Gawad Kalinga Bayani Challenge 2011

Bayani Challenge 1700 Heroes

I heard about Gawad Kalinga Bayani Challenge from a friend of mine from Bacolod through facebook. Entitled, ”Kalinga sa Bayan”, this year’s Bayani Challenge will go beyond the traditional building of houses. There will be various activities, like island greening which includes coastal clean-ups, a school build, a farm build, health build up, and praising pambata, to bring out the heroism in each and everyone.

This year’s challenge sends the statement and sets the example that Filipinos can build a nation by caring for their own hometown through acts of volunteer-ism and ‘bayanihan’ (working together). Let's go!

How to get there: Cebu City to Bantayan Island

From the Mactan-Cebu International Airport:
You can take a cab going to North bus terminal. Estimated fare is 250-350 PHP, depending on traffic. Or you can take it straight to Hagnaya port, but we try for the cheapest travel method, which is by bus. 

Alternatively, if you're familiar with Uber and/or Lyft, then you can download and use the mobile app, Grab, to book your transportation. 

From the North bus terminal: take the Ceres Bus

Bus Fareless 200 PHP
Bus Route: from Cebu to Hagnaya Port
Drop offHagnaya Port, San Remigio, Cebu
Travel time (bus/private car): 3-5 hours

Prices may have changed.

From Hagnaya Port: Take Super Shuttle Ferry or Island Shipping

Boat Fare: less than 200 PHP
Terminal fee: less than 20 PHP
Boat Route: Hagnaya Port to Sante Fe Port

From Sante Fe Port, Bantayan Island:

Head to the Tourism office by following the covered walk.
Ecological Fee: less than 40 PHP
Lastly, You can take the tricycle to your resort, Tricycle Fare: less than 30 PHP or you can simply pre-arrange a resort pick up from the Port.

If you're coming from Malapascua Island: Take a paddle boat from Malapascua to Maya Port. 
Boat fare: 30 PHP - 50 PHP 
Drop off: Don Pedro junction in Bogo 
Travel time: 45 minutes - 1 hour
Tricycle Fare (from Don Pedro to Hagnaya Port)100 PHP - 150 PHP
Travel time to Hagnaya Port: 20 minutes - 30 minutes

Power outlets: are commonly type A, with standard voltage 220 V and frequency 60 Hz.  Be sure to bring a universal plug adapter!
Money matters:  We recommend getting your currency exchanged via Western Union (WU) since you'll get a better rate than at the airport.  You can send your travel budget to yourself and pick up the exchanged amount at the local WU.

Suvival Terms 

CR is the term for the toilet
Salamat means "thank you"

Visit cebu event checklist for latest Cebu events and you can submit any Cebu happenings too.

I decided to join this challenge without any hesitation, together with a friend of mine we headed to Bantayan, but on the second day due to some personal reasons. I woke with a big bright smile on my face, the sun was like a pretty sunflower set-up up in the clear blue sky. We arrived at the port area at a very slow pace, the ferry was enjoying riding the waves but it was a good thing we had some more time to relax and get some sleep.

We roam around the area where some of the volunteers are staying. The site was a real immersion, they were staying on tents, some inside classrooms and for some of us who were fortunate were able to rent a whole resort for their group.

I can't really say I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm glad we have a functional room, however on the other hand I felt like a cheater knowing some of the participants were living in tents and classroom - that's a real experience. I wanted and expected these kind of things however, it turned out differently from what I thought.

We came their to join a team of our friend however, almost all of them was not able to be there. She was placed in a group of young participants, from high school to 1st year college students. There was language barrier and that was a big problem, only two of us are from Cebu in the house but that wont stop us from doing what we came for.

This year year there are 1700 volunteers, an amazing number that made me realize that there are still people who are willing to do public service work without pay. A genuine heart can do a lot of things and I'm so glad there are still a thousands of them. Every night there's always an activity: either be a talk from a GK speaker or a live band. During my first night the GK Bayani theme song was taught to us and people sang and danced with glee.

