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