicate your interest in knowing more about them — their experiences, their concerns, their needs, their goals and their dreams.  Sincere and meaningful conversations establish trust and confidence, and build bridges of friendship.
It is important to know and understand where people are coming from in order to respond to them appropriately.   Learning about the predicament of other people will make you more open-minded and more compassionate, less judgmental, and less critical of others.
3. Teach 
Teach by sharing your experiences, imparting your knowledge, and offering your God-given talents.   Share and teach God’s love, compassion, and good news by setting a good example.
Remember to keep an open mind and an open heart.   Bear in mind the words of the Roman philosopher Seneca:  Docendo discimus.  It means by teaching, we learn.   As we commit to teach others, we also prepare to be enriched by them.
4.  Touch
Reach out your hand and touch people, literally and figuratively.
You can connect and speak to another person through the healing power of touch.  A gentle tap on the shoulder, a consoling stroke on the back, a friendly hug, and other comforting gestures can convey the message of love, caring, understanding, and acceptance.
Touching the lives of others is inevitable as you carry on with your volunteer work for VIDES.  As the writer Leo Buscaglia aptly put it, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”   
Touch the lives and hearts of others.  Let your life and heart be touched in return.
5. Transform  
It is said that, By sharing yourself with others, life begins to find its meaning.”     Indeed, one of the amazing joys of volunteering is not just what it does for those we serve, but how our own lives are transformed by the experience.
Transform yourself, aid in the transformation of others, and, in your own little way, help transform our world into a much better place.   By volunteering, you are given the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of others.   Let yourself be an agent of transformation.  Help in creating an dynamic wave of positive change in our society.
Share you time, talent, and skills.  Be an agent of change.
Be one for others. Be a VIDES volunteer!

Ciel, an HR Manager in a government agency, has been volunteering for VIDES since 2005.  As her contribution to the education advocacy, she has set up "Project Lakbay Aral".  The said initiative aims to let underprivileged students and out-of-school youth take the fun and interactive voyage of discovery through visits to museums and other places of historical and cultural significance.   In her spare time, Ciel blogs about her adventures at Happy Blue Thoughts


VIDES Goes to Bicol: Sagñay Mission Camp

VIDES Pinoy volunteers once again trooped to Bicol Province to bring the message of God's love to underprivileged kids and women. 

Two hundred (200) pupils of Sagñay Central School, Camarines Sur and 100 mothers who are under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps Program) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) were the chosen recipients of the outreach activity held last November 24, 2013. 

The special day, which fell on Feast of Christ the King, started with a Eucharistic Celebration officiated by Fr. Gilber Briguera.  In his homily, the priest underscored the importance of letting God reign in our lives.  He also acknowledged the generosity and selflessness exemplified by VIDES volunteers and enjoined the children to follow their example.

Snacks were distributed and a short meet and greet the volunteers and donors session was held after the mass.  Opening of simultaneous activities such as haircutting, medical mission, life journey session with mothers, and catechism session followed. 


Members of Junior VIDES - Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) Attend Formation Session

As part of its advocacy to promote volunteerism among the youth, VIDES Philippines conducts regular formation activities for students and young volunteers.

Last November 6, 2013, members of the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) - Junior VIDES attended a formation session that centered on family and their spiritual formation. 

The session, which was facilitated by VIDES Board of Trustees member Reccie Oliveros and VIDES volunteer Amy Suzara, aimed to enable the students to reflect about how they feel towards their families, recognize how their families have contributed to the persons they are today, and pray for each one and each others' family.  

Student were asked to draw symbolic trees while keeping in mind the following: the type of tree represents their respective families; the colors of the tree represent their feelings about their families; the ground beneath the tree represents their spiritual formation; and the background represents their dominant memories of their families. 

It is said that "The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life."  Through the said formation session, the students learned the importance of respect, love, support, and acceptance in nurturing the harmonious relationship in their respective families. 

