Finding a Lifetime Partner in Volunteering

After her husband’s battle with the big C, Judy never expected to find a partner in volunteering. At present, Judy is running the family’s food service business while also being a mom to 10-year-old Jamielle.

Married life

Volunteering has always been a huge part of Judy’s life. However, when she started her own immediate family family, she also began drifting away from volunteering, as she became preoccupied with husband and daughter, and even her mom.

Judy still had the strong desire to pursue her volunteer journey, as she felt it was her calling. She always prayed to God to direct her path with whatever He wants her to do, as she experienced challenges with balancing her roles as a mom, child, and a business owner. So whenever she felt she needed reassurance, she will always recite, “Thy will be done, Lord,” even until the faithful day that her husband succumb to cancer. Nevertheless, all the challenges she faced just made her stronger.

Continue reading “Finding a Lifetime Partner in Volunteering”

Ang Hamon Kong Tinanggap

Noong nakaraang buwan, sumali ako sa Bayani Challenge ng Gawad Kalinga sa Padre Garcia, Batangas. Nasubukan ko na ang pag-volunteer, pero yung sa mga relief operations na pa-isa-isang araw at dito lang sa siyudad. First time kong mag-volunteer na sa probinsya na, limang sunud-sunod na araw pa! Hindi ko alam kung anong nasa isip ko at tinanggap ko ang hamon; siguro, tulad ng marami, for the experience.

Giving the GK houses a brand new coat of paint!
Giving the GK houses a brand new coat of paint!

And what an experience it was. Yung tipong out-of-your-comfort-zone. Mahiyain akong tao, pero ang dami kong naging kaibigan pagkatapos ng limang araw na iyon. Kahit kaunting araw lang kami magkakasama, ultimate bonding experience rin siya—mula sa on-the-spot na pag-iisip ng programa at palaro para sa mga bata, hanggang sa pagkukuwentuhan at tawanan namin pagkatapos. Medyo importante rin sa akin ang kalinisan, pero okay lang na tumatagaktak ang pawis ko habang nagpipintura ng mga bahay. Makakalimutan mo yun sa saya ng pagtrabaho, lalo na kung may aabangan kang firehose truck sa hapon. At tulad ng marami sa atin ngayon, nasanay ako sa mga pribilehiyo ng pamumuhay sa siyudad, pero hindi ko ito hinanap-hanap doon. Masaya ring kalimutan pansamantala kung may mga notifications ka, kasi nararanasan mo in real time ang pakikisalamuha sa iba, bata man o matanda. Naramdaman ko rin doon ang tunay na malasakit sa kapwa, lalo na sa pamilya nina Nanay Suzette na nagkupkop sa amin ng kaibigan ko. Hindi kami umaalis ng bahay hangga’t hindi napapakain, at isinakripisyo ng pamilya niya ang comfort ng kanilang tulugan para sa amin.

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Ang Aking Kwentong GK

Nagvolunteer ako sa Gawad Kalinga kasi nirekomenda ito ng isa sa mga idol kong propesor. Habang naghahanap na ng trabaho ang mga kabatch ko, naisipan kong magbakasyon muna sa malayong lugar at noong nakita ko yung promo ng Bayani Challenge, naisip ko “uy makapupunta na ko sa ibang lugar, makatutulong pa ko sa kapwa. Pweds to!” kaya pumunta ako na ‘di alam na pagkatapos ng lahat ay 5 shades browner na ang balat ko at magkakaron ako ng mahapding bukas na paltos sa kamay (pero happy).

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Mga Batang Bayani

YOLANDA – Everyone was surprised at the devastation wrought by this typhoon when it hit the Philippines late 2013. From Manila, I felt helpless when I saw how Yolanda swept through the Visayan region and its dreadful aftermath. We were very much aware of the immediate help that came from all over the country and the world to relief the victims with short-term support. As the media exposure subsided, I cannot help but wonder if a sustainable rebuilding plan has been put in place to give those impacted with a fresh new start.

