3 Places to Volunteer Today #5: Hands on Manila

Things have been on the bright side recently 🙂

Just a couple of weeks ago, Hands on Manila (HOM) picked me and 6 others to become official HOM bloggers for social change. Applying was something I had no choice but to do on the fly because of how busy work’s been making me, so their acceptance really came as a much-welcomed surprise.

I had known about them for a while already after seeing their booth at the VSO Bahaginan Volunteering Fair. They had a tarp with a huge red hand on it and a catchy name – I was immediately curious.

Hands On Manila has been around since 2001. Similar to iVolunteer, Hands on Manila connects people who want to help with partner communities and groups that need an extra hand. What makes them different is that HOM does its very best to make sure the volunteering opportunities they offer are diverse and flexible enough so that service can become integrated into your everyday grind.

It’s true that there are so many individuals who can still be tapped to help out. HOM’s “roadblock-free path to service” could maximize the potential of volunteering as a tool for creating change. That is, if we volunteer 🙂

Here are a few of their partners who are a bit more specialized than the usual:

  1.  AIDS Society of the Philippines – AIDS Society of the Philippines is a group aiming to use education programs and community service to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS. Their main locations are Caloocan, Pasay, Quezon City, and Manila. Contact Angelo Esperezante at (02) 376-2541 or (0917) 812-0424.

    From their website.

  2. Mission: Katutubo Village (MKV) – MKV’s goal is to connect society to  their fellow Filipinos – specifically, the Aytas in Planas, Porac Pampaga. Over the past two years, MKV has worked with over 300 UP student-volunteers, 500 Aytas, and other groups and individuals to develop self-sufficient livelihood programs in the community. Other activities include leadership trainings, health and hygiene workshops, medical and dental missions. Contact Jarryd Bello at (0927) 981-8851 or Pauline Paguia (0917) 341 – 6016. You can also email them at missionkatutubovillage@gmail.com.

    From their Facebook.

  3. Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya (SIBAT) – Their main cry is technology for sustaibility. SIBAT endeavors to enable poor communities to use science and technology to achieve self-reliance. They need skilled volunteers, such as: agroforesters, water engineers, water and sanitation experts, watershed specialists, project managers, web designers, and policy researchers. Their main office is in Matalino street, Quezon City Contact SIBAT at (02) 926-8971, or sibat@sibat.org. 

    From their Facebook. In 2010, SIBAT and CABIOKID farm installeda 1kW wind and solar system in Sta. Rita, Cabiao, Nueva Ecija.

They have a lot more activities on their list: some include singing, sports etc. They also have activities with kids, and the elderly. You can download the full calendar here 🙂

You can also contact Hands on Manila’s program manager Toni Zuniga for help in coordinating with the partners, inquiries, and even arranging customized outreaches for your company or family. Contact him at toni.zuniga@handsonmanila.org or at (02) 843-7044, (02) 478-7044.

Hands on Manila is actually something I really need. More and more, I’m finding I have less time to reach out – it’s a situation I’m trying to figure out.

And I’m very grateful I get the chance to write for HOM in the months ahead 🙂

To see more places you can volunteer at, click here.  ❤

Teach for the Philippines: Baby steps

I’m nearing my third month in Rappler and already, I’m staring to feel an itch to go out into the field.

As an Associate Producer, I love what I do and I still have a lot to learn – but that doesn’t help the fact that I’d like to tell stories too 🙂 I haven’t really told anyone (and hopefully no one from Rappler sees this) because I don’t want to get pressured. I can freak myself out enough for everybody, thanks very much. And so I’ve decided to take baby steps.

One of them was covering the Teach for the Philippines Summer Institute graduation. An additional perk was that I could blog about it :))


Here’s the resulting article by David Lozada, and it was included in the June 3 newscast too!

Being there brought me back to about 6 months ago when I was considering applying. Seeing the TFP fellows made me think to myself, “Girl, you really wouldn’t have cut it.”

There’s wanting to help out, and then there’s offering two years of your life to entering a disorganized, daunting public school system just for the chance of making a slight difference.

All 53 of them seemed happy enough to be there. The two I was actually able to speak with were worried. If I was in their place, I would be freaking out. So to settle at worry really is a courageous thing – to go with their courageous choice.

