Philippines Service & Leadership Experience 2014-15

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21 students and 2 teachers from the TCDSB will be giving up their Christmas vacation to serve the poor in Manila, Philippines.  Follow our travels by clicking the links below.  Pictures and videos will be posted daily so check back often.  Please read the comments of each participant and respond by posting your own comments (at the end of each post).

Our team at Toronto Pearson Airport

Our team at Toronto Pearson Airport

Thanks for all your support!

List of Post:
Who’s on #TeamPH2K14?
Day 1 & 2  – Flying to the Philippines
Day 3 – Tagaytay Adventure
Day 4 – Part 1 – St. Martin de Porres Orphanage
Day 4 – Part 2 – Tondo market and Smokey Mountain Relocation
Day 5 – Manila City Tour and AVANAI
Day 6 – Makati Tour and NYE
Day 7 – San Mateo
Day 8 – 3 Village Tour
Day 9 – Building in Tala
Day 10 – 2nd Day Building in Tala
Day 11 – 3rd Day Building in Tala & MOA

To be posted – We lost internet connection at the hotel :(
Day 10 – Scavenger Hunt
Day 12 – Part 1 – 4th Day Building in Tala
Day 12 – Part 2 – Tala Celebration
Day 13 – Departing for Toronto
Bonus – Differences between PH and CA
Bonus – #TeamPH2K14 music video

Stay Tuned for upcoming post.

 

Day 12 – Part 1 – Last Day of Build (Day Time)

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Our last bus ride to the build site.  As usual we start with a prayer.

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We are welcomed by beautiful children

 

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They help hand out our name tags

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Before we start our last build session, Mike buys ice cream for the whole community (kids and adults) as well as all of the student leaders

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Thanks Mike!

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It cost 1600 pesos for ALL the ice cream in the entire cart – everyone lines up to get some

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That’s $42 for a whole cart of ice cream!

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There are 2 flavors, ube (purple yam) and keso (cheese).

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We make sure to hand out ice cream to the elders and kids first before serving ourselves

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Ice cream and story telling – perfect combination

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A truck arrives with rocks and sand

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Like everything else, unloading the truck has to be done by hand

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“Don’t worry, we’re here to help out”

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We have a big party tonight so we need to sort out the gifts we will be giving

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While some of us sort gifts, there’s a group of us unloading sand and gravel from the truck

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Starts off easy until the sun and fatigue kick in

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Station 3 is arts and crafts with the kids

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Station 4 is digging! Hardest job of all!

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Digging is much easier when we have a pro like Aldrin to help us

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We need to remove all of this debris before we can continue our foundation trench

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Sometimes using your hands is faster then using the shovel

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Station 5 is painting A.K.A save your energy because you’ll be digging next!

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I’ll be ready to dig, bring it on!

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Station 6 – cutting rebar

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Rule of thumb, measure twice, cut once!

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Jillian is in mid-air so she can get enough momentum/force to cut the rebar

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Job well done!

 

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Since Mike bought the whole cart of ice cream, kids are able to go up for seconds and even thirds as we work.

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Just enough time to have some ice cream before going back to school. Look at those awesome uniforms.

 

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Station 7: Making brooms out of palm leaves (another job that allows us to save our energy before we hit the dig site)

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The girls organizing the gifts making sure everything is divided evenly. Props to Jermin Bates for donating all of these work gloves we will be leaving with 3 communities.

 

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Thanks to the Redmond Me to We club for doing a toothbrush and toothpaste drive

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And thank you to all the other individuals who donated clothes, toys, canned goods and other miscellaneous items.

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After 2 rotations (1.5 hours), we finally empty the truck.

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Gravel and sand is ready to be mixed with concrete

 

 

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A great place to take a photo

 

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Look how much sand we were able to empty from the truck

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Time for a group shot before lunch

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Grace before meals

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Time to chow down. Our last lunch in Tala :(

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We will definitely miss this food when we go back to Toronto

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Before we get back to work, there’s some time to play some basketball!

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Mitch goes up for the jam!

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Mitch also shows his outside game (look at all that sand we emptied from the truck in the background).

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You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than a whole year of conversation (Plato) – in this case, basketball

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Adrian dominates with his height – the tallest guy in Tala

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Leah aka “Low Key” shows her mad defence

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“There’s no where to go.”

 

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Fade-a-way jump shot by Marc

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While some of us play basketball, some of us bond with the kids through “limbo”

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Melissa buys some cotton candy

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“I’ll miss you boy”

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We can’t believe we moved all  of  these rocks

 

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“Wanna play tag?”

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“So much fun, who needs TV?”

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Not into basketball, tag, or playing in sand…..there’s always karaoke!

 

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Dancing and karaoke go hand-in-hand

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Did you know the karaoke machine was created in the Philippines?

