The Ninth Big Day

The kits
brightened up

 the kids.

The Beneficiary

San Isidro Labrador Learning Center

San Isidro Labrador Learning Center is located a few meters away from the parish of Lumondao, Marilog District. It has about 45 Kinder 1 and 2 students sharing a ceiling-less bamboo matted classroom. Their teacher, Virginia Dompor, said that most of her students' parents merely get a living from farming. Each family stretches their Php 2,000 - 3,000 monthly income to cater their basic needs.

Scenic view from the school

From Davao City's downtown area, the school can be reached through a jeepney bound for Marahan or a passenger bus bound for Bukidnon or Cagayan de Oro in two hours. Along the way, you can peek at the reinvigorating mountain view of the city. Both the church and the center aren't in the town proper, you still have to go up the hill to get there. The road is accessible by four-wheeled vehicles, though. 

The Kits 

What's in the kit

For this distribution, POHD received cash donations from generous souls. Hence, kids didn't only get writing materials but a plastic envelope of school supplies. Each kit contains a coloring story book, a booklet of preschool worksheets, a notebook, a sharpener, an eraser, a ruler, sheets of art paper, a box of crayons and seven pencils.

The Distribution

On December 11, 2011, nine volunteers headed off to Lumondao Parish Hall for a two-hour party with the children. They arrived at the place with everything ready: the kids were already on their little chairs and their parents or guardians were sitting at the sides. 

Singing and Playing

After the opening prayer led by Rose, Kikit taught the kids the song, "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes". It reviewed the kids with the English terms of the different parts of the body. The children then had fun playing the games Liyah facilitated. 

Passing the balloon made them attentive to the music being played.

In another game, they ran to Liyah to bring the item she wanted. 

They alertly grouped themselves during The-Boat-is-Sinking game.

Storytelling and Coloring

After the games, the children were divided into five groups for storytelling. It aimed to awaken the kids' reading interest, improve their listening skills, tap their imagination and convey simple life lessons. It's first time for the volunteers to conduct this kind of activity during the distribution and it made the afternoon more meaningful and useful for everyone. 

Si Pilandok at ang Manok na Nangingitlog ng Ginto

Ang Langgam at ang Tipaklong

Ang Maingay na Sapatos

Peter Pan

Beauty and the Beast

They then colored a page of their storybook. While they were doing this, the volunteers chose seven kids who seem to have a talent for this. They were acknowledged by giving them a case of 64 crayons as a simple way of encouraging them to enhance what they have. In the past two December distributions, only a few kids were chosen to join the drawing contest but this year, everyone was given a chance to showcase their artistic side.

A boy coloring a page of the storybook

Kids showing their work of art

Rice Giving

Since POHD received more blessings this year, each family was also given a kilo of rice. The parents went home with something in their hands, too.

Shai distributing rice to parents

The community was very glad that POHD had chosen their area as the beneficiary. In the closing speech of Nenita Aringal, one of the parents who witnessed the event, she expressed her gratefulness because for the first time, an organization reached out to them. Fr. Jun Gimeno, the parish priest, also stayed at the venue for a while to acknowledge the kindness of the group.

The Volunteers and Donors

We would like to thank the following volunteers who made the event possible:

The Volunteers

Christie Mercado for coordinating with the beneficiaries and volunteers
Liyah, Rose, Weng, Kikit and Shai for reading stories with the kids

Trace and Ace for preparing the snacks
Dan for the music

 Angie for taking photos.
Gong, Bacoy, Marvin and Bryan for arranging the transportation

Special thanks to the following donors:

Marbhen Compra for the snacks
Lovelie Reyes for the goodies
Arnie Salinasal for the crayons and pencils
Shai Angeles for the storybooks and workbooks
Davis Langdon Bahrain and Dubai Offices, 
Cheryl Pelomeras, JP and Jan Nalla for the cash donation


More photos here.

The Eighth Big Day

Little pencils, little thank-you notes

 Much gratefulness, much happiness

The Beneficiary

Salaysay Elementary School

Salaysay Elementary School, part of Marilog district, caters 389 students including kindergarteners. 88% of the entire population belong to T'boli, Matigsalob, Guiangan, Aeta, Manobo and Muslim tribes. Most of their parents earn an average income of P2,000 from working as farmers and laborers of banana plantations nearby. Students who live in Barangay Magsaysay, about 6 kilometers away from the school, are often late for their classes since they just come to school on foot. 

Entrance to Grades 5 and 6 classrooms

As per interview with Ms. Rosalinda Escorido, the school principal, three of the common problems they encounter are the increasing drop-off rate due to financial constraints, the overflowing river when there's a heavy downpour and lack of awareness among community residents. Many parents aren't fully aware of the new K to 12 program of the Department of Education (DepEd) yet. Hence, they still have to work on the information dissemination.

The school's solar panel

From downtown area of Davao City, the school can be reached by bus and habal/habal ride for two hours and a half. Since there is no electricity in the community, the school relies on the donated solar panel for their audio-visual activities and school-wide big events.

The Distribution

 An intermediate class during orientation

On August 24, 2011, the volunteers were accompanied by the people who identified the school beneficiary in going to the area. They have known the school since they are personally acquainted with the faculty and the community. The students' need for educational reinforcement was confirmed by Mr. Rogelio Hubahib, a former district supervisor of DepEd. 

