Early Christmas Celebration with Aeta Community & Residents of Sitio Monicayo


Instead of holding the usual Christmas party, more than 100 volunteers of VIDES Philippines spent a meaningful morning with the participants of the Mary Help of Christians School's Oratory* from Sitio Monicayo, Mabalacat, Pampanga last December 4, 2016. 

The volunteers were warmly welcomed by the community with a traditional dance presentation. Selected mothers from the area also gave a special dance number.

Sr. Ping gave the welcome remarks and thanked VIDES for once again choosing to share the joys of the season with the residents of Sitio Monicayo. 

After the prayer and lighting of the advent candles, Sr. Josefina Carrasco FMA, VIDES Philippines Delegate, expressed the volunteers' gratitude for the very festive welcome given by the community. Roberto Manzoni of VIDES Italy and Carine Cuinet of VIDES France also greeted the participants and conveyed their happiness for being given the opportunity to join the Christmas outreach event. 

Simultaneous activities held during the day included medical consultation, haircutting, fun games for the kids, arts session, and discussion on children's rights. Volunteers had fun bonding with the kids and mothers of the community.



Before saying goodbye, the participants were given grocery items, school supplies, and gift items such as toys and clothes. (Thanks to VIDES volunteers and our regular donors your gifts of love and donations!)

After the event, the volunteers proceeded to Mary Help of Christians School in Mabiga for lunch and bonding activity. (Thank you, Sr. Irene Mangabat FMA and the Mary Help of Christians Mabalacat community, for welcoming us and for preparing our sumptuous food!) 

The early Christmas celebration with the aeta community in Pampanga started in 2008. Eight years ago, in keeping with the organization's motto of being one for others, the volunteers decided to forego the usual yuletide celebration and deemed it more important to go the peripheries to share the joys of the blessed season.


*Mary Help of Christians and Don Bosco schools conduct regular oratory activities composed of prayer and organized recreation for students and underprivileged youth.

Photo credit: VIDES volunteers


VIDES Pinoy Volunteers' Corner: Jennilyn Puertullano Pequit

"Whatever you do, do it from the heart.  Do it for the Lord and do it for others."

Noong bata pa ko tuwing malapit na ang pasko, sobrang excited ako kasi may bagong damit, maraming regalong matatanggap, masasarap ang pagkain.  Pero totoo nga na habang dumadaan ang panahon makikita mo yung totoong halaga ng pasko?  Higit pa sa mga materyal na bagay yung saya na matatanggap mo kapag nagbibigay ka.  

I'm always thankful to VIDES na dahil sa kanila nai-share namin ung mga blessings namin to those people na mas nangangailangan.  -D  Napaparamdam din namin yung saya at excitement sa mga bata na naramdaman ko dati.  Higit sa lahat, I'm very much thankful to God kasi sobra nyang bini-bless yung buhay ko para maging blessings din para sa iba.  Bonus pa na kasama mo yung mga malalapit mong kaibigan habang ginagawa ito. 

Sobrang sarap lang na makikita mo yung ibang tao na masaya dahil sa ginawa mo. Being a volunteer makes your ordinary life EXTRAORDINARY. :-D
This video will show kung gaano napasaya ng VIDES ang mga bata sa Aeta community, at kung gaano kasaya sa VIDES. 

Jenny works as an Accounting Staff at Citimex, Inc.  She has been volunteering for VIDES for three years now.  She loves traveling, taking photos, and making videos.   


Volunteers' Corner: Carine Cuinet

Meet Carine Cuinet from France.  A nurse by profession, she volunteers at the community clinic in Trece Martirez, Cavite.


Blessing of the VIDES Livelihood and Development Center for Women and Their Families

On November 20, 2016, ten months after we inaugurated the VIDES Livelihood and Development Center for Women and Their Families (LDCWF) and broke ground for the construction of the VIDES Bakery, we held the blessing of the completed facility.

The Center, which stands on a 107 square meter lot area, seeks to provide a venue for women empowerment, especially in the field of economic independence and sustainability.  The two-storey building houses a bakery, a sewing room, and a small office which will cater to microcredit and other livelihood projects.

The LDCWF shall provide livelihood opportunities for the former informal settlers from Barangay 143 in Pasay City who were relocated to Trece Martires in Cavite.  The more than 1,500 households have been bereft with viable sources of income due to the remoteness of the relocation site and the unavailability of job opportunities in the community.


VIDES Eat and Meet: Volunteers' Fair

The VIDES Eat and Meet: Volunteers’ Fair was held last Sunday, 27 November, at the Don Bosco School Sta. Mesa. 
The said event was a triple celebration held in connection with the 21st Anniversary of VIDES in the Philippines, the annual gathering of VIDES Pinoy volunteers, friends, and benefactors, and the advance observance of the International Volunteers’ Day.