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Everyone gets involved

 

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This cutie might make it into Mimi’s luggage :)

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We create a game in the sand

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Objective: get a rock into the cup

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If you get a rock in the cup, you’ll receive a prize.

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Lots of prizes (candy) to go around

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Random games of “Stella” seem to break out through out the day, every day :)

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No football…….just find a coconut

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Who needs wifi when you have some sand and some imagination

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Brings a whole new meaning to “fun in the sun”

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Thi is what our life in Tala looks like…..it’s going to be hard to leave

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We have learned so much from these kids

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We all receive origami hearts that say “Thank You”. So sweet.

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We pack one luggage with tools to leave in Tala including a powered circular saw

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The suit case will also contain toothbrushes, toothpaste, clothing, and toys.

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We also pack a bag of donations for Avanai, our 2011-12 build site

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This bag is for AKC, last year’s build site

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Dexter gets a surprise from Julie and Tito Bernie

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A new pair of shoes!

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We give Rapunzel (our foreman) a gift for helping lead us.

 

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Tonight we’re having a party. The community said they have some special games planned for us.

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We don’t know what we’re getting into, but it looks like fun!

It’s our last day at the build site and we’re totally exhausted. We can’t imagine another day of building. Kudos to all the community members who will be continuing the build after we leave for months to come. We never realized how much hard work it would be.

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Looking back at pics from DAY 1 make us proud of what we accomplished. This is our dig site before we started. String shows where trenches need to be built.

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This is the dig site now after all our hard work. Foundation will be poured into these trenches. Can you see how many units we dug out?

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The answer is 6. Here’s the same pic showing the footprint of each unit.

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Here’s a closer look at unit 6. Cinder blocks will be placed in the trenches after concrete is poured. Post will placed in each corner.

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This shows you the length of 2 units. You can see where 3 post will be set. Each post is connected by a trench where cinder blocks will be laid.

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Look at all the rebar we made into beams. These will serve as reinforcement for concrete pillars.

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We also painted the interiors of these 2 rows of houses.

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Our time building is officially over and we’re totally exhausted. Totally can’t imagine how would feel like to build every day for 12 months.

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Now that building is done, we take the time to  sign our safety helmets.

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All the kids are wondering what we are doing. A lot of them skipped school today because they knew it was our last day at Tala.

Here’s the team. #TeamPH2k14

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Axile “Official Translator” Gerona – Bishop Marrocco Thomas Merton – Grade 12

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Emily “The Wise One” Palaganas – Madonna – Grade 12

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Mimi “Kids’ Fav” Tran – Bishop Allen – Grade 12

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Geerthan “The Tipper” Ranjhan – Jean Vanier – Grade 12 – aka Basketball MVP – (and so many other nicknames)

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Nicole “Perma-Smile” De Souza – Mary Ward – Grade 12

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Dana “The Astronaut’s Wife” Salvador – St. Joseph’s College – Grade 12

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Christine “Our Baby” Dometita – Mary Ward – Grade 9 – aka always making funny faces

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Dyan “Product of Mama G” Uy – Jean Vanier – Grade 12 – aka Geerthan’s side kick

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Tina “Lost my shoe in the clay” Ramgeet – Father John Redmond – Grade 12 – aka Libby’s caretaker

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Libby “Rapunzel” Villa – Father John Redmond – Grade 12 – aka Brave aka best dishwasher on the team

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Marc “The Music Teacher” Viado – Seneca College – aka Hardcore Duck Duck Goose Player

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Jermin “Play the song and I know all the words” Bates – Father John Redmond – Grade 10

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Mitchell “I’m in every picture” Pimenta – Brebeuf – Grade 12

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Kaisha “needs longer shorts” Ayienga – Father John Redmond – Grade 11

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Melissa “Digging Queen” Mathieu – Mary Ward – Grade 12

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Leah “Low Key” Valenzuela – St. Joseph’s College – Grade 12

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Jillian “Where’s number 16″ Maniquis – Maddona – Grade 12

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John “Avoid Physical Work” Samson – Don Bosco – Grade 12

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Adrian “Let me fix my hair” Durlej – Don Bosco – Grade 12 aka Watch out for the paparazzi

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Chloe and Faith – how come we didn’t get a picture of you!!! At least your hardhat is here :)

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There’s Chloe…..and if you look closely you’ll find Faith too!

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We will miss wearing these shirts. Be the change. Be a partner. We love that phrase.

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We give our hardhats to the members of the community that helped us build

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Julie gives her’s to Dexter – her painting mentor

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Each leader gives their safety helmet to a special friend

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Digging wouldn’t be the same without Aldrin

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These guys taught us so much. We will miss them.

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We will never forget you!

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Did Aldrin get 2 hardhats?

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Please remember us every time you put on those hardhats

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Can you believe it, we haven’t danced to “Shake it off” in 4 whole days

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By far, this is our favorite move in the whole dance!

