Reaching Out in Sitio Bangkong Kahoy

Last Sunday, June 10, I had the opportunity to join Climb Against Cancer Pilipinas’s Annual outreach in Sitio Bangkong Kahoy in Brgy, Kinabuhayan, Dolores, Quezon. I’ve been to a couple of outreach programs myself so it wasn’t new for me (that sounded so obnoxious wahahahahaha forgive me, the intent was innocent hehe) You see, I have a group to which I belong to which is involved in reaching out to communities as well while tying it up with our love for mountaineering. Happy to Live, Glad to Give or HLGG was started informally by an elementary batchmate of mine (yes, Yan ikaw to hahaha) and a good friend of hers (or unofficial kambal really hehe) and I was fortunate enough to be invited on one of their annual activities. I guess back then, it was still a relatively small community but then it snowballed into a fairly large family, all aiming to help others while getting to enjoy mother nature. I got my sister involved, met many friends, met many travel and climbing buddies and got to go to many amazing places because of it. And of course, we helped a lot of kids (in whatever way possible) along the way. I grew to love it even though I’m not that much of a kid-person (kids don’t understand sarcasm kasi kaya I find it hard to talk to them wahahaha joke). I guess I loved the feeling of giving back in any small way possible and helping them realize their futures (although there are times when economically, I feel like I should be on the receiving end of the outreach programs hehehe).

Anyway (tangent much? hehe) CAC Pilipinas has been very helpful to our small efforts in the past. They’ve connected us to other groups with the same aims, provided the school supplies that were really helpful and generally helped make what we were trying to do known. We in turn, started to get involved in their various efforts, which are commendably numerous by the way (idol namin si Nanay Nini eh! :D). Last outreach in Sitio Bangkong Kahoy was one of them.

It was actually my first time joining CAC for an outreach. I wasn’t able to join last month because I had to go home to the province. Nanay Nini (the punong abala of CAC) invited us this time and I jumped at the chance to go with them. Complete with our CAC shirts and everything, we headed off to San Pablo to meet them en route to Dolores. Yan, Madz and I left Cubao at about 5:20 (earlier if someone wasn’t late no? haha) and arrived at San Pablo, had breakfast then waited for Erwin while waiting for Nanay Nini and the other volunteers as well. As fate would have it, Erwin ended up going on a mini tour of San Pablo thanks to a carefree tricycle driver so we had to wait for him even after CAC jeep has arrived hahaha. After everyone was assembled, off we went to Barangay Kinabuhayan, the same area we went just a month before for our Mt. Cristobal dayhike.

top load CAC volunteers!

top load CAC volunteers!

Ma'am Gulay and the others chose to trek instead

Ma’am Gulay and the others chose to trek instead

We stopped by to buy roasted chicken for our shared lunch with the volunteer teachers of Dolores then dropped them off in the barangay hall. We then transferred to a 4×4 jeepney that will take us to Sitio Bangkong Kahoy from Brgy. Kinabuhayan proper. Some of our fellow volunteers opted to trek instead while others, me included, sat on the top of the jeepney as we headed up the rough road (my excuse: my left ankle was still hurting from running 10k the previous day hahahaha). After about a half hour or so, we reached sitio bangkong kahoy where a bunch of kids were jovially waiting for us and greeting us incessantly as we were unloading the school supplies and food packets. They actually prepared a mini feast for everyone which included soup and fried sweet potato (yum!). We helped set up the room while the other volunteers were already playing with the kids.

yum yum!!!

yum yum!!!

Ma’am Alex, apparently a teacher herself, was expertly handling the kids. We were but happy commentators on the fun they were having as they played games, sang songs then played more games. We joined in on some of the games but admittedly, we were getting floored by the kids wahahaha (alangan seryosohin naming makipagcompete sa bata ano? Hehehe) Although, there were some times when we ourselves, were quite confused about the game so maybe we really deserved to lose hehehe All the fun the kids were having were infectious to say the least as we even joined in as they sang a frankly nonsensical song about Superman’s burning house and how Darna shows up but does nothing wahahahaha

Ma'am Alex facilitating the "pupunta tayo sa ______" game

Ma’am Alex facilitating the “pupunta tayo sa ______” game

oink oink! pot pot!

oink oink! pot pot!

us "versus" the kids hehehe

us “versus” the kids hehehe

Really Darna, why did you not do anything?