VIDES Delegate Sr. Jojo Carrasco welcomed all attendees and related the significance of holding the annual Eat and Meet event.  An audio visual presentation about VIDES was shown, which was followed up by a quick discussion on the history of the organization, as well as its programs and activities.

Former Busina Mo, Dunong Ko participant and grantee of VIDES sholarship, Marian Belarmnio, shared an inspiring story on how she got to know VIDES, joined its activities, became an active volunteer, and finished her studies with the help of the organization.  Marian is one of the success stories of VIDES.  She recently graduated with latin honors (cum laude) from the University of the Philippines with a degree in Business Administration and now works in a commercial bank.    

Opportunities for volunteering in countries where there is Daughters of Mary Help of Christians or FMA presence was also introduced.   Atty Anna Theresa Cruz shared her experiences during her  three-month internship at the VIDES International Human Rights Office in Geneva, Switzerland.  Ms. Rosylyn Arnigo reminisced about the fun and enriching experience she had with the volunteers who attended the VIDES International Convention in Rome, Italy.  

A video presentation made by international volunteers, Ryan and Halle from Canada, and Judith from Germany, who are currently in Palawan was also shown.  Volunteers  Carine Cuinet from France and Roberto Manzoni from Italy also went on stage to share what they are doing for the marginalized sector in the country through VIDES Philippines.

Sr Jojo Carrasco also gave an update on the recently completed Livelihood and Development Center for Women and Their Families in Trece Martirez, Cavite.  The facility, which stands on a 107 square meter lot area, seeks to provide a venue for women empowerment, especially in the field of economic independence and sustainability.  The two-storey building shall house a bakery, a sewing room, and a small office which will cater to microcredit and other livelihood projects

During the event, VIDES also launched the “Raffle for a Cause”  fundraising project for the procurement of baking equipment and supplies for the VIDES Bakery  as well as sewing machines and other equipment for the Livelihood and Development Center. Sr Jojo explained that the sooner the equipment are provided, the sooner the center can operate to provide livelihood opportunities target beneficiaries.  She enjoined the attendees to support the fundraising project for the center.

That afternoon, volunteers  and guests enjoyed bonding and hopping from one booth to another.   Among the booths set up were the following: teddy bear making kiosk, paper flower-making and block stamping booth,  DIY photo booth,  gift booth, and VIDES history booth, and various food kiosks.  Jeph Suzara also entertained the guests with his rendition of popular songs.

VIDES volunteers also had an enjoyable time reminiscing and walking down memory lane as they pinned  photos on places they have been to because of VIDES on the Philippine map and the world map.   They also wrote their commitment on the VIDES Freedom Wall.  Lucky volunteers and guests who joined the question and answer game also took home Starbuck gift certificates and merchandise.

It was certainly not a lazy Sunday afternoon, but an afternoon of fun, bonding, sharing, learning, and making a difference. 


We wish to thank the FMA community and DBS Sta. Mesa for always supporting the activities of VIDES Pinoy. 


Volunteers' Corner: Ryan, Halle and Judith in Palawan

Learn more about volunteering opportunities in Salesian communities.   Watch this  video produced by our Canadian and German volunteers.   


VIDES Eat and Meet: Volunteers' Fair

VIDES Philippines Volunteers Foundation, Inc. invites you to an afternoon of fun gathering, sharing, and  giving back to the community.

Meet our local
volunteers & our friends from Germany, France, & Italy!  Learn about volunteering opportunities here & abroad, learn basic greetings in French & Italian, learn arts & crafts, and design handmade gifts for aeta kids in Pampanga.

Tickets for the event are prized at only P100.00 each!  For this minimal
amount, you get to help us buy baking equipment for the VIDES Livelihood and Development Center.  Your ticket  
already includes a food stub. Attendees to the event will get a chance to win Starbucks gift certificates and merchandise!

This event is open to the public. Bring your family and friends! No need for reservations. You may buy tickets at the venue. 

Join our VIDES Eat and Meet 2016: Volunteers’ Fair on Sunday, 27 November 2016, 1:00 to 5:00 pm at Don Bosco School Sta. Mesa, 3500 V. Mapa Extension, Sta. Mesa, ManilaFor more information, please contact us at 0915-2978956 or (02)715-6740.  

Learn.  Share.  Make Friends. Make a Difference. 


Back in Oriental Mindoro: Mangrove Planting in Baco and Volunteers' Bonding in Puerto Galera

We started our travel from Don Bosco School Sta. Mesa to Barangay Pulantubig, Baco, Oriental Mindoro in the wee hours of the morning of October 22. The volunteers had very little or no sleep at all so we tried to take advantage of the travel time to catch some shuteye.

After almost two hours of land travel, we reached Batangas Port where we broke our fast by sharing a simple meal of rice, boiled eggs, and hotdogs.