A new and wonderful experience for me and I hoped everyone will be given a chance to join this kind of activities and is willing to do work for other people. We stayed at a Private Resort  just beside Sugar Beach Resort, the Villacastin Resort. Every time I woke up in the morning, I saw this clothes hanging around the resort and even in the cottages, and I wondered why I didn't felt irritated with the mess, instead I loved how their clothes are placed there.

We woke up early in the morning to get ready for our assigned task. I sat around the beach shore and eventually my two friends joined me, then a man approached us with a pail of honey on one hand. They said in order to really know if the honey is real or well-made I guess, it would light up with a lighter, and it did. We were like having a magic show and that was a great start for my day. Going around the riding an Elf is a new experience for me, being inside the truck makes it more interesting to go around the island.

Hang on tight coz' we're going for a ride! While we were enjoying our ride, the staff were talking about getting the paints at the Bantayan Island GK Village. This is where the Home Building teams were assigned - this is what I wanted to do supposedly. They had a signage placed in front before you'd reach the village.

We had to carry some paints from the village to our elf, hand in hand the paints were loaded and unloaded with every one's help. The Madridejos Elementary School was next on the list, and the faculties were really kind to provide us with snacks during our break.

It was almost late in the afternoon and from afar you can really see how the school is changing, it looks very cheerful and the colors were eye candy, I'm sure the kids will love it. A few teachers were even helping to paint their designated rooms. I had a contact with one of them and she asked me about myself and what Gawad Kalinga is really all about. I was stunned, I really don't now that much about Gk. I just said yes when my friend invited me through facebook and that's it. I just know that they do incredible works with their outreach programs.

A lot of people are lazy to wake up so early in the morning and I admit to be one of these people. I signed up and came here in camp for a purpose and with that motivation in mind, it was piece of cake to woke up before the rooster even has the chance to say his prayers. It's also a good thing so I won't have to wait in line. I should bare in mind that there are more than 25 people breathing inside this house, so I exactly on time Dress up and Ready to Paint. We greeted the day with a song and dance to praise the Lord.

The next day..

We walked along the seaside going to the school where all participants gather to talk about the days activities. We started the day with a song and dance with the GK Bayani Song as our beat. We were assigned in School Building, we painted from one school to another.  I didn't get the chance to choose any activity because I came in at the second day, too bad I was expecting to be on Home Building Activity group. It was quite difficult to transfer knowing no one in the group except an acquaintance who invited us.

It was a great challenge to do the task under the heat of the sun. It wasn't really tiring to paint all day but what sucks out the life of you is the heat of the ever brightly, smiling,shinning, center of the universe - the sun, you're perspiring more and we end up getting dehydrated, which is also at risk for heat stroke. We had to rest, freshen up and fuel ourselves with water which we only have a few ounces in hand. The time we allotted for staying in the shade could have been one column painted but we can't help it, the summer sun was too much to bare.

The day ended with a big bright,sunny smile with me, I felt great looking at the wall in front of me. Everyday I see and meet different kinds of people in different schools. They all have curious stares and shy grins, one thing I love to see early in the morning. Through Gawad Kalinga we somehow painted the town red. I want to see how love embraces their hearts and each corner of the classroom be filled with hope.

A few eager students wanted to lend a hand. It was great sight to see a volunteer working hand in hand with students. Volunteers who are willing to file a leave from their work just to be there, asking nothing in return- that's genuine service to other people. To reach out to someone they don't know, to do something significant and has nothing to say but smile.

We finished painting the school before dinnertime which was a relief, I thought the day would never end. I was starving and craving for grilled foods. We found the perfect place to have are delicious dinner, only at the nearest Barbecue stand just q few blocks away from the school ground. We ate like there's no tomorrow, a perfect way to satisfy our appetite. I ordered Grilled Pork Chop,Chicken and Chorizo (Pork Sausage), and of course Cebu's Pride "Puso" (aka Hanging Rice). 

Another great day..

