Sharing the spirit of Christmas with the Survivors @ Hospicio de San Jose

It has been a month since the recent typhoon caused havoc in the Philippines, specifically the Visayan area where the people there have lost not only houses, but also the people they love. Numerous pictures were brought to different social media sites and most of them were already too depressing to see.  You could see the faces of the citizens, crying and looking as if they have lost hope. The sky was too dark, trees that were once lush and green were now uprooted and houses destroyed by the hash winds. It was devastating for me to go on to the next page, but what more for them? What more for the people who experienced firsthand? What more for the people who lost their family?

I never thought it would cause me this much pain as I thought I would.

People from all over the world knew of what happened and did an immediate action. Donations were given, and believe me, I felt really touched. The people I talk to in tumblr knew what happened as well, and even tumblr itself inserted an image of a sun beside its icon to indicate that they’re grieving for the loss of those in the Philippines. At the same time, they also encouraged everyone to do some sort of move to help, whether in prayer or through donations.

Even the fansites unnies I follow (they’re fans who take photos of korean idols) donated for the victims, and some artists even auctioned off their own clothing to donate. Soon enough, everyone else did what they could to help: volunteering to repack goods, visiting families who were relocated to manila, etc.

I wanted to help, really, because I thought that clasping my hands together to pray wasn’t enough. But what can I do as a student? Donating money was the least I could do, but a part of me says that I should do something worth remembering. I mean, it’s easy to pull out money in your pocket. I wanted to do something that I want to smile to one day.

Weeks have passed, and my moderator and some of the students in the LAED-BSSW department thought of a unique idea. They’ve mentioned that some of the Yolanda victims—that we now call to as SURVIVORS—were relocated in Hospicio de San Jose. Then it just clicked to us, why not visit and have a small Christmas party with them?

On December 7, 2013, we as a department, took a bus and went to Hospicio de San Jose. With us were our moderator, Sr. Teresita, and Mrs. Agoncilio. One hundred cupcakes were baked thanks to Monique, cartons of packed juice from our dean and loads of Spagetti (I didn’t bother asking how many pots they filled, IT WAS A LOT) from the Social Work Department.

It took us around two weeks to prepare, although I wasn’t really part of the team who did the party plan, they asked me to be one of the point persons. The department (LAED-BSSW) split into five teams with each assigned to a different age group. In my case, I became a point person for the children.

While the rest of the groups stress debriefed the “survivors,” my group played with the kids for—three hours? Yes, three hours STRAIGHT. And it was actually fun, to be honest. The kids smiled, laughed and basically tired us out. T’was all good, and even though I’m currently experiencing the worst body pain of my life right now, I can truly say that I’ve had the best time with the kids. There were around twenty children and 14 students from the department. So that makes at least one child (or two) per student. Breaking the ice, we had parlor games like “Bring me” and “Stop Dance.” We gave them small prizes and candies. The kids were HYPED, especially when we took out our “pasabit.” My heart just sank, like really, each time they smiled and laughed. We saw how genuinely happy we’ve made them and for me, that was enough to call this day indeed, a great one.

For the rest of the period, we served them food (spaghetti, cupcakes and juice) and listened to their stories.

Of course, I didn’t forget to document each of the things we did in Hospicio (we were there since 8 and left at around 6:30 ish). My mod told us that we shouldn’t post the pictures in facebook due to security reasons (esp pictures with the kids bc they’re said to be set for adoption and all that jazz) so I opted to censor their faces.

Photo blog starts now (click read more to see photos)

Ayala Bridge

Hospicio de San Jose is located near the Ayala Bridge. Looks oddly familiar, right? My mod said she feels like she’s in San Francisco lol

Entrance

Photo op! hahaha. Well, I’m quite thankful to have my picture taken here. It’s the only picture I have where in my face looks partly decent. LOL

information regarding the place. 🙂

what’s inside

Upon entering the place, this beautiful scene will greet you. I must say, this is indeed a very peaceful place to be in. People in there were pretty nice, and each time someone passes, I have to bow and greet them.

Hospicio’s chapel 🙂 We were lucky enough to catch a mass at 8AM.

The Tour Guide

We were accompanied by this kuya, who is a social worker. I’m sorry I forgot his name. 😦

and since we weren’t allowed to post pictures of the people inside (kids, people with special needs, etc) I’ll just post some of the things they have. The tour guide led us to all sorts of places, like the dormitories, sanctuaries, basketball courts, a building dedicated for those with special needs and etc.

This is a bulletin board I found inside of one of the buildings for those with special needs.

After the short tour, we had our lunch in their own canteen (sorry, forgot to take a picture) with our own baon. 🙂 I brought with me luncheon meat and rice, which turned out to be too much (like, i had two containers for my rice AND meat) lol so I gave some of my food to my friends. hahaha parang picnic lang.

Moving on, I’ll post some of our “kulitan moments” while waiting for the survivors. Lol please don’t judge us.

Lower batch

Both from BSSW and LAED. They’re first year students, enjoying their time.

LAED

Sophomores with Van (the dude) inside the gazebo. They were in the middle of telling a story when I barged in there for a picture hahaha, sorry about that.

Swings!! To bad I can’t play with them anymore because I’m too tall 😦 Oh well, at least they can!

The “feeling model ng swings” trio

By all means children, this is how NOT to use the swings hahaha. That should be me, Janine and Marivie. 🙂

More “feeling model” pictures with Marivie!

After the swings, we headed to the slides next! Our concept here was “the sawi pose” LOL

Only decent picture srsly

Lol, another picture! Here’s Janine, Marivie and Me 🙂

I’m an ultimate failure

I’m sorry, I never had the chance to play outside when I was younger. Hence, I didn’t know how to play this weird thing they call “monkey bars.” That should be me, ruining the whole picture lol

After 1pm, the survivors came and we had to stop ourselves from looking like total fools.

Opening

The program started with a prayer to be led by Shanna of the BSSW Dept. Monique (girl in white) and Rhojin were the main hosts for the entire program 🙂

The kids

Censored for their security. These are some of the survivors from the typhoon yolanda.

The Adults

After the introductory rights, we separated ourselves and proceed to join our own groups. As said earlier, I worked with the kids. Sadly, I wasn’t able to document the games 😦

After playing with the Kids

Pabitin!

The kids loved this!

Despite having their faces concealed, you can still see the big smiles on their faces 🙂

Overall, I feel very much accomplished 🙂 Like them, I have the same smile on my face. No words could ever express my happiness after I was able to help. They’ve created a mark inside of me that I will surely never forget, and I hope I did the same on them too.

Well, that’s it for now. 🙂 Thanks for reading, ciao x

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