I have nothing but respect and well wishes for them. And hope too.

Their choice also set me to thinking about my own choices so far.

I’m at a fork in the road right now, and depending on which way I go, a different version of me will be actualized. I refuse to say, “Bahala na.”

Here’s to hoping we all figure out which paths to take at the correct time 🙂 To have different choices to make and different goals to chase after is a blessing in itself.

Four weeks with Rappler

I started working with Rappler on the 18th of March so technically, I’ve been with them for just four weeks. Gotta admit, I’m only beginning to love the job :))

I’m not sure if it was obvious to anyone, but the first couple of weeks were kiiinda rough for me. For sure, Rappler can also be classified as a startup. But it’s most definitely different from the startup I came from. From working with 11 people, I am now surrounded by at least 30 people everyday. I don’t think I’ve even met everyone on the team! And, of course, journalism work isn’t exactly the same as being paid to be creative.

But it’s not entirely unfamiliar. I’ve always thought of my work with OnMedia as creative problem-solving and problem-finding – both of which are informally in my job description as an Associate Producer. And as big as it may be, Rappler is still a start-up and the energy that kept me in OnMedia for so long is definitely there. Everyone is hungry, so to speak. We all want to create the best version of our site together and we want to do it because it’s what the readers deserve.


So yes, I am reaching the point where I’m beginning to enjoy myself and the nervousness is slowly fading away. Mostly it’s being replaced by learning. I can almost literally feel my brain stretching itself :)) I’ve had to expand my attention span and my ability to absorb information by a lot. And duh, I’m beginning to understand current events. Everyone I work with is extremely intelligent and just listening to how people talk in the newsroom sometimes – it’s pushing me towards appreciating news beyond the facts.

Here are some of the videos I’ve been part of producing in my four weeks so far 🙂 Click the pictures to watch!


Of course this is when my co-AP decides to go on a vacation to Bacolod :)) All in all, it was an excellent learning experience though. I’m very proud to have been part of this debate, the first to be held in an open space in these elections.


Extremely exciting talk, especially because I’m into startups 🙂 My favorite quote from the interview was from Bowei Gai, “You can’t replicate Silicon Valley… You have to do your own thing. You don’t have to be Silicon Valley to be great.” A must-read for enterpreneurs.


Google+ Hangout with Arland Macasieb, one of the Filipinos who ran this year’s Boston Marathon.


Behind the scenes of a roundtable discussion with Mohagher Iqbal, peace panel chair of the MILF, on peace. I’m slightly deaf so I couldn’t really understand much when it was going on. But transcribing it and listening to it in slow motion, you realize the man is eloquent.


Was quite happy with myself this day because it was my first time to suggest a guest and luckily, she was free 🙂 And more than that, extremely enlightening.


I’m a little shy to be giddy since everyone seems to be used to it but, live videos are a different kind of thrill. And along with all the urgency and the immediacy, there comes a very specific type of fulfilment, one that I’m only now getting acquainted with.

I’d love to do behind-the-scenes or how-we-did-it posts. Let’s see if I last long enough to do that! 😀

PAKISAMA: My Ideal Project

Since October of 2012, I’ve been producing a mini-documentary for PAKISAMA, an NGO that’s been around since Marcos.

I say “since” because we’re still in production 🙂 It’s almoooost there, just a few more revisions and we’re done. I can’t really complain though – the process has taught me a lot about producing, about how NGO’s work and how to work with an NGO, and it’s been a pleasure to collaborate with the people of PAKISAMA. Not to mention, I’ve gotten the chance to speak with farmers, fishermen and IP’s, and try to see what they see. It’s a producer’s dream, or, mine at least.

PAKISAMA, simply put, is an organization of organizations. They help groups and NGO’s of farmers, fishermen, women, and indigenous people map out their problems, take non-violent action, become self-sufficient, and understand the plights they are in. A huge issue that illustrates what they do is Sumilao and its 144 hectares of farm land.

PAKISAMA helped the Sumilao farmers parse through legislation, organize their 60-day march to Manila, and make themselves heard. Other cases are those of Banasi and Pecuaria. Today, they’re doing the same thing for the Casiguran farmers who are still fighting for their land and fighting against APECO.