Right before the summer of 2014, I was excited when an opportunity came up for iVolunteer to help Gawad Kalinga recruit volunteers for the Bayani Challenge 2014: Walang Iwanan. It’s the seventh year of the program and focused on helping the Yolanda victims rebuild their homes across 12 provinces, with the help of one million volunteers.

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Students with Huge Hearts

On my third day at the Batangas Bayani Challenge, I found myself grouped with six new faces. They told me that they were students from Batangas State University (and in my head, I immediately dubbed them the “BSU Crew” because that sounds so badass).

I remember them telling me that they were actually in the middle of their finals and were feverishly working on a 400-question paper. They’d be with us volunteering from morning to mid-afternoon and then after that, they’d skip the Kalinga nights so that they could work on their paper. I asked them how that was going and they gave me that same smile I remember giving people who’d ask me how my thesis was going because I don’t really know what to answer… 😛 Continue reading “Students with Huge Hearts”

Do Good and Do More

“This is not a feel-good experience. This is a reminder and commitment to DO better.”
― Marc Sebastian, Gawad Kalinga

Five days later and I’m home. I’m sunburnt, I have an early day tomorrow since it’s back to work, and my dog seems to have decided to punish me for abandoning him (he keeps cuddling against my sister instead of me and it’s making me jealous).

But I’m happy and unsatisfied. I’m happy because this was proof and a reminder that where I’m at right now and the work we do in iVolunteer is an amazing purpose and vehicle for a stronger, united Philippines. I’m unsatisfied because I left feeling like five days wasn’t enough; I wanted to do more within the community. Continue reading “Do Good and Do More”

Gather up your friends this summer and make a difference

Have you guys made plans for summer yet? Check it out—Gawad Kalinga (GK) is once again asking you, your friends, and family to join Bayani Challenge, a two-month project (April 09 Araw ng Kagitingan to June 12 Araw ng Kalayaan) that will contribute to the effort of ending poverty in the Philippines. =)

Spend a weekend with Gawad Kalinga and iVolunteer and help end poverty.
Spend a weekend with Gawad Kalinga and iVolunteer and help end poverty.

Bayani Challenge is part of Barangay Walang Iwanan, a campaign to mainstream a lifestyle of volunteerism and bayanihan at the barangay level to create an impact on at least 250 families in each of the 20,000 barangays. This places us in a clear trajectory to reach 5 MILLION families and #endpoverty for them by 2024!

What can YOU do?
Bayani Challenge 2015 is broken down into different municipalities (sites) all over the Philippines. When you sign up for the site of your choice, you’ll be committing to three to five days* of fun and exciting activities, complete with Kalinga fellowship sessions at night.
* Recommended amount of days by GK. If you can’t commit to the recommended number of days, GK is flexible and would be more than happy to have you over for just a few!

Depending on the needs of the area, the local secretariat may assign your team to the following activities:

  • House Build
  • Paraisong Pambata (Play Therapy for Kids)
  • Kusina ng Kalinga (Care Kitchen)
  • Kalinga ng Kalikasan (Environment)
  • Kalinga ng Kalusugan (Health Mission)
  • Sports Programs
  • Disaster Preparedness

GK Bayani Challenge 2015

How can you register?
We’ve got a list of the GK sites you can sign up at. Check it out and don’t be afraid to click that COUNT ME IN button.

When you do click on that button, it’ll pre-enlist you to your municipality of choice. Heck, click as many COUNT ME IN buttons as you’d like—the same way you would create a destination wishlist. 😉

A GK representative assigned to the municipality of your choice/s will get in touch with you to confirm your registration and provide site-specific details. This becomes your chance to narrow down the site/s you want to be a part of and finalize the registration process.

The list of volunteer opportunitiy sites and dates are still subject to change, so remember to check this article,, and/or Facebook for the latest updates. You may also email us at for more information. If you have questions about site-specific details though, it’s best you click that COUNT ME IN button and wait for a local GK representative who will contact you after you sign up.

Check out which sites you can sign up for and when: Continue reading “Gather up your friends this summer and make a difference”