Emotional roller coaster…
I could relate my experience of gift-giving at the Missionaries of Charity in Old Cabalan to the movie Inside Out (it’s okay if you’re not familiar with the movie). It was an evocative experience for me, to be exact; and I had ambivalent feelings about it. I felt five emotions throughout our visit to the place and they’re similar to the movie: there was joy, sadness, fear, disgust, and anger. But still, joy was the dominant emotion after our visit; however, I also felt a bit of disgust and anger.
Our visit to the Missionaries of Charity left an indelible mark in my heart. We began our trip last December 18, 2015 at 1:30 P.M., a group made up of some members of IROG foundation and a number of LGO employees. Clearly, each one of us carried a high level of enthusiasm and merriment during our trip because of our endless smiles and laughter. But personally, I was looking forward to the smiles of those who will receive our special gifts.
We got there around 2:30 P.M.. We waited first for the sister in-charge of accompanying us at the charity; and then we collected our gifts on a table within the residence. Our gifts included grocery items, such as canned goods, biscuits, as well as tissues and pampers (I can’t give the exact list of all the items we gave to the charity, since most of them are already organized in different plastic bags and others in plastic containers). We then waited for the beneficiaries who were mosty elderly people and some disabled individuals; altogether, there were at least 20 individuals. There were also two sets of tables and chairs inside the charity – one for the elderly and one for the disabled. While waiting for the other people to come outside, we entertained those who were already there. Someone played a guitar and sang. I can’t forget the energy of the old woman in a violet dress (as shown in the picture) who sang along with the girl playing the guitar and the cheerfulness I felt at sensing her aura. It was so rewarding.
When all of them were already present, Sir Ramil started the activity by offering a heartfelt prayer. Right after we asked for God’s guidance, we started doing our grand masterpiece: UNIFIED SINGING. Perhaps, this is one of the traits of LGO that most people find fascinating. We’re not the best singers in town; but we could sing a song that’s worth remembering because of the laughters and smiles we could bring to our audience. Some of the famous Christmas songs we sing to them included “Feliz Navidad” and “Star Ng Pasko”.
Once again, we proved our good reputation in great unified singing because we made each and every one of them happy and gleeful. Some of us also gave our cute headbands to the elderly people as a sign of our care and compassion, which made them smile.
The next thing we did was to prepare the food. We served spaghetti and drinks. We offered our help to guide the elderly get their food and while they ate. One of them was blind; so one of us dedicated all her time in feeding her.
It was “candy time” after that. We gave each of them different kinds of candy, such as marshmallows and jelly ace. They prefered the marshmallows more because of its soft texture and it was easy to swallow. We gave some of the old women plastic bags because they just wanted to keep their candies. And just like the candies, all their smiles were so sweet and melted in our hearts.
After those activities, we stayed there for almost 30 minutes to have a little bonding moment with the elderly people and some of the staff. Everyone decided to go home after a few minutes. Even though the time we spent with them was very short, we had no regrets because we were able to bring home each of their smiles. It was such a joyful experience indeed.
Whenever I looked into the eyes of those people in the charity, I felt a sudden rush of sadness. Were they lonely? Did they miss their family? I think so, because one of the old women was so happy to see one of us and she kept on pointing at her and she seemed so excited. Perhaps, one of her family members looked like our colleague. I felt sad seeing it and I suddenly realized how lucky I am that I have parents and a family to thrive on. Each of us should treasure our family members because family is not just an important thing, it’s EVERYTHING.
But on the brighter side, it seems that the people in the charity already built their second family in the company of each other, because family is not just about blood; sometimes, it’s about who’s there to hold you tight when times are rough. Just the thought of it erased the sadness I felt inside.
It’s not just me that felt this emotion. One of my colleagues also said that she was scared of her future because of what we saw in the charity. She suddenly asked me what-if questions about the possible outcomes of our future. She also told me that she was worried when we get older in case we don’t have someone to take care of us. I told her that I was scared, too, but that she needed not to worry too much because we were still young. What we can do today is love our parents dearly and take care of them with all our strength so they won’t feel afraid of their future. Each of us should assure our parents that we will not leave them until the end because the fear we felt after visiting the Missionaries of Charity might also be the same fear that they’re feeling right now, possibly much greater than ours was.