Call for Solidarity: Let's Help the Victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda

Urgent appeal for solidarity: 

The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in the Philippines, in coordination with DBS Manila - Don Bosco School (Salesian Sisters), Inc. and VIDES Philippines Volunteer Foundation Inc. are organizing relief operations for our brothers and sisters in the Visayas Region. 

Kindly send your donations in kind to: Don Bosco School (Salesian Sisters) - 3500 V. Mapa Ext., Sta. Mesa, Manila 1016 Philippines. 

Thank you very much! May God bless you all!


Annual Encounter with Sr Sarah

Last Thursday's heavy rains and floods, brought about by tropical storm Santi, did not deter the VIDES volunteers from going to Don Bosco School Sta. Mesa to be a part of the annual encounter with Sr Sarah B. Garcia FMA.  As always, the volunteers were very much eager to hear what the Provincial Superior of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians has to say.  

Sr Sarah started her message by congratulating all the volunteers for all the good they do in transforming the lives of children.  She acknowledged the contribution of the volunteers in shaping the loves of children through education.  

Here is Sr. Sarah's inspiring message to the volunteers:

"Continue walking with Christ, which means contemplating the love story between God and you. It is awesome to live and walk with Christ as we journey daily with Him. 
A young boy asked Pope Francis how to believe and search to be faithful. The Pope answered, 'Walking is an art; if we are always in a hurry we might not be able to reach our destination'. 
Walking is the art of looking to the horizon; thinking about where I want to go, and coping with the weariness that comes from walking. Moreover, the way is often hard-going and it is not easy. I want to be faithful to this journey, but it is not easy. 
Listen, there is darkness. There are days of darkness, days of failure, and some days of falling. Someone falls, and falls. Sometimes we feel weak, we can’t move on; there is darkness… yet, always keep this in mind: Do not be afraid of failure. Do not be afraid of falling. 
In the art of walking, it is not falling that matters. Get up immediately, and continue to go on and this is beautiful. This is how we ought to walk every day. 
It is terrible to walk alone, terrible and tedious. Walking in community, with friends, with those who love us… this helps us to arrive precisely at the destination where we must arrive. 
Christ is our greatest friend who is faithful and true. 
We go through different transitions in life, midlife… late adulthood. People change… sometimes we get tired.. WE ARE LOOKING FOR RENEWED MEANING IN OUR LIFE. Times are moving forward… we experience changes.. These transitions are normal; they are a call for us to discover ourselves better. 
We, who give ourselves to others, we expand our hearts, we transcend ourselves, especially when we encounter the poor. Even if we are in deep pain, we still understand why we move on. We have discovered that 'more' in life… and if we continue to search, we will discover the 'more' beyond that more."


VIDES Partners with CWC for the National Children's Month Celebration

VIDES Philippines, in partnership with the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), organized a special children's festival in celebration of this year's National Children's Month at the Don Bosco School Sta. Mesa last Saturday, 05 October 2013.

The 160 children from the five areas of the Busina Mo, Dunong Ko (BMDK) Mobile Literacy Program were joined by VIDES volunteers, officials and staff of the CWC, and delegates from other government agencies, NGOs, schools, and other faith-based organizations.   

The children actively participated in the cheerdance competition, poster making contest, quiz bee, and essay writing contest on children's rights.  



Voice of VIDES @ PTV Channel 4

In celebration of the National Children's Month, our very own homegrown songbirds, Voice of VIDES Choir, was invited to sing during the Holy Mass celebrated last Sunday, 06 October 2013, at PTV Channel 4, the country's national television station.  

Their angelic voices were accompanied by the guitar of their trainor, Mr. Arnel Sibolino. On keyboards were VIDES Philippines Delegate Sr Jojo Carrasco FMA and volunteer Simonh Bries.  VIDES volunteer Amy Suzara also complemented the girls' lovely voices.

Cheers to the Voice of VIDES Choir! Continue sharing your talents and continue singing for the glory of God!   