A teacher distributing pencils to her students

They arrived early in the morning before the flag ceremony began. They saw how students, some in old uniforms but mostly in slippers, arrived at school. After their daily morning routine, the kids proceeded to their classrooms for their regular classes. The volunteers interrupted their discussion for a short time to distribute the writing materials. The wonderful and friendly teachers helped them to facilitate the activity faster.

 Students counting their green pencils

Each student received seven pens or/and pencils. Since they didn't expect such number, they were so happy to have ample supply of writing materials for the next few months. A few teachers had a brief character education lecture to inculcate the worth of the gifts they received from donors.

Special Thanks To

Cheryl Pelomeras for the extra pens, 

 Winona, Dexter, Daryl and Krizel for the transportation 
and for coordinating with the school,

 and the faculty of Salaysay Elementary School for the warmth.

More photos here. Please check our Facebook Page too. MARAMING SALAMAT PO!

POHD Joins Lapis at Papel, Kulang Pa Project

On July 30, 2011, about 100 preschoolers gathered at Kadayawan Project Hope Day Care Center, NHA Bangkal, Davao City for the distribution of writing materials. The activity, headed by Lapis at Papel, Kulang Pa project, was supported by the volunteers of Pens of Hope in Davao. 

The area was greatly affected by the recent flash flood in Davao City. Since the center is located about ten meters away from the river, most of its instructional materials were ruined by the overflowing water. 

The volunteers behind the Lapis at Papel, Kulang Pa project were graduates of Holy Cross of Mintal Batch 1981. Instead of having grand reunions, they opted to do something more worthwhile by providing educational materials to students. They usually prioritize the kids in rural communities but the calamity in the city last June made them decide to reach out to the victims. 

Should you want to extend your assistance to their group, please contact Malinda Malacaste through Facebook.

To view more photos, click here.

POHD Supports Lapis at Papel Kulang Pa Project


POHD shares 200 packs of pencils and 100 sharpeners to Lapis at Papel Kulang Pa project. It's an ongoing program of the Batch 81 Alumni of Holy Cross of Mintal. They intend to help kids learn how to write, read and paint. Their next distribution is scheduled on July 9 in Sitio Quiaoit, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur. 


If you want to support their group, please contact Malinda Malacaste Aloloidz on Facebook. 

Good luck to your group!

UP Mindanao's Box

We discovered this box of yellow pencils at SICO last week from the Omega Alpha Fraternity and Sorority of University of Philippines Mindanao. Now we have more writing materials to give away in our next distribution.

Thanks for supporting our project. 

The Seventh Big Day

Sometimes you have to go farther

to discover where the greater need is.

The Beneficiary

The residents of Purok 3, Barangay Panalum, Paquibato District are called Matigsalug indigenous people. To get to the area, you have to take a 45-60-minute ride from Panabo City by jeepney or habal-habal, a kind of transportation designed for rough, steep and narrow roads in the Philippines. From the community proper, you walk through a banana farm for about five minutes. Their nipa huts are located uphill, giving you a panoramic look of the nearby banana plantation.

Purok 3 has about 30 families. Their main source of income is farming. They grow lakatan and tundan bananas and sell binangkong, dried cavendish bananas used in the production of feeds. They also plant vegetables for their own consumption.

The number of children in the area reaches 60. The elementary students study at the public school near the community gym while the high school students have to go to Paquibato proper, about 40 minutes from their home on foot. Ate Rosita, a barangay kagawad, said that most of the students started going to school since first week of June without any notebooks and writing materials.

The Distribution

Considering the distance of the area from downtown, the original plan was to hand over the school supplies to Kuya Nestor, the barangay kagawad who contacted the Social Involvement Coordinating Office. But fate had its own way of allowing two volunteers to distribute the materials themselves on June 19 in the afternoon.

The residents, both parents and kids gathered in their common hut. Unfortunately, the children weren't informed ahead of time about it so some of them helped their fathers in the farm. After a brief orientation about what the project was all about, each kid was given a green plastic bag of school supplies. It wasn't enough for their requirements at school but there was

so much gladness

in their eyes

for it is not everyday

that kindness pays them a visit.

They want to extend their gratitude to all the supporters of this project.

More pics here.

The Sixth Big Day

What can be more beautiful than 

natural green

and a sincere grin?

The Beneficiary

For the sixth distribution of the Pens of Hope in Davao, Bankas Elementary School was our school beneficiary. It is a small public school in Barangay Camansi, Toril, Davao City catering about 196 pupils. It can be reached within an hour from city proper through any four-wheeled vehicle. According to the school head, Mr. Jersam Bangcot, the school experiences many problems related to illegal settling, school maintenance and security. Unlike other neighboring institutions, this school and its adjacent high school receive less support from the barangay officials. Education is not their priority. But despite of this situation, it has survived for 50 years with the support of non-government organizations.

Majority of the families living in this community have an income between Php 2,000 - 6,000. Most of the residents are farmers, tenants, banana plantation workers and below minimum wage earners. This definitely affects the children's daily sustenance and education.

The Distribution

Last June 14 at 9:30 a.m., Mabelle, Dan and Kikit arrived at the school after a 30-minute ride on the bumpy road to the community. After a brief meeting with the school head, the writing materials were distributed in the classrooms. The volunteers didn't stay long with the kids to minimize disruption from their regular classes. They simply explained what the project is all about and who donated the writing materials.  

Though there wasn't a program like how we did in our previous big days, the curious glances and lovely smiles of the students were enough to let us know they are thankful that many people still care for them. 

very much for your continuous support for this project. 

More photos here