3 Places to Volunteer Today #6: A-HA! Learning Center, Fairplay for All Foundation, Meritxell Orphanage

So it’s been over a year since the last time I posted anything related to volunteering. I’m glad to have the time again and I hope somehow, posts like this will still be relevant 🙂

To get straight to it, here are a few places you can spend your time in and specifically, spend it with children who need your care, guidance, and attention.

Continue reading

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.  ❤

3 Places to Volunteer Today #4: Weekend after Elections

Elections are finally over.

I literally feel like I took a long “vacation” and I’m only now returning to my real life. Haha!

I know I’m making it sound really intense but that’s honestly what it felt like to me. Rappler’s 5-day election coverage and everything that led up to it was consuming, tiring, and overall, incredibly inspiring 🙂 Just as we were wrapping up our last top-of-the-hour newscast, the word “service” popped up in my head.

But it’s been a week past D-day and it’s time to snap back to reality. Thankfully, the life I’m going back to is a good one. I’ve received so many invitations to volunteer for this coming weekend (May 25-26), and I’m going to share some of them with you.

  1. Paint Some Happy – Paint-Some-Happy project wants to transform public spaces through art and painting, so that they become dream scapes that encourage children to hope. They’re painting some walls at Toro Hills elementary school this weekend! Details are below 🙂 It should be fun. I’m going on Saturday or Sunday – or both!
  2. Balik Eskwela 2013 by Initiatives for Social Action (ISA) –  Balik Eskwela aims to prep the indigent children from Capas, Tarlac for the coming school year by providing school supplies to indigent students in Sitio Cawayan and Sitio Flora. ISA supports “under-resourced communities” with schools that aren’t registered with the Department of Education. Balik Eskwela is an overnight immersion on May 25-26. Aside from distributing the school supplies, as volunteers you’ll also participate in games, art sessions and story telling with the kids 🙂 Below are some more details, from their Facebook page – you can contact them there! The orientation is tomorrow (Tuesday).
  3. Save Philippine Seas’ Seatizen’s Festival – REVISION: Seatizen’s Festival is moved to September. (See their announcement here). Technically, it’s still after elections so I’m keeping it here as a reminder 😀 This isn’t exactly a volunteering event but your presence would still be a huge help anyway 🙂 Save Philippine Seas is turning 2 and to celebrate another year of championing Philippine marine life, they’re holding a fundraiser with a fun run, a Sunday market, and a concert at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center on Sunday, May 26. I’m most interested in the fun run. It’s called Run for Change and participants are encouraged to come in costume made from recyclable materials. Fun, right? 🙂

    MOVED. To September 🙂

It’s definitely a packed, exciting weekend ahead if you want it to be.

Take some of the time to help out. It’ll be good for your heart 🙂

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

3 Places to Volunteer Today #3: Balyena, CISV, Operation Smile

Long-term, larger scale issues need patience, a steady hand, and follow through that can span years. We all know that.

It follows that there are volunteering gigs out there that are going to need more from you than just a day of your time and your wholehearted willingness. For this edition of 3 Places to Volunteer TodayI’m listing down NGO’s that need skilled volunteers for a month at the least. Who knows? You might just be that person they’re looking for 🙂


  1. Balyena.org – Balyena.org is a non-profit society that does research work on whales and dolphins in the Philippines. They aim to provide baseline data for the management and care of these marine animals, hoping that the information enlightens and encourages the locals and the general public alike to be active participants in their conservation. Balyena.org started out as a group of friends who shared a passion for learning about marine animals. Luckily, it’s a passion that’s been shared and experienced by their past volunteers. Every summer, from March to May, they invite volunteers to take part in research surveys on the field (read: at sea). They have a few volunteering opportunities, but the one that most interests me is the Humpback Whale research in the Babuyan islands. The Babuyan islands is the only known breeding ground for humpback whales in the Philippines yet there’s still a lot to be discovered about them (e.g. distribution, abundance, migratory patterns). Mainly, volunteers will have to photo ID the whales, requiring being comfortable and competent in the water. A concrete, important way that the research helps is that it informs plans for coastal resources management and marine ecotourism.

    From their Facebook. Gotta admit, part of the reason why I’d want to volunteer is cause I wanna see dolphins and hear whale song 🙂


  2. CISV International – CISV International is a global organization that’s been around since 1950. Their advocacy is peace and their method is friendship. Their programmes span all ages and all have one goal in common: building inter-cultural friendship, cooperation, and understanding. According to their site, their programmes are as follows:

    As a volunteer, you can opt to be a member of the staff in different programmes (e.g. Step Up, Village, Youth Meeting), or more specifically, you can apply for positions like being a Leader for an interchange. Needless to say, it would be great if you had experience with caring for and teaching children as you’ll be responsible for these kids while they’re in another country. But if you really want to go for it, they provide training too, so you won’t be completely in the dark 🙂

    Picture from their site.


  3. Operation Smile – Operation Smile Philippines is a non-stock, non-profit organization that seeks to provide free-life changing reconstructive surgeries to children born with facial deformities, like cleft lips and cleft palates. They’ve been around for 30 years – imagine how many kids with new smiles that comes to 🙂 Because of the nature of the work, Operation Smile is always on the lookout for medical volunteers who, of course, will have to go through a credentialing process. The role you’re given will depend greatly on your specialty (e.g.Plastic Surgeon , Anesthesiologist , Pediatrician, Pediatric Intensivist, Biomedical Technician, Speech Pathologist, Child Life Specialist, Dentist, Nursing). Once accepted, as I understand, you’ll be going on local or international missions to these children, as far as you’re willing to go.

