Feeders Project: Balik Eskwela 2015

AREP Dumagat Settlement
I was very lucky to be part again of the Feeders Balik-Eskwela Outreach Program.  This time, we went to AREP Dumagat Settlement in Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan. Because it was inside the vicinity of the National Power Corporation Compound, security and permit are necessary. You can’t just go there and visit. It was our officemate Erma who lives near the area arranged everything for the group. I really do admire her for being so active leading a charity group like this.

Stop over to secure passes and quick refreshment
We're almost there, securing id's first
On our way is such beauty
This is still on our way to the settlement area
I tag Hal and Yana along to this activity. I want my niece Yana to be exposed in a project like this to be aware and to be able to learn how to socialize and engage helping others. As we were getting near the vicinity, the view along really catches our attention. Angat Dam is a water reservoir hydroelectric dam. It supplies the Manila Metropolitan Water and is part of the the Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water system. It was surrounded by greens and nestled in the southern part of the vast Sierra Madre Mountain range. Only the native Dumagats are allowed to reside and roam around in these protected forested mountains.

Blessed with this kind of view
We are here
The green building is the school of the Dumagat
Learning Center
As we arrived to the location, we saw lots of children patiently waiting for us already. We did not expect that they will be there that early. Our plan was to cook our brunch first since we’re all hungry from the long drive while preparing the distribution of the supplies. Then after our brunch, some of us will cook the food for them during the program. However, we didn’t expect that they will gather that early that’s why eating first while letting them wait for us is not an option. So here’s what happened, we still did prepare our brunch and let them eat first. Luckily we brought plenty of rice and individual “baon”. Since we were not prepared having plates for two meals for them, we had the boodle fight style of eating. It was a bit chaotic but at least we had to let them eat as well. Then we started our small games and distribution of school supplies. We also had some clothes to distribute. After that, we finally allocated the portioned meal for everybody, this time all of them got their own plates.

It's a bit chaotic but at least they had both lunch and mirienda
Having fun I guess :)
It's time for some games
Luckily, we have Jessie to cheer them up

Now is mirienda time

We get their names in advance and provide bags and school supplies depending on their grade levels
We also brought other essentials
Distributed to every kids
It was tiring but fun. I guess they also had a good time. There were times that we noticed some were trying to cheat by removing their stamp and falling in line again. It was a bit frustrating. Maybe they just wanted more because they have none that’s why they are taking all the opportunities they’ve got. That saddened me a lot. It was late afternoon that we bid goodbye to them.

I pray in silence that despite their lack of needs they will be able to succeed, fulfill their dreams and still be happy and thankful in life that they currently have. It was such an experience especially for my niece Yana who is new to this activity.

Staycation: Azure Urban Resort Residences

Welcome to Paris Beach Club :)
This is a very late post. Last summer, we planned on making Yana’s vacation here in Muntinlupa memorable and different. I already tag her along on our feeding program so we wanted her to enjoy summer by of course, swimming! However, we are a bit short of time and budget for out of town. It was really hard to decide on where to go. Luckily we have a friend who owns a unit in Azure Urban Resort Residences and she let us stay for a very affordable rate. We immediately packed our things and just a short drive; we’re able to go to the beach.

Pathway to the beach area
Spacious pool with waves :)
Because it's a beach - as per Paris! haha
It’s a residential project designed by Paris Hilton. What makes it different is that it has its very own man-made beach and a beach club. Other amenities include a lap pool, stylist high ceiling lobby, function rooms, kids play room, indoor and outdoor restaurant, mini theatre, game room and Fitness Gym. It consists of 9 buildings arranged around the urban beach.

They have life guards too. 
This is what I like, it is more beautiful at night. 
We explored the amenities and the place first before swimming. We showed them the letter from the unit owner before they allowed us to swim. We spent most of our time in the main pool because of the pool waves that excites Yana a lot. My Mother was a bit afraid going deep so she just stayed most of the time on the shallow part.

Childlike :) 
In huge Rattan lounge chairs
This is for the kids but adults also like it. 
Slides for fun

Before we left, we checked the roof top for a view of the city.

Such a good view from the top
I guess that's SM Bicutan on the right
That's a wow for me :) 
Yana had fun! Good job to both of us!

Overall, it was indeed a very worthwhile and ‘sulit’ trip. If you’re a fan of condo living, this is definitely a place to check out.

The AZURE Urban Resort Residences is located along South Express Way, Bicutan Parañaque City. Just several minutes away from our place.

Cambodia: The Famous Temples and the Angkor Wat

It was a dream come true!
As I started planning going on a SEA trip, I’ve always wanted to visit Cambodia. Of course, it was the famous Angkor Wat is what I really wanted to visit the most. The place captivates me because of its richness in culture, art, story and history. Angkor Wat is just part of the ancient Angkorian capital cities of the Khmer Empire which was built around 9th-13th century AD. The photos below were randomly taken at different parts of Khmer temples. One day is actually not enough to explore it.

Magnificent view
You should get a Tuk-Tuk ride going there
The crowds are getting bigger
It was so huge that we really cannot maximize our time exploring the temples. It was certainly the largest religious monument in the world. It was surreal. Even though there are hundreds of tourist flocked waiting for sunrise, I can’t help myself to get too emotional. At last I am here. Though it was not very apparent to each faces of the people gathered around the temple, I know that we all shiver upon seeing the magnificent creation when the sun was slowly rising. It just shows how exceptional the civilization hundreds of years ago. The architectural, archaeological, religious and symbolic values of each carvings images and the temples itself were really remarkable. 

Could be a long walk but nobody seems to mind
From the top is another view
Random shots of the temples everywhere
It was located in the Northern province of Siem Reap . From the 9th to 15th century, it was once the Khmer Empire. It was listed and being protected by UNESCO as it was one of the most important archeological sites in South-East Asia. It was also into restoration as you’ll see at some parts of the area.

Can't remember but this is from the other side

Tourists were everywhere. Aside from this, you’ll be able to see the other side of Cambodia which others may not be able to see. Diving deeply on Khmers history, most of the ancestors of the locals here had shed blood and suffered from poverty and political instability.

This is where we spent the sunset
And when the nature becomes part of it
Distinct carvings that will make you think twice how they did it
It could be made by someone from another world
Large stone carvings
Too huge to imagine
Taken somewhere on the side 
Today, you’ll see the optimism to the people even in the deprived and remote areas in the province. It was evident that they once struggled and now positively climbing their way up improving their economy. Though at some areas, poverty, inefficiency and corruption are still apparent.

Cambodian students showing off their culture by their presentation
Just on the other side of the temples, the vendors selling scarfs, silks, souvenirs and t-shirts really clustered at you and almost begging to buy even at least an item to them bargaining to the lowest price you could imagine just to compete with other sellers. Initially they will give you high price, when you haggle, they will give you a very way below the market rate maybe just for them to liquidate their items.

Just some of souvenirs from Cambodia
We purchase items that are just enough within our budget for souvenirs. We left leaving a mark on our faces that just like in the Philippines, embracing the history we have, we both struggle to have a better economy.

The best sunrise of my life
Grateful, overwhelmed, mesmerized

To know more about the Siem Reap, Angkor Wat and other Temples. You can refer to this link. To support tourism of Cambodia's you can also check this

It's indeed a place of peace, power and stories. 
A strange city that was lost in the jungle.