Art Therapy Workshop for the Kids of Cateel

Jayvie, the official photographer of the Art Therapy Workshop wrote this post about the activity. This was originally published on his blog, Tibing Lakawero


The wrath of typhoon BOPHA (Pablo) who hit the Philippines last December 04, 2012, leaves nothing but wrecked homes, bald forests, hundreds of fatalities, thousands of families homeless and a heartbreaking picture of a muddled town mercilessly ravaged by the most notorious typhoon of 2012.

Six months after the devastating event, Pens of hope in Davao and Help Cateel Movementwith the Davao Bloggers Society conducted an Art Therapy Worskhop that would help the kids of Cateel express their stress and confusion through illustrations, colors and performance art and, open a new doorway to unarticulated feelings, and shed light on the past.

Last June 8 and 9, 2013 we went to Cateel to give healing and stress debriefing to kids 11 to 12 years old. We left Davao City at around 12:30am. I was left awake till dawn from the bumpy ride. It gives me the idea of how vast the area Pablo damaged that I can’t merely describe the scene I’m seeing while we’re on our way to Cateel. It was still dawn when we reached Bagangga (one of the town that was not spared by the typhoon), Bagangga welcomed us with the horrifying view of reality. It was a total devastation. It was the exact scene I refused to believe 6 months ago. It is an image of grief, suffering, pain and sorrow. It’s still fresh from my memory the silhouette of the uprooted trees on the vast field creating flashes of the heart breaking event that killed at least thousands of people. It broke my heart in silence.

It is despairing to say that the traumatic experiences that came across their lives has already been engraved into their deepest hearts; but that never hinders our fervent hope on helping them recover from such tragedy. With the help of many kindhearted souls who donated art materials such as crayons, pencils, eraser, oil pastels, oslo papers, drawing books, envelopes, cash in kinds for funds and the prayers of our fellow Filipinos; Pens of hope in Davao, Help Cateel movement and Davao Bloggers Society was able to conduct a workshop that would help heal the wounds of the kids of Cateel. Our two-day workshop opens a window of hope for these innocent children of God.

On our first day, kuya Dan and kuya Perry taught them the basics of Art. Art is an effective outlet to bring back normalcy to the lives of these young kids. It is important that they undergo the process of stress debriefing for them to begin to accept what had happened and start rebuilding their lives.

On the afternoon, kuya Perry taught them the basics of Theatre Art. They learned the fundamentals of performing arts. These two artistic outlets can help these kids to develop and manage their behaviors, reduce stress, improve awareness and most importantly, heal themselves.

Day two was a continuation of the theatre arts workshop. It is when the kids was tasked to re-enact the heartbreaking event. This time, they seem serious and participating. Some cried while others groan. A clear sign of trauma from a frightful experience. Again it broke my heart seeing them suffer. I was left helpless, all I could do was to thank God for sparing the lives of these kids from the havoc of the deadliest typhoon Pablo.


 Our project: Art Therapy Workshop for the Kids of Cateel was able to distribute at least 70+ art materials. The two-day workshop turned out a huge success. Thanks to the parents and teachers who supported and took part in the process. But, this is just a start. Pens of hope in Davao and Help Cateel movement and Davao Bloggers Society are initially planning another workshop for the Cateelenos.

The Amihan Bayanihan Spirit

By Jen Aguinaldo

Bayanihan. It’s that nice breeze that regularly sweeps the Amihan sa Dahican community. That air they breathe every day- Infectious. Contagious. Inspiring.

Kuya Jun and kids picking up trash

The skim-skate-surf group, Amihan sa Dahican Team, is gaining attention not only because of their excellent “board and balance” skills but also because of the inspiring “bayanihan” and other positive values such as creativity, resourcefulness, hardwork, and integrity that the group exemplify. Despite coming from economically challenged families of fishermen, the kids are full of positive vibes and are hopeful that one day, the practical training and values they learn from the group will help them achieve all their dreams in life.

Amihan kids with a their bags of school supplies

With support from the Pens of Hope in Davao, Cromwell Bacareza, Exal Industries, Diksyonaryo Atbp., and other donors, The Amihan sa Dahican Team organized a ceremonial distribution of school supplies and hygiene kits to the Amihan kids and some of their siblings on May 18, 2012 at the Amihan sa Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental. Support from locals such as Vincent Paul Loguinsa, a surfer who teaches the kids English (and other subjects) every weekend, and Freddy Allan Uy, who promotes the team through his captures, also contributed to the success of the event making it a great showcase of the bayanihan spirit.

Amihan kids dancing Gentleman during the program
With guidance from the Amihan founder, George Plaza (also known as Kuya Jun) and their Amihan “kuyas”, the Amihan kids led the simple program that was enjoyed by around 50 children and some parents. The program opened with a lecture by Amihan kid, Peter, on the marine creatures such as dugong (sea cow), whalesharks (butanding), and turtles (pawikan) found in the pristine waters of Dahican. The Amihan girls led the story telling and some Amihan boys recited the poem “All things Bright and Beautiful” while their special guests, the select Dahican community kids, enjoyed the presentations. A clean up drive to teach the children how to clean and take care of their environment was also conducted and was immediately followed by a releasing of the baby green hawksbill sea turtles to the ocean!

The innovative wash facility

Prior to the event, a simple wash facility, a blackboard, and a makeshift mini “library” were constructed by the Amihan Team. These facilities were made to provide a supportive environment so that the kids will be more comfortable every time they attend Kuya Vincent’s weekend classes and /or when they practice daily hygiene activities of toothbrushing and handwashing.

While the positive spirit in the team is highly commendable, it is sad to say that some of the kids (and their kuyas) are behind their schooling because of a list of reasons such as economic.

Grateful and happy Amihan community after the program

Going to school definitely requires more than provision of school supplies but the Amihan kids are very grateful of the little blessings they received from the donors. They also promised to do good in school and make good use of the supplies given to them.

Sure, there are a lot more to do in the community but it’s the little steps and contributions from everyone to make things happen that matter.

First photo grabbed from Kuya Jun's Facebook account. 

The 13th Big Day

Pens of Hope in Davao went back to Paquibato community on May 29, 2013 to deliver 94 lootbags to the children. Here are some of the photos that were taken: 

These are the 94 lootbags prepared the night before the distribution. 

Preschoolers received coloring books, pencils, eraser, glue, sharpeners and crayons. 

Elementary students received five notebooks, pencils, glue, crayons, eraser, ruler, scissors and pens. 

The kids were happy to see the vols visit their community again. 

And to receive school supplies to for their studies. 

More pictures here.

We would like to thank our blessing-sharers, especially Myra, Cecille and Karen for making these kids smile. Two thumbs up for Angie for buying the school supplies and Grace for packing the bags with Ms KNT. To Dan, Kyuki and Miss KNT, thanks for the time.