By sunrise, we excitedly hopped on a fast craft to Calapan. We reached the pier on or about 8:00 am where we were met by our Italian volunteer, Roberto, Tatay Lito Suzara, and Leng, our youngest volunteer. We immediately headed off to our mangrove planting site so we can reach the area before the tide went up.

We had to endure a bumpy, muddy ride to get to Barangay Pulantubig. Despite the lack of sleep, the volunteers seemed to have a boundless source of energy as there was endless chatter and a chorus of laughter every now and then.

We reached the mangrove planting site at around 9:00 am. From where we parked our vehicle, we walked for about 300 meters, crossed a makeshift bamboo bridge, waded into thigh-deep water (almost waist-deep for vertically challenged volunteers like me!), and trod through mud. Since it was already scorching hot and we had just about an hour or so before the water went up, we immediately started planting the mangrove propagules. We finished in no time since the volunteers already knew the terrain and the drill. Most of us, even the two kids, Vhon and Leng, had joined previous mangrove planting activities.

After planting all the propagules, we took the opportunity to inspect the mangroves previously planted by the volunteers. We were pleased to see that the trees that survived were already taller than some of us. We took souvenir photos and then proceeded to head back to the mainland as the water was already rising.


VIDES Pinoy Lenten Retreat 2016

Thirty-two volunteers spent two meaningful days at a peaceful oasis located in the bustling city of Quezon City last March 19-20, 2016.   The Sta. Rafaela Maria House of Spirituality, which is being run by the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, provided the ideal venue for holding VIDES Pinoy's annual lenten retreat.

After being warmly welcomed by the community and listening to a brief orientation given by Sr. Sharon, the volunteers were asked by VIDES Delegate Sr. Jojo Carrasco FMA, to take a moment of silence and to prepare themselves for the ensuing sessions.      

Rev. Fr. Benhur Borja, SDB, this year's lenten retreat master, introduced his talk on the "Mercy of God" by sharing the story of King David, the awful sins committed by the great king, and the sinner's eventual repentance.   Fr. Ben asked the retreatants to reflect on why God forgave David despite the latter's grave sins.   He asked them how could God possibly forgive and accept people who have committed heinous and unspeakable crimes, especially against the innocent and the vulnerable. 

Expounding on David's story and the lessons which can be learned from the parable of the Prodigal Son, Fr. Ben discussed  the "Elements of  God's Mercy":

                1. The Lord's mercy is a mystery.    We surely cannot understand how, despite the severity  of the sins His people have committed, God can still show mercy and compassion.                 

                2.  The Lord's mercy is an experience.  God welcomes sinners with open arms.  Instead of feeling shame, we feel His unconditional acceptance.  Enveloped by His great love, we feel light, peaceful, and happy.   Receiving His grace and mercy is an extraordinary experience.

                3.  The Lord's mercy is about remembering.   A positive experience is worth remembering.   Because God's forgiveness is an  indescribably pleasant experience, we would always want to relive and remember it. 

                4.  The Lord's mercy is transformation.  Being blessed by God's mercy and compassionate heart, we experience a positive change in our lives.  Our hearts are transformed.  We also become more forgiving and more accepting.

                5.  Mercy is the yardstick of our relationship with God.   The strength of our relationship with God is measured by our capacity to accept His mercy, and to forgive and be merciful like Him. 

Fr Ben explained that for humans, forgiveness is a process.  He shared how a person can tell if he or she is finally ready to forgive the people who caused him or her pain.  First, you are already asking and praying for the strength to forgive people who hurt you.  Second, you no longer wish the person who offended you any harm. 

A discussion on anger and the importance of learning how to manage it was also made.  Volunteers were asked to examine where their anger is coming from and to process and resolve the issues so they can make peace with themselves and the people who caused or continue to cause them pain.

Also underscored during the sessions was the importance of having a grateful heart.  Fr Ben recalled the story of the ten lepers whom Jesus healed, emphasizing that only one of the ten lepers returned to Jesus to express gratitude.   He discussed the importance of gratitude in our daily lives.  He asked the retreatants to always remember that a grateful heart is a happy heart.  


Christmas with the Aeta Community

Instead of holding a traditional Christmas party, volunteers and staff of the VIDES Philippines once again chose to spend their holiday get-together with the Aeta community of Sitio Monicayo, Mabalacat, Pampanga. 

VIDES Pinoy volunteers joined the community prayer and reading of gospel, held a fun program where they led the kids in dancing and singing, facilitated games for the young ones, rendered free haircut services, conducted lecturettes on children's rights, engaged women to promote effective parenting through positive discipline, monitored the status of the beneficiaries of the organization's livelihood program, provided medical consultations and medicines, and distributed grocery packs and gifts to the program participants.


VIDES has established a strong partnership with the local community with the support and help of the FMA. Through the implementation of livelihood, literacy, human rights advocacy, and catechism programs, the organization aims to empower the marginalized sector of the society.