A favorite quote of mine from one of our interviews was said by Ka Rene, a past president, “Maituturing ko siyang guro ng kasaysayan at unibersidad ng karanasan.” (I consider it a teacher of history, and a university of experience.)

For a little over 25 years, they’ve continued to struggle alongside the sectors who’ve got the least going for them. In the process of making this video, a young man from an indigenous group cried to me over injustice and I was told of recent deaths that sounded as if they happened often.

My job is just to tell people who they are. They’re out there everyday – facing the fire, confronting politicians and private individuals about their decisions and their actions.

They give me hope.

“Kapag narating namin o ng aming mga kasapi na sila na ang masusunod, sila na ang magbibigay ng presyo, sila na ang kumikita sa pamayanan, sila na ang kinikilala ng pamayanan… ibigsabihin matagumpay na ang PAKISAMA at ang mga kasapi.”  

(When the time comes that our members are the one’s who are listened to, that they dictate their prices, that they justly earn a living, that society fully recognizes them… then we can say that PAKISAMA and it’s members have succeeded.) – Vic Faber

P.S. The pictures are screencaps! I’ll post the video, with PAKISAMA’s permission, once it’s done. There’s so much more to learn, things that would have made this post damn loooong. Haha 🙂

How to be Good

Hi. I’m Dindin, and I’m dissatisfied.

… And that’s a good thing 🙂 Let me explain myself.

Today, I’m blessed to be working as a producer at a wonderful production house called OnMedia Pro – a company full of talented people with big hearts and creative minds. We do documentaries, institutional AVPs, digital content, and the like. Mostly, everyday is exciting and I get paid to learn things and gain experience. It’s been a wonderful almost-two-years 🙂

So, why the dissatisfaction?

Well… cause I think I’d rather shoot famers more.

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Half a day at the Enchanted Farm

Two weeks or so ago, the OnMedia crew visited the GK Center for Social Innovation’s Enchanted Farm for a shoot. I’d known about the farm for a while already cause I’d attended some GK CSI Nights at Ateneo before, but I’d never been there and I was always curious about it. The video called for some coverage of social work and since social entrepreneurship was something I haven’t seen that prominently featured in videos yet, the Enchanted Farm it was. Great thing they’re so accommodating 🙂

It’s somewhere in the area of Bocaue, Bulacan, an hour or so away from Manila by car. When we got there… well, I don’t really wanna betray how inarticulate I am in my own head, but my first thought was, “Cool.”

You enter a gate that’s the shape of a house into this place that looks like a ranch, and it’s green everywhere. 🙂

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Hard Work and Kindness

One of the things I love about my job is that I get to meet so many people, who ordinarily, I probably would’ve just read about and daydreamed of meeting 🙂

Last week we had to shoot this year’s Special Academic Convocation Awardees: Marites Vitug, Randy David, Justice Relova, Lilia de Lima, and Ben Abadiano. It was a week of countless intellectual orgasms, many moments of pausing in awe, and, just basking in this whole aura of hope and positivity all of them gave off.

Marites Vitug, who talked about telling people’s stories like there were few worthier pursuits on earth.

At Randy David’s house, where he talked about discourse and how it makes change a possibility. Also where I screamed inside like a fangirl.

At Pamulaan, Center for Indigenous Peoples’ Education, in Davao.

Ben Abadiano, the school’s founder, scaring the students with their thesis requirements

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Mindanao First-Timer

Just last week, I was a 22-year old Filipina who’d never been to Mindanao. A week and a travel assignment later, I realized that, that was very sad. I’d been missing out.

Honestly, a year ago, I wouldn’t have given a damn if I’d been to Mindanao or not, cause I didn’t know anything substantial about it. Ignorance and laziness. Though, after doing a thesis and a film where we to change how Filipinos saw Muslims and how they framed them, and getting to meet all these amazing young Muslims… well it’s definitely given me a personal investment in the place.

And it was so, so gratifying. Visiting Lanao del Norte just affirmed everything we talked and wrote about, everything we tried to do, everything we’d hoped for.

Yellow corn, part of their One Town One Product project.

Cows being milked at Bangaan’s dairy farm. I’ve gotta say, I now have a new appreciation for those who milk cows.

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