VIDES Kicks Off the National Children's Month Celebration at Don Bosco School Manila

In line with its goal of furthering the advocacy on children's rights, VIDES Philippines facilitated the kick off of this year's National Children's Month Celebration at Don Bosco School Manila last October 2, 2013.  

VIDES Sisters and volunteers, with the help of FMA Sisters and Don Bosco teachers, cooked up a series of fun activities that aimed to raise the students' awareness on their rights as children.  

Members of the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) showcased their talents in acting, singing, drawing, and slogan-making.  They also presented their commitments to be good and productive members of the society.

The National Children's Month is celebrated every month of October, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 267, series of 1993.  For 2013, the theme, Kahirapan, Wakasan, Karapatan ng Bata Ipaglaban! focuses on poverty. It highlights that poverty reduction starts with children and that education is the most promising intervention that can make a difference in the life of every child and his/her family.

Go to the VIDES Philippines Facebook Page for more photos.


Livelihood Project: VIDES Awards 25 Piglets and 25 Goats to Indigent Aeta Families

VIDES Delegate Sr Maria Josefina Carrasco FMA, VIDES President Tony Espinosa, and members of the VIDES Board of Trustees led the awarding of 25 piglets and 25 goats to 50 indigent Aeta families from Sitio Monicayo, Brgy Calumpang, Mabalacat, Pampanga last September 15, 2013.

Through its various livelihood programs, VIDES Philippines aims to alleviate the plight of indigent families by giving them additional source of income. 

Livelihood Project: Makina Mo, Kabuhayan Ko Bedsheets and Pillow Cases

The mothers of VIDES' Makina Mo, Kabuhayan Ko Urban Livelihood Project lovingly made stylish bedsheets and pillowcases for you.  

Liven up your bedroom with these colorful, eye-catching bedroom essentials. Guaranteed to give anyone sweet dreams and a restful sleep!    

For only Php999.00, you get a fitted sheet (36" x 72"), a flat sheet (54" x 82"), and two pillow cases (18" x 29")!  

You may give them as gifts to your loved ones or colleagues this Christmas Season. For orders and inquiries, please call (632)703-5606.  We accept bulk orders. 


VIDES Joins the National Children's Month Celebration

VIDES Philippines celebrates the 2013 National Children's Month with a special program and get-together on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at Don Bosco School Manila, V. Mapa Extension, Sta. Mesa, Manila. 

VIDES Sisters and volunteers will join the children from the different areas of the Busina Mo, Dunong Ko (BMDK) Mobile Literacy Program in a day of fun games and enriching activities. There will be a quiz bee, a cheerdance competition, various art contests, and a mini concert.  A Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC) skit will also be presented during the event.  

Rev Fr. Joey B. Tuzaon, Parish Priest of the Sacred Heart of Jesus will officiate the Eucharistic Celebration.  Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) Executive Director, Ms. Brenda S. Vigo, will grace the said event as special guest.

Pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 267, series of 1993, the National Children's Month is celebrated every month of October.  This year's theme,  Kahirapan, Wakasan, Karapatan ng Bata Ipaglaban! focuses on poverty. It highlights that poverty reduction starts with children and that education is the most promising intervention that can make a difference in the life of every child and his/her family.

Dep Ed Commends VIDES Philippines for Supporting the ALS Program

VIDES Philippines received a Certificate of Commendation signed by no less than Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC, Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd), for its invaluable contributions to the cause of the country's Alternative Learning System (ALS) Program.

DepEd specifically lauded VIDES for supporting Don Bosco School's ALS program called Rekindling a Child's Hope through Education-Alternative Learning System (REACH-ALS).  The volunteer foundation has provided a Mobile Library and transportation for ALS learners of Don Bosco School-Sta. Mesa, donated instructional media materials (laptop computers and LCD projector), provided funds for the honoraria of ALS Instructional Managers, and granted scholarships to ALS test passers.

