Before I start sharing with you this wonderful experience, I want you to remember this :
“Your 200 Pesos will make a big difference”
There’s a different kind of spiritual satisfaction every time I give service to others and I think that’s the main reason why I chose to pursue my career in the healthcare industry. During college , I was an active volunteer on different organizations. I love going to different places to reach out to those people in need, well lucky for me my University strongly supports this kind of activities. I always wanted to spearhead my own outreach someday, so when Juicy Cologne PH gave me this opportunity, I immediately said yes!
I chose to conduct my first outreach program in the mountains because I really love hiking! This is like hitting two birds with one stone: Hiking + serving others = yaaaaaaaay! It’s going to be more challenging compared to the other outreaches I joined before, but that kind of challenge made it more fulfilling in the end. I was so thrilled to start planning and was definitely very excited to meet our “katutubos” living in the area.
WHY THE DUMAGAT TRIBE?
The Dumagat tribe belongs to the less known natives ‘katutubo’ in our country which is still under the group of indigenous people. They used to dwell in the whole Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges, but from time to time they are being forced to move their home once foreign settlers’ tries to take their land.
For the past 5 years, the Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges had become a favorite go-to spot for hikers because of its close proximity from the metro and the picturesque view it offers at the summit. This popularity left the Dumagat tribe with no choice but to live only in certain parts of the land where no hikers usually go.
Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges, Barangay Puray Sitio Kabuoan San Rodriguez , Rizal Philippines
GOALS OF THE OUTREACH:
– To provide light.
Since the tribe is far from the city, there is still no electricity in the area.
During night time, they usually use candlelight for their routine activities. This practice is somehow accident prone and may cause a fire. We have provided 85 families with one solar lamp each, which they can charge under the sunlight during daytime and use it at night.
– To give health teaching about proper hygiene – specifically hand and oral care.
The good thing about their location is their abundant supply of clean water from the nearby river. Each of them also received hygiene kits from us – which consisted of a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, cologne, alcohol, and towel. As a nurse, I want them to know the importance of proper hygiene in order for them to prevent diseases in the simplest way possible.
– To provide a healthy lunch meal.
Based on my assessment, many children are under their desired weight. This fact is undeniably alarming, but then it is never their choice. One meal will not change that fact, but looking at their happy faces while eating the meal that we served made a huge difference.
It took me 3 months of preparation before I had finally conducted my outreach program. First, I picked 20 volunteers who had joined me on the day of the implementation. I only have three requirements in order for them to be qualified for this outreach. You might think that the main requirement is to be a hiker, but nope it’s definitely not. Actually, most of my participants are first-time hikers! The three things I required them to have: love to serve others, patience for kids and lots of energy for action-filled activities.
We met at ‘The tropical Hut’ in Marcos Highway at 4:30 AM and from there we rode a van provided by Juicy Cologne PH until the municipal hall of Barangay Puray.
From there, we rode a ‘habal-habal’, which is a big bike that is usually used for mountain climbing.The ride was crazily bumpy, but it was really fun! It took us around 20-25 minutes riding the ‘habal-habal’ before we started hiking.
The trail was actually easy, I can rate it as 2 when it comes to the difficulty level.What made it more challenging is the numerous amount of mud we battled with. Since it rained hard the night before our hike, the trail became more slippery than usual.
Also, the river had a very strong current that is about waist-high in depth. We crossed two rivers before we reached our destination.
When we arrived at our destination, we were welcomed by the villagers and was accommodated in one of the houses near the barangay court. We rested for 30 minutes and started to prepare the things needed for the activities. We then divided our tasks; some packed the hygiene kits while others started to fix the venue and cook the food that we will be serving for lunch.
At around 11 AM, we started our program with a prayer. Our activities consisted of different games for the children like ‘boom tarat-tarat’, paper dance, trip to Jerusalem, etc. followed by simple health teaching about proper hygiene.
At around 12 PM we started serving lunch, I saw that everyone enjoyed the meal we prepared for them. Another amazing thing amazing about this community is the fact that they always say thank you. I have been to participating in many outreaches before, and this community is the most appreciative community I have been with so far. Ang sarap lang sa pakiramdam ung marinig ung salitang ‘salamat’ mula sa kanila talagang nakakataba ng puso at nakakawala ng pagod.
After eating, we gathered everyone to distribute the lamps and hygiene kits. During the distribution, I saw how happy everyone was especially the mothers who are very excited to use the lamps. Sobrang nakakataba ng puso!!!!!!!!!
After the outreach we proceeded to have a detour before hiking down, the villagers told us that there is a magnificent waterfall an hour away from our location so we decided to visit it. And we were surprised to see this kind of view! The waterfalls is very clean and undeniably beautiful. It’s an advantage if you know how to swim because the water here is very deep. So even if some of my co-volunteers want to plunge in, they really can’t enjoy the water as much as we did. Some of us also did cliff diving from a rock formation which estimated to be 40 ft. from the waterfalls.
There are no such things as too much adrenaline for a day!!!!!!!
And that’s a wrap! My first hike outreach was a success! All goals were met and everything turned out the way I planned it to be. This is just the start of my outreach adventure, much more is coming!!!
Thank you to everyone who supported this outreach, especially to Juicy Cologne PH (https://www.facebook.com/OfficialJuicyCologne/ ) for funding most of the expenses and to the sponsors who donated for the lamps. I told you guys, your 200 pesos will make a big difference. One lamp costs 200 pesos, and one lamp will serve as a light for one family. Imagine how you made a family life easier by donating just a little amount of money.
Also, big thanks to my co-volunteers who offered their time and energy to make others happy.
It’s very heart whelming to see the smile on our participants’ faces, that kind of view is definitely worth the hike! I will forever treasure this experience with you!
Thanks for reading my blog post!
Hope it inspired you to make your own adventure!
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Let’s stay connected loves!
Til’ the next adventure!
Joan Tapiz Maniago
THE NURSE OFF DUTY