Every day during my Gawad Kalinga Bayani Challenge is always another day full of new experiences and realizations which also meant seeing more smiles and cheers.

Gawad Kalinga was founded by Mr. Antonio Meloto from Bacolod, that's why a lot of participants are from his hometown, that's basically what I know about this organization. A teacher from that school whose also lending a hand for the activity asked a lot of question. She was surprised when I told her we were not paid to do this kind of work and everyone signed up with their own will. She can't imagine how I would want to spend my time and money just to join this activity. I'm really not a helpful person but I want learn how to be useful. We had some time off after painting the school, so we made our way to the beach.

While walking around the beach I saw this child that seemed to be looking for something in the sand. I was curious and I approached him. He told me he was searching for crabs and he smiled to me with his hands widely open, he was like showing off his collections to me- I just love how kids think and smile.

The sunset plus Low tide has a very dramatic effect, and I took out my camera to capture such a beautiful scenery. I saw these men working together to lift the boat, and I thought this is what they called Bayanihan (working together) and what a coincidence that I'm participating right now in Gawad Kalinga that has the same goals and objectives. The main core that makes GK successful. 

Gawad Kalinga Bayani Challenge - Wild and Crazy Day Finale

Every now and then, someone would asked, why join Gawad Kalinga's project? I simply smile. I can't seem to find the right words to express how it feels to do something for someone whom you don't even know. 

After a whole day of painting at the school, we were almost done and the colors are radiating. I can't help but be proud of myself of the great job we've accomplished. After that the group was starving and we ate at Kermits located at B. Rodrigues St. Bantayan Town Proper, Bantayan Island, just a walking distance from the plaza. Every night there's always a gathering in the school grounds, it could either be: a speaker is invited to share or a musical gathering, a cooking contest was also part of the activities.

During our last night it ended with the 6 Cycle Mind Concert. We were in the front row and we can see the band sweating, they were like ice cubes melting at a very fast pace. Everyone was jumping, singing and dancing like crazy people especially during the fire dance performance, people were shouting because of his daring acts. It was fun to see people get wild and crazy after how many days of tiring work.

If you want to know more about the island click here: How to go to Bantayan Island ,Cebu, Philippines

Do you want to come out of your comfort zone and try the extreme sports of skydiving?!

The skydive in Bantayan Island started in 2014. The skydive instructor and owner is Brad Vancina, a certified USPA (United States Parachute Association) Tandem Instructor.

For more details check out my Skydiving experience in Bantayan Island

Have fun and be safe ^__^

Itinerary Reminders:

1. Flight Details
Make sure to write down your booking reference number, be at the airport two hours before your flight, and allocate time for your travel to the airport.

2. Accommodation Details
Write down your hotel/motel/resort/BnB booking number. Contact your place to inform them around when you'll be arriving — it really does help.  Also, ask if your accommodation has any discounted activities.  You'd be surprised!

3a. Transportation
List possible times your bus/train/boat arrives and leaves so you don't miss an activity.  Always give yourself an extra 30-45 minutes in case you get lost, get stuck in traffic, or are looking for parking.  Better early than late.  Of utmost importance: check for the last trip and fares!  So you still have time and money to get back.

3b. Car Rentals
Take note of your pick-up address and time allotted.  Our last car rental told us to bring the car back by a certain time with a certain amount of gas.  Allot money for fuel and parking.

4. Budgeting
Set aside a minimum and maximum spending amount for meals, transportation, entrance fees, activities, souvenirs, and emergencies.  3 meals a day + snacks add up quickly, so keep track!  As well as tips for restaurants and activities.

5. Activities
Call to confirm your booking(s) a day or so beforehand.  Set alarms and/or calendar reminders for things you plan to do (i.e- bungee-jumping, river-rafting, or even city/food tours).

Do you want more adventure?
If you still have one more day to spare why not go Skydiving experience in Bantayan Island.

Where am I going next?
My next adventure is to check out a UNESCO World Heritage, The Chocolate Hills of Bohol.

No comments

Post a Comment