REACH 3: A Sharing of Company and Culture

Written by Aaron Medina and Erika Ortiz. Edited by Chelsea Domingo, Denise Joaquin, Matthew Yuching.

Photo Header by Bryce Ching.

Last March 2, 2019, Ateneo Celadon embarked on its third Responding to Encourage Action towards Care and Hope (REACH) program for the school year. The volunteers of the program prepared different sets of activities for both the kids and the nanays of the community. They held fun games for the children, while a cooking demonstration showed the nanays how to make traditional Chinese dumplings.

Held in Pinag-Isang Palad Community near Commonwealth Avenue, the program followed the theme The Silk Road — a route in Ancient China that merchants would take to exchange goods while warriors protect them from thieves. In this community, the parents serve as the “merchants” as they concentrate on their livelihoods, and the children serve as the “warriors” protecting their families as the program imparts important values like solidarity and love.

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Hosted by Joshe Tiu (4 BS MGT) and Sophia Calderon (4 BS LM), the program for the kids started with a modified version of “The Boat is Sinking”. The kids, in groups of around 5, assigned themselves certain roles in a family (ex: father, mother). They then had to work together to “rescue” the person whose role the hosts called out, by carrying him off the ground.

 Other games the kids enjoyed included a rubber band relay and a water relay, wherein the kids, and even the student volunteers, got splashed at with water. The children also showed their artistic sides through a creative arts and crafts activity.

The nanays of the community, meanwhile, enjoyed the best of Chinese-Filipino cuisine by tasting delicious fresh dumplings, handmade and cooked on the spot by Celadon volunteers. The nanays would then be able to use what they learned for home cooking and for their sari-sari stores.

In fact, some in the community still use an equally delicious siomai recipe taught to them during previous visits. This serves as a very strong testament to the success of REACH in the sharing of the Chinese-Filipino culture to the community.

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According to resident Marilu Jakosalem, the community partnered up with Gawad Kalinga (GK) around 2012. Some 94 families live in the area. A number of residents, like her, come from different places around the country; she comes from Bohol and speaks Cebuano fluently, although she mentions that they no longer use the language at home.

A culture of pagbibigayan (mutual sharing) reigns in the community, says Marilu. When someone gets sick, for example, the residents help each other in bringing the person to the hospital. A lack of ulam also doesn’t pose much of a problem as they would eat in each other’s houses and share food. Marilu says she feels “gladdened” because the Celadon volunteers know how to reach out to other people.

At the end of the day, the volunteers and the community embraced the solidarity, acceptance, and family values that the program wanted to impart through the fun and thrilling activities.

While the volunteers shared companionship and learnings, the community offered something just as valuable to the volunteers: the joy of seeing them happy and fulfilled.

This event wouldn’t have been possible without the following sponsors: CocoLine, Mr. Gulaman, Doughnut, Head & Shoulders, Trampoline Park, Rackey Pop, Chinatown TV, and Salt Water.

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