TREK Subic Town 2: Loving the kids of Sitio Gala

May 04, 2016 Voluntourism

Among the numerous places close to my heart, the Aeta Resettlement Site of the Foundation of Our Lady of Peace Missions stands out.

Situated at Sitio Gala, Barangay Sacatihan, Subic Town, Zambales, this site is not just a sanctuary for the Aeta community displaced by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo but a beacon of hope and support. Sister Eva Maamo, the visionary founder, poured tremendous care into creating this resettlement site, prioritizing the Aetas’ health, education, livelihood, and spirituality. During my first visit, I was deeply moved by the evident impact of Sister Eva’s compassion on the community.

This resettlement site isn't only a home for the Aetas but is also a venue for seminars, training, outreach programs, and team-building activities. The facilities include a function hall with a mini sound and projection system, a dining hall accommodating around 50 people, a fully-functional kitchen, dormitory rooms for 40 people, and two regular air-conditioned rooms.

It was not our group, Trails to Empower Kids or TREK's first time in this place. In 2009, during the onslaught of Typhoon Ondoy, while Manila faced its wrath, our group found solace in the Aeta resettlement site.

Subsequent day trips to the site only strengthened my connection, and when an opportunity arose, I eagerly invited TREK to return. 

We needed a venue for a group meeting to finalize our legal entity status, having recently registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This gathering became an opportunity to bond with the Aeta children through workshops, storytelling sessions, games, gift-giving, and, of course, sharing meals.

During our visit, various workshops added vibrancy to the day. 

Third Marquez led an art workshop, where children learned the basics of color mixing, and their artworks adorned Luntian Bags. Lira Avedillo from the HUG Project taught Aetas how to make handmade teddy bears. Marina Bulaong, also from Luntian Bags, engaged both kids and moms in crafting dreamcatchers.

Other volunteers, not engaged in workshops, attended a Basic Mountaineering Course. 

The day was filled with joy, learning, and good food. The foundation ensured stomachs were full.

We were fortunate to have Sister Eva Maamo personally welcome us, sharing brief but inspiring remarks about her work not only at the Aeta resettlement site but also with Barefoot Doctors and a charity hospital in Paranaque.

TREK Volunteers with Sister Eva

Election of Officers

Beyond the outreach and workshops, we had another vital agenda in Subic Town: electing our officers. 

With the formalization of TREK and generous support from PSBank, our biggest monetary donor, the group underwent a transformation. Ailene Mae, our most active volunteer, emerged as the President, along with dedicated volunteers Ujin, Velle, Maya, and Joseph taking up other key positions.

This marked a new chapter for TREK, setting the stage for the group’s 10th-anniversary celebration. The journey continues, fueled by love, purpose, and the enduring spirit of giving back.

Other Good Travels


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Kelly! I am Jeane Louise, a travel blogger too and a newbie in the mountaineering scene too. Reading this post made me reminisce on an outreach I joined in Igtuba, Iloilo for the Ati. IT was heartwarming and saddening at the same time to see the Ati struggle for their right to good education and for survival. Hope to meet you in one of my travels in Luzon din. :)

    Here is my blog post for the outreach we did in Iloilo last March after the 38th MFPI Annual National Congress in Antique. :)

    See you in the future! :)

    1. Thanks! I planned on joining that congress but changed my mind last minute. Do you want to share your experience at