Kindling Hope: Hiyas ng Pag-Asa’s Inspiring Journey in Nurturing Bicol’s Adopted Schools and Communities

By Alexandra Cataniag | Posted on October 21, 2023

In the midst of the Bicol community, where the ocean’s gentle waves serenade the coastlines and the mountains share stories of enduring strength, “Hiyas ng Pag-Asa” continues its subtle revolution aimed at reigniting their hopes — their awareness, knowledge of the law, and the practical skills that can be applied in their daily lives in their community. Nestled in the scenic heart of Bicol, where vibrant green landscapes meet the azure sea, unfolds a story of optimism, tenacity, and the indomitable spirit of every community member. Collaboratively, the Rotary Club of Hiyas ng Manila, along with the Rotaract Club of Adamson University and the Rotaract Club of Manila Zobel, strives to create a brighter future for underprivileged schools and communities in Bicol. Together, prepare to be entranced by this truly inspirational journey as we redefine the essence of making a difference and what it truly signifies to kindle the flames of hope within others — within them.

Beneath the breathtaking natural beauty that graces the Bicol province, there exists an untold narrative of neglect, often unnoticed and overshadowed by poverty, limited resources, and the absence of access to quality education that cast a daunting pall over the schools and communities of Bicol. However, in the face of this formidable adversity, the “Hiyas ng Pag-Asa” project has emerged as a shining hope — embracing the principles of “Brigada Eskwela” with the unwavering determination of Rotaract communities involved in this collaboration. They understood that their mission last August would be far from easy, but their commitment to fostering change burned brighter than ever.

The supplies were donated to the school and packed with care by our volunteers at the Rotaract Club of Adamson University.

In a world brimming with diverse stories, there’s something profoundly heartwarming about encountering tales of compassion, action, and transformation. Cast your mind back to  August 11, 2023, when our project, “En Visage 2: Read and Live Stories,” lit up the hearts of people by embodying the spirit of community and the transformative power of education at San Vicente Elementary School in Ligao, Albay.

This noble endeavor, led by the Rotaract Club of Adamson University and spearheaded by the dedicated HCP Grizel Dela Cruz and IPP Charlyn Lao, goes beyond a noble project. For the Rotaract club of Adamson University, this project was not merely a project; it stood as a beacon of hope, illuminating the lives of young students with the remarkable impact of a simple, heartfelt gesture. It’s a story that resonates with the hearts of youth, demonstrating that even small actions possess the potential to ignite significant change. This impact is not limited to the Province of Albay but extends to the hearts of young students worldwide who seek assistance and inspiration.

We, the Rotaract Club of Adamson University, extend wholehearted appreciation to our co-host clubs, who joined hands, shared minds, and connected hearts throughout “En Visage 2: Read and Live Stories.” Together, we’ve made a remarkable impact, aiding 105 young students, and igniting a bright beacon of hope for their future.

HCP Grizel Lorenz Ann Dela Cruz and IPP Charlyn Lao stand proudly for the participation and representation of their constituting the Brigada Eskwela 2023.

Our journey began on the previous evening when members of the Rotary communities gathered at 9 PM, equipped with supplies, resources, and, most importantly, a fervent commitment to their mission of service for Bicol, Legazpi. Our project, known as “Hiyas ng Pag-Asa,” was an ambitious endeavor with the goal of bringing hope and opportunities to adopted schools and communities in Bicol, particularly in Legazpi. Fueled by unwavering determination to provide educational support, promote wellness, ensure hygiene, and raise awareness in the Bicol, Legazpi community, the Rotary community embarked on a transformative journey that would profoundly impact the lives of every individual and offer a brighter future.

As the first light of dawn bathed Bicol, Legazpi, with the majestic Mayon Volcano standing sentinel, greeting them with open arms — the Rotary Club of Hiyas ng Manila, accompanied by the Rotaract Club of Adamson University and the Rotaract Club of Manila Zobel, arrived with resolute spirits and unshakable resolve to assist those in need.

The Rotary communities in Legazpi kicked off their day with the scent of freshly brewed coffee and the clinking of breakfast dishes. Their arrival, marked by a hearty breakfast, provided them with a moment of camaraderie, an opportunity to rejuvenate their spirits. Amidst laughter and shared stories around the breakfast table, they strengthened their bonds of friendship and their shared sense of purpose, their conversation resonating with their profound dedication to the service that had brought them together in this very place.

After a well-deserved break, the Rotary communities sprang into action. The room transformed into a bustling hub of activity as volunteers and Rotary members gathered to repack and prepare the resources destined for the Bicol, Legazpi community — Educational materials, essential supplies, and items of hope were carefully sorted, meticulously organized, and packed with an abundance of love and care.

The backpack supplies that have been donated to the students. Contributing to education begins with providing the proper resources.