DISGUST & ANGER
I’m totally shocked when I heard that all of the elderly people we met at the charity were abandoned by their families. I couldn’t help myself but to be upset. Children should love and take care of their parents, not leave them behind helpless. Whatever reasons they had, it’s still wrong to abandon a loved one. Will you abandon a family member just because they did something wrong to you? Remember that you’ve done bad things to them, too. I will never understand a man who abandons his family.
No wonder the eyes of those old people had some sadness and loneliness in them. Some of us take our life and our family for granted and fail to appreciate and acknowledge their presence in our life. Only when we lose it do we realize its true worth.
To the one reading this: Promise yourself that you’ll never abandon your parents or a family member with all your life, because the pain of being left behind is worse than being stabbed a hundred times.
On the other hand, I’m glad that we were able to bring joy to those people with our special gifts and presentation. There’s no gift more precious than THE GIFT OF HAPPINESS they gave us on that day. It was like an advanced Christmas gift.
May God bless us all.
“Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” – David Ogden Stiers
Our mission: To give some school supplies to elementary school pupils, and let them have some fun playing games while we're at it.
Our destination: Lupang Pangako. It's the area at the top of a mountain in Brgy. Amungan, Iba, Zambales where the Aetas affected by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991 were relocated. It was almost a two-hour journey from Subic where the office and most of IROG Foundation's volunteers are based. To say that the road to Sitio Lupang Pangako was not easily accessible would be an absolute understatement. However, that didn't take away the fun of the road trip from us. (Though I suspect our bus driver and his sidekick would say otherwise.)
Thankfully, the children still looked excited when we got to the school, even with our rather late arrival. And with kids being kids, it was not hard getting them all fired up for outdoor games. They had fun playing, especially in the Flour Game where they had to puff on a bowl of flour to find an item buried underneath without using their hands. You can just imagine the racket that would ensue when five kids were to do this simultaneously on the same bowl! Yep, hilarious chaos. The boys' team found it so amusing to have flour-faces that they were laughing at each other even after the game.
Another really fun game was the Fish Race where they had to make the paper fish travel around an obstacle by fanning it with a folder. Somebody commented that perhaps by the time the game ends, that paper fish will be no more. True enough, halfway through the game, the "fish" was barely recognizable in its crumpled form. But what really cracked people up were those kids who were seriously trying to 'fan' the paper fish but were, humorously enough, only hitting sand.
They also had turns playing Calamansi Relay and Ball Relay. You could tell there was unmistakable competitiveness between the teams when by the end of each game the winning team would jump around and do victory shouts -- talk about unlimited energy!
We also gave out trinkets and small toys that seemed to be greatly appreciated by them. In fact, you'd hardly see any pupils who were not sporting either a colorful hairband or a pair of sunglasses.
Their teachers were also commendable for their dedication in their job, especially because they're working way out of their comfort zones. It's not easy teaching hyperactive children to line up properly even for a food distribution, but with a little help, the team managed it.
During break time, we couldn't help but smile when every kid said a "thank you" while we handed them snacks. After everyone got their share, there were still some leftovers so we decided to give seconds to some of the kids nearby. It proved to be a bad call on our part because we totally got mobbed by the rest of the kids in a matter of seconds! (It's a real funny scene where our pleads of "hold on" were lost on their "me too". I see now we should have asked them to line up again for seconds. Lesson learned.)
While eating their snacks, for some reason, we noticed the kids were all gathering in the middle of the field. I was still trying to figure it out when some of the lively boys suddenly went on an impromptu dance showdown! (Like I said, unlimited energy.)
We managed to have small talks with some of them, albeit limited to what-is-your-name and how-old-are-you kind of conversations. But just as some were too shy to talk, you could tell they love the camera as they gamely smiled and waved.
It's a real blessing to see them enjoying themselves like all kids should.
Somehow, the counterintuitive notion of "the more you give, the more you receive" had been proven true once again. Because as our bus started to leave the school that afternoon, I can't help but think we've already received our reward: 200 smiling faces.
Summer Camp 2014 begins!
IROG Foundation opens its door for the the Summer Camp 2014 registration. The day was filled with happy faces of the kids ready and willing to participate for the said activity.
More exciting and enjoyable days awaits.
The Chess Tournament is an Isabelita Rosueta Organization Project in Memory of Joel “Owe” Castillo, the Chairman of the charitable institution for children and the needy.
