Friday, October 19, 2007


Hands On Manila

It's been three years since I've joined this volunteer group. I remember how I came across this article about the group, what are they here for, and the various activities they organize all of which are participated in by people with willing hearts. I attended their volunteers' orientation held in one of the bookshops in Makati where they introduced the group, its humble beginnings, how they work, the different projects they have, the different organizations they have tie up with, and some of the people whom have supported the organization and embraced the concept of volunteerism.

Volunteerism, as defined in Wikipedia, "is the willingness of people to work on behalf of others without the expectation of pay or other tangible gain". It may sound crazy but its true. One is willing to work without expecting anything tangible from it. Though there maybe various reasons why they joined, in the end its the sense of accomplishment and the belief that one made something good that made them come back and do it all again.

In my case, I want a different summer at that time. Since I wasn't expecting any teaching job the summer of 2004,I want to do something good with my time. After attending the orientation, the following day I was out the streets visiting the various organizations needing some volunteers. I guess I was a bit picky with the organizations, I wanted something that will tell me what to do like sort of a plan and I want one that won't involved a lot of time as I still need to go to work. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get both. It is either they require you to be there a number of times a week or you just have to go find something to do. The groups that I was interested in cannot be contacted or either have the project discontinued already.

So here I am, three years and yet I haven't experienced the joys of being a volunteer. I have invited Hands On Manila in our university to talk about volunteering and have invited some friends to join the group. Dondon Marquez, the HOM Program Manager, told me that though I may not be doing some physical volunteering work, introducing the group (HOM) to other people helps in promoting it. In that, my outlook turned positive but still I am longing for that one time that I will be able to do real volunteer work.

Actually, when I came here in Japan the first thing I did was scout for volunteer groups. Sadly I haven't found any, though I know there are a lot of volunteer groups here. But in the past one year in my stay here in Japan, in one way or another I was able to learn and experience some concepts in volunteering which I hope I could impart back home.

So still, I guess the only way I could help HOM is to introduce it to people and promote volunteerism. In that I would like everyone back home to participate in Hands On Servathon 2007 on October 27, 2007 in celebration of yet another year of Hands On Manila. There will be various activities in different parts of Metro Manila. For more information you could check Hands On Manila website at:

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Mottainai - a Japanese concept which means "understanding the value inherent in all things and not wasting something that can still be put to use". This concept have helped Japan progress in spite of the scarcity in natural resources. Giving importance to the little things they have, they were able to maximize its use and even gone as far as maximizing the use of things considered wastes.

The Philippines has been blessed, luckily, with a lot of these natural resources but unfortunately we don't seem to care. We only care when disasters strikes like the flooding in Ormoc, landslide in Leyte, landslide in Aurora and Quezon. I remember that even Baguio City, a place on top of a mountain suffered flooding. We kept experiencing disasters that if one will only think about it are not considered natural at all but instead man-made. Then we put the blame in the government, in the bureaucracy, in politics as well as the corruption that goes along with it. But we forget to blame ourselves, the people.

We always want our lives to be easy. In everything we do, we don't want to sweat it out. Even me, I admit, would like things to be easy. We'd rather cross a busy road risking life and limbs instead of using the footbridge, throw a candy wrapper outside our car as we don't want our vehicles to get dirty, or leave a soda can or cup anywhere we want instead of holding on to it if we can't find a garbage bin . We always want an easy way out. But when we are talking about the environment, we really don't have to sweat it out. All we need is discipline. I remember before, during my grade school years in our Character Building Activities (CBA) Subject, everyone were required to bring a small plastic bag everyday and that all our refuse should be placed inside if we can't find a garbage bin and to be disposed once we reach home. This I practice until today (minus the plastic bag) and ever since have been a part of me. It is quite easy to do if you follow it by heart.

In the past few days, Metro Manila have been devastated by the news that the only garbage landfill supporting them was closed. The end result, a lot of garbage were not collected and the only remedy was the recommendation to lessen the refuse by each household. Though currently the problem have been solved, still I don't think that the end remedy is for Metro Manila or the Philippines in general to keep on using landfills. I think we must go further beyond the concept of landfills.

Metro Manila's waste problems is actually easy to resolved if and only if the government and the people will help each other. The government- laying out a more concrete waste management plan and the people- strictly follows this plan. Mottainai still follows the concept of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

I remember before how the Philippine Government and some NGOs promotes recycling and proper waste segregation.


Nothing. Wala lang akong magawa.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Can't Do Anything!

I forgot to blog about the ICC trip I joined in last week, Friday. We went to this Edo period style theme park where in everyone are clothe in the fashion of the era and they have recreated a Japanese village at a foot of a mountain which I should say is quite a scene.

Today I will be joining yet another trip, this time around Honjo again. Still have 1hr 15mins to prepare. Will be posting some of the photos maybe tonight.

Oh yeah, about the title? Two months have passed and still I haven't started on anything yet. Can't seem to make my mind work.