On a memorable day, August 11, 2023, in the heart of Polangui General Comprehensive High School, our Rotary community came together to create an impactful educational event. Attorney Joffee Atenta’s visit was more than just a guest appearance — It was a catalyst for change, with a mission to raise awareness among Polangui’s youth about ‘R.A 11313: Safe Spaces Act (Bawal Bastos Law)’ and inspire them to actively create safe environments within their community. Attorney Joffee Atenta shared her deep insights into this law, emphasizing its significance in educating young minds about their rights and responsibilities in addressing Gender-Based Sexual Harassment (GBSH).

But our journey didn’t end there. In the vibrant heart of the community, Rotarian Juvy Mayrena spearheaded an initiative that sought to bridge connections between parents, students, and teachers while shining a light on mental health. Her seminar, ‘Hindi Ka Nag-iisa,’ held at Polangui High School on that same day, aimed to remind everyone that no one walks the path of mental health alone. Together, they could build a brighter future where mental health is prioritized and supported. And then, there was PDG Karen Tamayo, an advocate for a sustainable world where agriculture and environmental conservation go hand in hand. She introduced hydroponics farming, a groundbreaking technique that cultivates plants without soil, using water-based nutrients instead. Every discarded bottle found a new purpose as a valuable resource for seedling propagation.

Education was at the core of our mission. The Rotaract Club of Manila Zobel generously provided school supplies for students and essential office materials for teachers, ensuring an environment primed for success. The Rotaract Club of Adamson University enriched dedicated teachers with reading materials and encyclopedias, fostering a culture of continuous learning. In Rotary’s embrace, 35 students, 35 parents, and 35 school teachers discovered they were part of something larger — a network of compassion and commitment.

In OAS, nestled within the lush landscapes of the Bicol region, there exist hidden pockets of rural areas facing health-related challenges that often remain shrouded in silence amidst the bustling city-world. As the sun sets over these serene landscapes, a stark reality emerges: limited access to healthcare facilities and resources leaves many residents, both young and old, vulnerable to preventable health issues. However, as the day wanes and shadows lengthen, a new dawn of hope rises — The Rotary community steps in as a beacon of light and hope, dedicated to improving a simple yet vital aspect of human health: enhancing well-being by promoting healthier, more active lifestyles through the distribution of life-boosting multivitamins and Paracetamols for kids and Barangay Officials in OAS Barangay Halli.

HCP Grizel assisting in the management of donations.

In the very heart of Rotary’s tightly-knit community, a tale of their compassion and generosity still unfolds — a tale that transcends the mere act of filling empty stomachs to encompass the far-reaching mission of warming the hearts and uplifting the souls of its residents. This inspiring journey unfurls as the dedicated members of the Rotaract Club of Adamson University, led by the indefatigable Rotarian Badeth, embark on a poignant mission — a mission to grace the residents of OAS Barangay Halli in Bicol with not just nourishment but radiant smiles.

With every meal served, joy permeates the air, and the people of OAS Barangay Halli find themselves not just happier, but also fortified with newfound resilience in the face of life’s adversities. Amidst the backdrop of the residents’ radiant smiles, one can discern a powerful testament to Rotary’s enduring commitment to making their world a better place. With their smiles, once tired and weary, now beam with hope, illuminating the path to a brighter, more compassionate world — a world brimming with unwavering optimism and the transformative magic of hope.

As the final chapter of this heart-warming narrative unfolds in the Bicol region, the collective effort of the Rotary community, in their pursuit of the “Hiyas ng Pag-asa” project, reveals a story far grander than the sum of its parts. The Rotary mission extends beyond the mere provision of goods; it is a quest to reignite the residents’ flames of hope, to fortify the spirits of resilience, and to illuminate a path toward a brighter future for their community.

In Polangui General Comprehensive High School, where 35 students, 35 educators, and 35 parents were touched by Rotary’s benevolence, and in OAS Barangay Halli, where 100 children and 100 adults found solace in Rotary’s embrace, the impact was profound. The Rotary legacy, rooted in the values of service and compassion, shines brightly in the Bicol region as of August 2023, with the implementation of the “Hiyas ng Pag-asa” project. It leaves an indelible, heartwarming mark on these communities, rekindling a spirit of unity and hope that will continue to flourish.

This journey is a testament to the enduring power of the Rotary communities — Rotary Club of Hiyas ng Manila along with Rotaract Club of Adamson University, and Rotaract Club of Manila Zobel — a mission that transcends boundaries and challenges, bringing warmth and light to the lives it touches. As the final journey pages turn, the legacy of the “Hiyas ng Pag-asa” Rotary project will live on, casting its radiant glow upon communities like OAS Barangay Halli and Polangui General Comprehensive High School, where the spirit of our community will continue to thrive, lighting the way for brighter tomorrows.

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