Really Darna, why did you not do anything?

When it came to the “pick-up line’-off, the kids eagerly fired pick-up lines that would top what Kuya GP and Badong came up with. Some of them made sense but most of them did not, but what could you do, they’re kids hehehe One thing was for sure though, not one line failed to make us howl with laughter. We were basically laughing while watching the whole spectacle as the kids’ jibe became more and more personal (baboy ka ba? Wahahahaha). All in all, it felt good to laugh like that and watch kids and adults having fun at the same mundane thing. 😀

Pick-up line-off...and the no-reactions Pulsar hehe

Pick-up line-off…and the no-reactions Pulsar hehe

After the games, Kuya Badong sat the kids down to tell the biblical story of Jonah and the whale. While almost all of the kids were raptly paying attention and receptive to the morals of the story, a boy named Pulsar (yes, that’s what we were told his name was hahaha) was having none of it. He just sat next to Kuya Badong the whole time, looking despondent and staring at nothing. Nothing we did made him talk or smile or prove that he could register emotion at all hahaha During the middle of the story, I guess he got bored because he got up and went away and we didn’t see him until after handing out the supplies and snacks. We actually made it our personal mission to make that kid smile and by the end of the outreach, we were fairly successful hehehe

Kuya Badong's Jonah story

Kuya Badong’s Jonah story

smile Pulsar smile! :D

smile Pulsar smile! 😀

Anyway, after the storytelling, we had the kids line up inside the classroom where we handed out the schools supplies and some simple snacks. After everyone has had their share, we sat with the kids outside and hung out with them while they were munching on their snacks. Yan took a liking to a cute little boy named Jester and his siblings while we were basically just trying our hardest to make Pulsar feel something hahahaha

come on Pulsar you can do it! hehehe

come on Pulsar you can do it! hehehe

We took photos, played with the kids some more and took some more photos (which included an impromptu prenup? Hehehe) and before you know it, it was time to head back. Nanay Nini said that they’ve been going to Sitio Bangkong Kahoy for 6 years now and that was just too amazing to comprehend. They’ve seen how some of the children have grown and the children in turn came to saw them as family. It was such a privilege to be part of that simple activity. I always maintain that whenever I join an outreach activity, it is always us who comes away receiving so much more. Sitio Bangkong Kahoy was no exception and I hope I get the opportunity to go back again. If only for Pulsar, who by the time we left was already high fiving and fist bumping us. Success! Hahahaha

volunteers with the kids

volunteers with the kids

CAC volunteers!

CAC volunteers!

gusto ko yung jumpshot ni Kuya GP dito eh hehe

gusto ko yung jumpshot ni Kuya GP dito eh hehe

kaunti na lang hehehe

kaunti na lang hehehe

success! (parang ang laki man ng kamay ko rito hahaha)

success! (parang ang laki man ng kamay ko rito hahaha)

We stopped by to join the volunteer teachers for lunch at the barangay hall while watching the Pacquiao match. Some were too invested to believe that Pacquiao indeed lost but that’s the national spirit for you hehehe. After being convinced that Manny did lose, it was time to head home to Manila. Nanay Nini and Kuya GP got off at Turbina while those who came with Kuya Elpi also headed their way. We had the jeep take us back to Alabang and then it was off to Caloocan from there. All in all, a very fruitful Sunday indeed. I helped children, had a blast and met some new (wacky and quite frankly crazy hehe joke!) friends. I do hope I get the chance to join them again and more power to Climb Against Cancer Pilipinas! 😀

Credits for the photos: Yan Bagarinao, Nanay Nini Sacro

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