Nov 5, 2013

Voluntourism For Education

A recognized United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization heritage site, the Banaue Rice Terraces is truly a reflection of the Philippine’s culture and prehistoric means of living. Up to this day, people residing near this man-made wonder depend on tourism as their main source of income.
In an effort to promote education by capitalizing on the richness of our country’s wonders such as this, Acts of Hope for the Nation (AHON) Foundation, in partnership with Trail Adventours, organized a voluntourism trip to Banaue, Ifugao.
Last October 26, 18 “voluntourists” from different walks of life travelled for almost 12 hours to join the AHON Banaue Trip. With more than 10 boxes of combined new and donated books, the participants worked together in setting up the newly refurbished library of  Banaue Central School. The book set up was followed by an inauguration attended by the community stakeholders including the school administrators, parents, teachers, the Department of Education District Supervisor, and the voluntourists wherein each was given the opportunity to speak. Mrs. Rosemarie Gulgulway, the principal, expressed her gladness in grabbing the opportunity to be a partner school. She was proud that she and the PTA did their best in improving their library.

Jasmine Frolick, a Canadian citizen, gave the word on behalf of the voluntourists. She said she was a considered illiterate when she was young and her teacher told her that she would not be able to read, which is in contrary to what she is now. She was able to in graduate from college, has a master’s degree, and is now travelling the world.
Joseph Reyes, the Senior Trail Adventours Guide, also shared that when he was young, he read books because they enriched his imagination and helped him travel to different places. He advised the students to always go to the library so they can do the same.
The AHON Program Officer, Katrin Caling, pointed out in her speech that it is important for the students to use the books as much as they possible for them to not only learn, not only travel to places, but to discover more about themselves as well. Some of them might not be good in academics but with the help of the books, hopefully, they can start to assess their strengths and consider other fields that might be of their interest.

After the inauguration, a sumptuous lunch of rice freshly harvested from the community’s rice terraces, chicken, and vegetables was served to the whole team. The group then spent the afternoon walking along the famous Banaue Rice Terraces and travelled to Batad to stay there for the night. The following morning, they trekked for more than half an hour to get to a spot known for its ice-cold water, the Tappiyah Falls. The remaining of the day was allotted for the rice wine and demos, and a trip to the local area.
The 17 hour drive was indeed worth it after the students start reading the books aloud to the voluntourists, and knowing that from that day, the 885 students of Banaue Central School will be excited to visit their resource centre more often.

AHON Foundation, the corporate citizenship arm of Filway Marketing, Inc. has been donating half a million pesos worth of brand new and high quality Time Life Books to public elementary schools since 2006. This is with the hope of raising the literacy rates in the country and tapping the potential of the 90% of Filipino children in the country studying public schools. Today, AHON has 86 partner schools, with more than 220, 000 student beneficiaries, and 40 trained librarians. This year, AHON aims to inaugurate 6 more libraries.

To apply as a partner school, to donate or sponsor a library, and to partner with AHON, visit
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