Guest Post by Jea Yang
“Isla Pulo, The Forgotten Jewels of Northern Manila, is an impoverished community of not less than 100 families. Isla Pulo constantly experiences strong tides and huge waves specially during typhoon season. Families who reside in the island rely on fishing and making charcoal as their livelihood. Isla Pulo shows an incredible spirit and determination working as one family for the good of their own community,” says Jea Yang a student at University of the Philippines, Dillman. She is part of the team UP CIEM.
Not only gifted with great minds but also with passionate and warm hearts, CIEMers offered a helping hand to the residents of Isla Pulo in Navotas through one of the organization’s flagship events, LET’s do it!
LET’s do it! is a three-part event where significant contributions were made to a community to help its livelihood (Livelihood), educational (Education) and social (Touching Hearts) aspects. Thus, getting the name L.E.T.’s do it! The first community for LET’s do it! is the small island off Tanza, Navotas – Isla Pulo.
An installment of LET’S Do It was held last October 11, 2014 at Isla Pulo, Navotas. Professor Ines De Guzman and PhD students Mark Limon, Marie Joy Roldan and Fladiza Castillo from the College of Home Economics were invited as facilitators of the workshops conducted. The aim of the workshops was to teach the people in Isla Pulo, especially the women in the family, alternative sources of income in addition to fishing, which is their only source of livelihood in the community.
Two sets of seminar-workshops were conducted simultaneously. The first seminar was about recycling — how to convert recyclable waste into something useful, specifically by creating a basket out of weaved drinking straws. The second seminar was about different food recipes — how to make atchara, menudo, adobo, calamansi juice, and polvoron. In light of this, some residents expressed their interest and simple dream of putting up their own carinderia. At the end of the seminars, all the participants were gathered for the final talk on estimating and computing the selling price of a product. They were also given tips on how to maximize profit.
The day was then concluded with a salu-salo wherein the food served was the output from the workshop. CIEMers, facilitators and participants share the food, and at the same time gratitude and joy after a very educational and fun-filled day. Truly, all the new learnings shared and gained from this program promises the island hope for a better and brighter tomorrow.
Accentuating the gravity of educational value to the Philippine youth, UP CIEM once again immersed itself in community affairs with another installment of LET’S Do It last September 14, 2014 at Isla Pulo, Navotas. This new chapter of the event allowed the organization to extend its networks beyond the university, forging partnerships with Filinvest, BAG 943, Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation, and the SAMASAISIP (Samahan ng mga Maralita sa Isla Sitio Pulo) Organization. With a mutual goal to help alleviate financial concerns for the young students of Isla Pulo, the collective effort of these organizations was able to give away approximately one hundred fifty bags and school supply kits to the young beneficiaries.
The event, which lasted from eight in the morning up to one in the afternoon, started off with an opening speech from Kagawad Rochelle of Brgy. Tanza. The distribution of bags followed after, along with an individual picture taking with the newly-acquired bags. Some of the volunteers then entertained the children by conducting a few parlor games for the students to participate in. The event ended with the children each holding a yellow origami boat with a dream written on the side as a reminder of the hope that comes with tomorrow.
Despite the muddy trek, soaked clothes, and ferocious winds, the volunteers were able to leave the vicinity of Isla Pulo with fulfilled hearts and accomplished feelings. For no physical storm can weather the heart of hope. The waves of change, though at times fierce and terrifying, will find its way to the greater sea of chance.
Touching Hearts. This was be the last segment for the three-part event, but it was meant to keep the bonds between the community and UP CIEM through culminating activities which engages both the residents of Isla Pulo and the CIEMers. Members visited a number of families, helped them with their chores, got to know more about them, and had short ‘chit-chats’ with the people of Isla Pulo. It might be a simple immersion program, but it was deeper and more meaningful that it actually was.
P.S. If you have Facebook, watch this video to get updates on UP CIEM LETS DO IT PROJECT.