This recognition is another feather in the cap of VIDES Philippines, which, with the help of its generous donors and benefactors, shall continue to help out-of-school youth attain their dreams of earning a high school diploma, their key to a brighter future.  


2013 Search for Outstanding Volunteers

The 2013 SEARCH FOR OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEERS (SOV) is now open for nominations. All individuals of Filipino citizenship and Filipino volunteer organizations, and local chapters of foreign volunteer organizations that currently provide volunteer assistance in the Philippines are eligible to participate.

The SOV recognizes the exemplary performance and dedication of Filipino volunteers, as they build strong communities across the country. Since 2001, the Search had given honor and recognition to 101 volunteers and volunteer organizations. They initiated and/or assisted development projects in different sectors nationwide. They serve as models whose contributions to society are considered best practices in volunteerism. 

The Award categories are (1) National Outstanding Volunteer Award (NOVA) for outstanding volunteer individuals and organizations, including corporate volunteering initiatives and (2) Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award (VLAA) for those who had engaged in consistent volunteering activities for at least twenty-five (25) years and attained national status and recognition in the field of volunteerism. 

Individual/s and organization/s with special contribution to volunteerism and has made a difference in the history of Philippine volunteering are also recognized through Special Citations.

Nominations from the National Capital Region (NCR) must be submitted to the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA), those from the regions to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Offices and those from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to the Regional Planning and Development Office (RPDO). 

The deadline for submission of nominations is on 23 August 2013. Nomination forms are available at PNVSCA, NEDA Regional Offices and the ARMM-RPDO and can be downloaded at their websites.

For more information, please contact Mr. Kenneth C. Siruelo, PNVSCA at (632) 381-0559 / (632) 435-7999; email: info@pnvsca.gov.ph or visit www.pnvsca.gov.ph/sov


Mission Camp 2013

VIDES Philippines' annual big event was held last Saturday, May 25, 2013 at the Gym of the Mary Help of Christians College (MHCC) in Canlubang, Laguna.

Seventy-seven VIDES volunteers joined hands with the FMA Community to serve and spend a worthwhile day with 500 oratorians, composed of children and teens from various areas in the province. 

Reverend Father Favie Faldas, SDB officiated the Eucharistic Celebration.  To underscore this year's Mission Camp theme, "Mabuhay ng may Kaganapan Tungo sa Pananampalataya, Pag-asa, Pag-ibig,"  Fr Favie explained the importance of living in faith, hope and love to experience the fullness of life.  He also recognized the dedication and commitment of the volunteers and all people who wholeheartedly offer their time, talents, and resources to help improve the lot of others.  He enjoined the children to also follow the same path.   

After the mass, various activities were held simultaneously.  Designated VIDES volunteers led the sharing and learning sessions with their assigned groups. The others took their posts at the hair cutting and medical stations.  

The local women started working on their palamig (refreshment) entries and the youth got busy decorating their booths  Each team did their very best to bring home the top awards.

Officers and members of the VIDES Board of Trustees turned over 10 hogs, 2 goats, and chicken broilers to the chosen beneficiaries of the organization's livelihood program.  

After sharing a simple lunch, the VIDES Got Talent Show commenced. The oratorians went on stage and presented their unique interpretations of the mission camp's theme.  

While waiting for the announcement of winners, fun games were held.  The representatives of each children's groups were also called on stage to explain the meaning of the posters they made.  

The VIDES volunteers ended the day's program by presenting a special dance number and enjoining everyone to dance and sing praises to the Lord.

The Mission Camp beneficiaries, young and old alike, happily went home with loot bags filled with rice, grocery items, school supplies, and other useful supplies.  They also brought home memories of a worthwhile, fun-filled day.   

VIDES Philippines would like to express its utmost gratitude to the very generous donors and selfless volunteers who made this year's mission camp possible. May the Almighty continue to shower you with an abundance of love and blessings.