Filipinos bag 59 medals at 2015 Special Olympics

(This article is also posted on Rappler.)
The victorious football team that participated in Unified Football, where special athletes and regular athletes play together. Photo from Special Olympics Philippines' Facebook page

The victorious football team that participated in Unified Football, where special athletes and regular athletes play together. Photo from Special Olympics Philippines’ Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Ringing in August with victory and high hopes, Filipino athletes from all over the country competed in worldwide Olympic sporting events and bagged 21 gold medals, 14 silver medals and 24 bronze medals.

What makes this celebration all the more sweet is that all our athletes are special.

The Special Olympics World Games for 2015 was held from July 25 to August 1 in Los Angeles with 7,000 athletes coming from 177 countries – all of them with varied intellectual disabilities.

The Philippine delegation brought over 35 athletes, with Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao fully represented.

A participant of the Special Olympics since 1991, the Philippines has been training athletes year in and year out. This year’s set of athletes took two 3 years to get to the sporting grounds, ready and qualified.

Out of the 25 sports hosted this year, the Philippines joined athletics, unified football, bowling, powerlifting, aquatics, gymnastics, and badminton.

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German mom, kid give hope to Bohol cleft palate patients

(This article is also posted on Rappler.)

BABY BOY. Charly was born with a cleft lip and a cleft palate. Photo by Ann-Kathrin Lange

BOHOL, Philippines – Early in November of 2009, a little boy named Charly was born in Inabanga, Bohol. He came out with 10 toes, 10 fingers, two eyes, and one split lip. In developing countries, a child with a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both, is born every two and a half minutes – Charly was one of them.

His mother Norlita didn’t have a name for whatever it was that happened to the child she had been carrying, but it was enough of a shock for her to leave him untouched for the first few hours of his life.

When she finally came up to the baby who had not uttered a single cry since his birth, she told him, “Kung ano man meron ka, tanggap kita.” (Whatever it is you have, I accept you.) And Charly cried.

Six years down the road, life for Norlita and Charly has been marked by tears.

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On Bahay Kalipay: Be a resident volunteer

My stay here at Bahay Kalipay is slowly coming to a close and I’m not really looking forward to the day when I leave the gates and get on that plane.

The decision to come and volunteer to teach here for a month was definitely a great one and I thank myself for going through with it. Teaching here has given me so much strength and insight for my personal journey and I know there’s more to be known – one month is just way too short 🙂 But no worries, Bahay Kalipay hasn’t seen the last of me yet!

If you’re also interested in volunteering here, please do look into it. There’s absolutely no harm in considering it as a real possibility. Don’t look at it as leaving your life behind, but more as a productive, spiritual means to enrich it 🙂

You don’t have to be a yoga teacher! Below are the two programs for volunteers they have right now

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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.

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