Voluntourism: The Most Wonderful Escapade of All

Recently, my family and some of my closest friends embarked on a different kind of journey.  A journey that rejuvenate, energize and totally gives new meaning to traveling with significance. On how to create difference in people’s lives.  The experience is unforgettable and the reward is fulfilling, it’s a kind of reward no amount can buy.

My family and friends are very happy and looking forward for more of these.

Education is very important in the Philippines.  Filipinos look at education with high regard.  We believe that education can make sure a person  brighter and better future.  No matter how difficult life could be, parents do everything they can to give the best possible education for their children.  It is something that cannot be taken away.  It’s the greatest inheritance a child could get from their parents.

Thanks to our beloved friend from Japan, who in his humble means help children in some of the Philippines’ remotest places get access to the basic school stuff.  His vision is to make sure that children get the materials to help them learn and we loved it.  To help him succeed, us, in the Philippines were more than happy to ‘deliver’ that vision across to the many children who desires nothing less but to learn to read and write.

The road to Sagada at some points reach 7,000 feet above sea-level.  It is about 150 kilometers of winding, zig-zag roads carved out of mountain sides and slopes from Baguio City.

The ravines and narrow roads are not for the faint-hearted. Adventure seekers love going to Sagada for its rugged terrain.

Off to Sagada we go.  High up in the mountain region of the Cordilleras in the northern part of our country.  Dubbed as the Shangri-la of the Philippines, Sagada is awe-inspiring in itself.  The people are kind and the climate is cool.  It is also recognized as one of the country’s greenest and cleanest towns.  The long drive to Sagada can take about 12 hours from the capital city of Manila or about 5 hours from Baguio City.   Lime stones, tall cliffs and valleys are among the spectacular scenery here.  The climate here is cool year round thus making it a popular summer destination as a retreat from the heat of the tropical climate in the lowlands.  Add to that the rich history and the indigenous culture of the Cordillera ethnic groups.

The roads up the mountains are treacherous. An expert driver and a vehicle in excellent working condition are prerequisites to this adventure.

Weather is unpredictable too. One time its clear and in a second its foggy to almost zero visibility.

This is just one of the many rice terraces, some of which were constructed over 2,000 years ago, found along the way to Sagada.

The place is no doubt beautiful and the people are extremely kind.  Most families here tend their farms to make both ends meet and buying their children the basic school supplies for their studies is already luxurious.  Thus, our group which we fondly called LAP for lapis at papel (pencil and paper) provides this ‘luxury’ for free.

After about 5 hours on the road, our group unloaded the school supplies from our visionary friend in Japan.  We had to walk about a kilometer down a hill to reach the school in the photo below.

This is one of the schools in Sagada that is in dire need of help.  Despite the dilapidated classrooms and worn-out books, the children attend classes even when they have to travel several miles, some of them wearing only slippers considering the cold mountain temperature.

We were welcomed by these beautiful smiles from the children.  We were so  happy to see the kids… well, they’re happy to see us too.

It’s great to see how happy these kids were that day.  Together with their bags of school supplies are loot bags containing biscuits, candies, bread and drinks.  Some of these children have never tasted any of those treats.

The recipients of the school supplies  that we the “santas’ happily delivered.

We just could not have enough of this Voluntourism thing, so we went back to Sagada again and visited another school.  It was all the more memorable because my grandmother tagged along.  She was both tearful and overwhelmed with joy as she saw the kids enthusiastically receive their school supplies.

Another school in Sagada received their school materials to help them learn.  My grandmother is the one with dark sunglasses.

The smiles on these kids faces are priceless.

Sagada school children happily wearing their blue bags with pencils, pens, crayons, pad papers, notebooks, erasers, sharpeners and many more.

Birds’ eye view of the Rice Terraces.

On our two visits here in Sagada, we never failed to visit this view-point that overlooks Sagada Rice Terraces.  It is remarkable.  This view is the reward that we get in volunteering for a charitable cause, and believe me, this too is priceless. Truly a wanderful escapade.

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50 thoughts on “Voluntourism: The Most Wonderful Escapade of All

  1. that’s do heart melting Sir … seeing those happy faces back on you … its a feeling that’s hard to contain … you’re so blessed Sir Faj … thank you for sharing the joy to us , to those kids and those people you helped ^^

  2. I also went to some community involvement programs here in Baguio and it gives me a sense of fulfillment in my part… While helping, I always realize how blessed I am and sharing these blessings makes me more happier. Thank you Sir, Seeing these kids happy smiles made my day… 😀

  3. despite of your busy schedule,you still find time to go and help this kind of people who are much in need of your help..good job and godbless sir!!!! :))

  4. what you’ve done is a good example to us students to help the people who are in need of our help. your doings serves an inspiration to my young heart to become like you someday; to have golden heart like you sir. its an image that must be shared to others to enlighten their hearts. well done sir and god bless you always..

  5. , yOur millions of sweat is wORth it when you see people happy in your little way.
    i feel the hapinesss of those children. i remember the feeling of falling in line for about an hour just to receive relief goods, hehehe, that experience makes me realize a lot. the bottom line is that we should be thankful for the blessings that we receive and share them with all your heart. =)

  6. I love the photo with the kids holding up the blue bags with the mountain and the trees as a back drop. The feeling of giving without expecting anything is more than worth the travel. Thanks for visiting my thoughts too. =>

  7. it’s so nice to know that you’re helping other people too sir.going to a far place just to do those things made me proud of being you’re student..you really did inspire us..those generosity the you showed will always remind us something good that we can do it also..

  8. A kid’s smile is one of life’s greatest blessings.. It’s great to see how happy those kids are :)thanks for sharing those pictures sir, God bless and more blessings to come:)

  9. A great man, cheerful smiles, kind heart, a helping hand. Not only those words defines you sir Faj! 🙂 Words are not enough. An eco-tourism with a match of helping needy people. A smile can never be bought by any price. 🙂

  10. That was really fulfilling. Helping people who are less fortunate and sharing them the blessings you have received is something your parents should be proud of. That reflects how well they have raised you! 🙂

  11. I assume the feeling was like heaven. Those smiles were indeed priceless. Continue being a blessing to everyone sir!:)

  12. this is one thing that i wanted to do if i become rich someday..is to help those who are in need…. wish that i could let this happen like what you did sir… it really is a big pleasure to help people who are in need.. 🙂

  13. Such a BIG heart you have there sir faj 🙂 yes, The smile on their faces is priceless 🙂 there’s nothing more that would melt your heart than seeing the persons you help with full of joy as they receive surprises from strangers with a golden heart 🙂

  14. “Everytime you give to someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” A beautiful quote from Mother Teresa. Let’s keep helping people who are in need.

  15. I love the feeling when you helped your own community and the people will say thank you with a smile on their faces. Even in my young age, I experienced giving relief goods to the victims of natural disasters. Very fulfilling. Promote VOLUNTOURISM :))

  16. What the best thing i want to do in my life is to travel and travel because i want to meet people who are really in need especially those children who are eager to learn. 🙂 The distance doesn’t matter but it’s the happiness you can bring to them.

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