Around 26 chess enthusiasts in different ages gathered last April 12, 2015 for the pre-elimination round. Geared with their respective strategies for the board game, only the Top 16 was chosen during the elimination round. The competition was a long run event in screening the most dynamic players leading for the Top 2 best players; Mr. Alfredo Bivas and Mr. Khruschev Tolentino.
The championship round was a best of 3 game. During the first round the game seems so fast as each player exchanges their moves and as time goes by, the air was filled with intensity as they seriously focused on their target. The mind boggling game ended with a checkmate by Mr. Tolentino followed by a surrendered game in the second round in favor of Mr. Tolentino leading him to be declared as the champion last May 16, 2015.The event was supported by the dedicated LGO Staff and IROG Volunteers. And as we always said “It is not about winning but it is on how you play the game.”
Food is for the body. We eat to refresh and reenergize our body. But rarely do we realize that food ultimately revitalizes our spirit. More often, it seems, we eat with the thought of filling our stomach with food, not realizing that it was the brain and the heart that signaled the stomach to seek food.
How often do we forget that the heart – a central part of the body – needs more than food to make the whole person happy or satisfied? We eat because we feel hungry. But do we usually think of eating to be happy or to avoid or to remove sadness and depression? Almost never! For the human body is more than a combination of water, air, minerals, vitamins and proteins. It is not the things we eat that give us life but the spirit in us we received from God.
hat was the first thing that God did before He created humans? He planted a garden. No, it was not merely a garden – it was a home, a living room, a playground, a menagerie and a vast dining table complete with all the fresh, natural, organic goodies.
Was God happy feeding humans? Obviously! Of course, today we would think God is not at all concerned about humans because millions go hungry and die while others live in abundance and luxury.
Yes, our world is far from the Paradise that we believe our first parents used to live in and enjoy. In fact, we live in a world with millions of people in great need of shelter, education, food and health-care that government and private institutions have their hands full addressing day in and day out. Many of us live not just in hunger but in desperation, not knowing why this has happened to us humans and how we can cope with the gargantuan task of serving the world with food and, as we said, with happiness and contentment in life.
When we feed ourselves, we not only feel good and cheerful; we also experience peace and confidence that life – for many of us, at least – is a great blessing to have. But what do we feel when we voluntary feed others, especially those who have limited resources? The feelings of goodness, happiness, peace and confidence transform into something close to heavenly joy and triumph. It is as if God's material blessings we derive through our labors take on a sublime -- or call it magical – quality similar to that of owning tons of gold (no, even more valuable and beautiful!), giving us a wonderful new sense of being. It seems as if God Himself is smiling at us and telling us, "Thank you for feeding me!"
And that is how we become like God – when we feed and care for the hungry. If we were truly made in His image from the start, we portray that divine nature when we, like Him, seek out those who have basic needs and do something to make their life as fulfilling and as comfortable as the way we experience it. It was that way in the Garden as God intended it to be. It should be that way today in the world as He desires it to be. This could not be just a dream. With wars and famine all around us, we have enough of our share of nightmares. Let us keep the vision awake and alive.
And so, with these thoughts in mind, I express my deep appreciation for Isabelita Rosueta Organization - LogicGateOne Corp. for the wonderful privilege to be part of their Feeding Program at the Sto. Tomas Elementary School in Subic, Zambales. Under the selfless leadership of Joel and Roselyn Castillo, the young, dynamic, diligent and caring worker-volunteers of the two companies, together with Alpha Phi Omega Olongapo Alumni Association and other civic-minded members of the community, opened a soup kitchen last Friday, September 6, 2013, for scores of children, as part of Isabelita Rosueta Organization's outreach programs. Mrs. Isabelita Castillo and Mrs. Rosueta Tuazon, in whose names the foundation was named after, graced the occasion. Nanay Rosie opened the activity with a heartfelt and meaningful prayer of thanksgiving for allowing the foundation to share its blessings with the community.
The afternoon event was filled with shrill, festive cries of children playing games under the able guidance of Enrico Santos who acted as emcee, together with Christine Joy Ganoran. Parents were also on hand to encourage their children who competed against each other in parlor games, badminton, dama and chess. Awarding of prizes to the day's winners ended the program.
And so, no one went home feeling sad, depressed or lonely. And it was not merely because of the food. You know what it was, don't you? Next time, be sure to share not just your time, and experience how feeding and caring for others can make you a happier and richer person that you can ever imagine.
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