#trek10for10 Nagtipunan

12:36 AM Voluntourism

#trek10for10 Nagtipunan

Third time really is a charm. After two attempts to celebrate TRails to Empower Kid’s 10th anniversary with the kids of Nagtipunan, Quirino, we finally succeeded!

The first time around, there was a reported encounter between government forces and rebels near the site of our outreach, so we had to postpone.

The second time, Typhoon Salome happened. Continuous rains brought flooding and landslides to the region, which made most of the roads totally impassable. Again, for the safety of our volunteers, we decided not to push through.

The third time, though, everything was just awesome!

Nagtipunan is the 8th stop of TREK or Trails to Empower Kids’ anniversary program called #trek10for10 (ten communities in celebration of its 10 years). Beneficiaries are the students of Tamsi Elementary School and Kakidugen Primary School, which TREK first visited in 2012.

We had to make some adjustments on the activity, though.  Due to safety concerns, we didn't hike the mountains to reach the schools.  Instead, we conducted the program near the jump-off point, in one of Nagtipunan’s tourist attractions - the Diamond Cave. 



Diamond Cave, for that day, became a witness to the many joys of sharing, as TREK volunteers and kids bonded over art, games, and gift giving.  

The site is beautiful and is perfect for our activity. It has an open central area that is shared by lush trees, with picnic huts all around.  It is  is bounded by the mountains on one side, which has the cave entrance and a river on the other.  It is one of those places good for “hayahay,” or relaxation, but we had much better plans.



As early as 9AM, everyone was already there. Everyone was tired from the traveling (us from more than 8 hours of land travel and the kids from at least three hours of trekking), but we are filled with excitement.  

Maestro Diego, the head teacher of Tamsi Elementary School who we first met in 2012, was all smiles when he welcomed us.  Our expedition leaders, Ponga and Doc Jo, handed him a violet jacket, the same color we wore when we first trekked to Tamsi, printed with the logo of TREK.    


Maestro Diego has been teaching since 2005 in Tamsi Elementary School, a school he helped establish. That’s 12 years of service to this Ilongot (an ethnic tribe) community, away from his hometown and from all the comforts people in the lowlands enjoy. Talk about passion! 

We started to get to know the kids a little by doing artworks with them while they had their refreshments. Some of the parents helped, and it was heartwarming to see them bond over this simple activity. 



When they were done, we gathered them for a few games. The teachers from both schools, Tamsi Elementary School and Kakidugen Primary School, helped us in facilitating the games. We had group games and individual games and we made sure every kid got a prize.

 

Seeing how the kids reacted to the part of the program where they had to choose the toy they will bring home as prizes was priceless.   



After the awarding of prizes, we decided to feed them lunch.  Our friends from Nagtipunan helped us prepare and serve a simple lunch of nilaga (pork broth with vegetables) and pork afritada (pork sauteed with potatoes). 

We handed over our gifts to the kids after lunch. We made sure everyone gets a new backpack filled with school supplies, hygiene kits, art sets, toys, and solar lamps, including those who had to stay behind in the mountains due to their daily work chores.




We capped off the day’s activities with a simple dental health activity - toothbrushing and application of fluoride.  We finished around 3PM. 

When the kids started trekking back to their homes, we decided to explore Diamond Cave. 



The rest of the weekend was spent going around some of Nagtipunan’s tourist attractions like Bimapor, Siitan River, and Junuan Falls. 


Voluntourism at its finest!

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