For those of you entertaining a sustained love affair with volunteer work, I hope this helped somewhat!

I’ve never volunteered for a long-term project but, from what I hear from my friends who have, it’s a life-changing experience. None of them regret being away for long, and most of them feel the calling to go back and continue their work 🙂

It’s something that’s definitely on my bucket list.

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

3 Places to Volunteer Today #2: iVolunteer Philippines

I am now a proud member of iVolunteer Philippines 🙂 You should be one too.



iVolunteer Philippines is a site that links NGO’s and outreach activities in need of manpower, with willing and able volunteers eager to put themselves to good use. Kinda like matchmaking 🙂 A rebirth of 2001’s ivolunteer.net.ph, the Philippines’ first volunteerism portal, iVolunteer is a platform customized to reach the people today. And they walk their talk – they’re 100% powered by volunteers.

Their site has an extremely simple interface to match an extremely easy process:


  • Look through the different volunteering opportunities. The thumbnail will give you the sector, the dates, and the number of volunteers needed. If you select an event, you get the full description, as well as the number of volunteers still needed and the deadline to sign up.
  • Click on “COUNT ME IN,” and you’re in!
  • Make sure to contact the email in the program description to get all details and for extra secure confirmation.

It’s that easy.


I’ve always felt that the problems were that the volunteering opportunities were too scattered, hard to find, and that the NGO’s themselves had a hard time looking for volunteers and/or marketing themselves given everything else they have to do. iVolunteer is the 3-in-1 solution 🙂

And since this is part of the 3 Places to Volunteer Today series, here are some volunteering oppprtunities on the site that I found interesting:


  • Bahay Maria Games, Art and Magic! Though we may feel that the children’s parties of our youth were overrated, for the children in the Bahay Maria shelter the games and all the magic are a big thing. You get to make it a memorable Saturday for 35 girls from the shelter, where abandoned and surrendered children from poor communities have found a home. The outreach needs 20 volunteers for March 16, 2:30pm.
  • Livelihood Program in Organic Agriculture. Organized by GreenEarth Heritage Foundation, Inc., this livelihood program is for the locals of Sitio Malapas na Parang in San Miguel, Bulacan. From March 9 to March 15, they need anyone and everyone to give the locals a hand in improving the community’s organic farm. Tasks include vegetable production, seeding and transplanting young plants, landscaping, etc. 50 volunteers are needed.
  • Elections 2013 – Design and CommercializationThe iVolunteer design team itself is looking for graphic designers to come up with collaterals for the National Elections this May 2013. iVolunteer is partnering up ith groups such as the Kaya Natin Movement for Good Governance, Task Force 2013, Youth Vote Philippines and NAMFREL to boost voter education, registration and awareness. 15 volunteers are needed!


Their mission is “to promote volunteerism by: Making it known, Making it easy, Making it happen.”

iVolunteer is another one of those sites that I had thought of setting up in passing, and that I wish I had done. They’re living the dream 🙂

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

3 Places to Volunteer Today #1: Books for a Cause, Virlanie Foundation, Gawad Kalinga

This year, as part of my Big 25, I told myself that I would volunteer in 5 places before my 25th birthday. It’s already February and sadly, I can’t say I’ve volunteered anywhere :O This has been my first free weekend in a while and if I had good foresight, I would’ve used it to help out. To make up for my lack of planning ahead, I am going to use this Saturday to blog about 3 places to volunteer that may not be so heard of – and hopefully it continues on to become a series 🙂

So here goes, 3 Places to Volunteer Today (The 1st Edition):

  1. Books For A Cause Philippines – Books For A Cause is an advocacy group that wants to bring knowledge and literacy to the kids who need it most. Through continuously showing kids the importance of education and providing them what learning tools they can, Books For A Cause wants to  “inculcate in their minds that POVERTY is not a hindrance to a better future but a CHALLENGE, and that WHAT THEY THINK IS WHAT THEY BECOME!” Their first big project was the Baloy Community Library, opened last January 19, 2012, stocked with donated books from all around. You can donate those extra books, volunteer, or even hold your own fundraiser in your own community. You can check them out on Facebook too 🙂

    picture from their site

  2. Virlanie Foundation – Virlanie Foundation’s advocacy is focused on children who haven’t had the chance to have much of a childhood. They care for the “abandoned, abused, exploited, neglected, orphaned poor.” One of the largest private, non-sectarian child-caring institutions in Manila, they have several outreach programs and support programs. Among some of the programs are Sibuhi (where kids are provided a safe environment to express their emotions and experiences) and Balik Probinsiya (where families are encouraged and assisted to relocate from Manila to the provinces). You can join them and you can also donate.

    picture from their site

  3. GK Bayani Challenge 2013 – For the adventurous, the GK Bayani Challenge is a 5-day event from March 23-27 where thousands of volunteers are gathered and deployed to 34 different provinces – volunteers are assembled into groups of 15 people and are tasked to perform different duties such as cleaning up, building houses, etc. It’s not too late! Register in the link above 🙂

I hope those references helped 🙂 Just checking them out and telling your friends about them is already a big help.

And I truly, truly hope to get to volunteer in one of these places soon.

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