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Chloe and Axile always lead us with energy and enthusiasm

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There’s that “car move” again as Axile shouts, “Left, right, LEEEFFFTTT!”

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Time for some Philippines vs. Canada basketball. Game 1 – Philippines WINS!

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Game 2 – Canada WINS – Geerthan is the MVP – leading scorer, rebounder, blocker, and loudest person on the court!

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Spectators have a great view from the sand pile

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This might actually be more fun then playing basketball

 

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Game 3 for all the marbles. Adrian and Aldrin go for the jump ball.

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Adrian almost gets blocked from behind but he’s way too tall!

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Every so often we need to push the rim up because it’s gets bent downwards

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Aldrin with some fierce defence on Adrian – the 2 tallest guys in Tala

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Aldrin and Adrian have some fierce battles down in the paint (well sand) :)

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Mike’s specialty is beyond the arc – look at the form

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And sometimes, Mike even plays defense (sometimes)

 

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Over Mitch’s extended hand but Adrian is ready to collect the rebound

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Mitch is totally faked out by this pass

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Let’s analyse this play – Yup, Mitch TOTALLY got faked out!

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The sun is going down and neither Canada nor The Philippines has scored 5 points

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No rush, we’ll just keep playing in the sand

This ends Part 1 of Day 12. The daytime edition.

Part 2, the night time edition will be posted next (Tala going away party).

Thanks for following our travels.

Please add your comments below.

 

 

 

Day 11 – Building in Tala & MOA

Today is Monday, Jan. 5th. Back in Toronto, everyone is going to school today. We, on the other hand, are going back to the build!

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Mike takes a break from eating rice for breakfast and munches on these instead. (Read the message on the bread stick)

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There’s is considerably way more traffic since it’s also back to work for everyone who was on Christmas holidays here

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We get on our gear including our steel toe footwear, t-shirts, and name tags

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Mitch’s gets his daily toothpick (which seems to be getting bigger)

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The boys show off their pipes! (Especially Geerthan)

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“That’s nothing” say the girls! (Especially Nicole)

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Fierce looking bunch

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You don’t want to mess with these girls

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Today we learn how to cut rebar. It’s so thick we need to use our entire body weight to snap it.

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Unless you’re as strong as Axile

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The locals teach us how to attach the rebar together

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Wire is used to attached all intersections

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Mimi pre-cuts the wire to be used

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Work is easy when you have cute kids to help you

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The rebar is used to help support poured concrete

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While some of us work with rebar, others continue “the dig”

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Everyone’s favourite job :)

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Who needs a shovel!

 

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Tina accidentally steps into a puddle and gets her foot stuck in the clay

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Tina can’t get her feet out without losing her shoe, so she goes in with BOTH feet and continues to dig!

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The 3rd job is continuing to paint

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Much more relaxing then being on “the dig”

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To keep everyone fresh and energized, we rotate jobs every 45 minutes. It’s Julie’s turn to dig now.

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This picture shows you how thick the clay is as Leah stands on the shovel

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Last night Mike bought some tools to try to conquer removing this tree stump

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You need to have a license to purchase a reciprocating saw so this circular saw will have to do (not really ideal for cutting trees, but worth a shot)

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We made sure to buy an extension cord for power

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And a hand saw for places the circular saw can’t reach

 

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Step 1 – Mike scores the stump

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Step 2 – Marc axes out what has been scored

 

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Step 3: Give up, because it’s not working

 

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Step 4: Pick a more realistic tree to cut

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Time to learn how to make rebar post

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These will be used to reinforce poured concrete pillars

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We will need some more wire Mimi

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Look at those “posers” in the background pretending to do work

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We need to clear out this section, so that we can continue to dig. Namely the coconut tree stumps

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You mean these tree stumps? But they are so comfortable.

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We try lifting the coconut tree with no success

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As we wait for the tree to be cut in 3 shorter more manageable pieces, John finds time to pose for the camera.

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We are ready to conquer that tree (now cut into 3 separate stumps)

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Rather than lifting, the locals teach us the way they do it

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“Heave, Ho” we get our backs into it.

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Much easier than lifting

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Easier but not easy (as you can tell by the expression on Mimi’s face)

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Almost there – we need to bring it to the side of the road for pick up

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How many people does it take to move one third of a coconut tree?

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Time for stump #2 – now we’re pros

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This is the bottom of the tree so it’s much heavier

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The girls tackle the 3rd coconut stump all by themselves using a different technique

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Thank God for steel toe shoes!

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This way ladies

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We switch jobs after moving the 3 tree stumps to give the diggers a much needed break

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The locals teach the new group how to fasten the rebar

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The only tool we use is a nail for twisting the wire

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Libby gets the hang of it (the dirt on her skin shows you which station she previously left)

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Done! 20 more to go!

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Before lunch, we do a community clean up.

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We follow Mike’s instructions like scripture :)

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Axile hands out plastic gloves

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And we get to work

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It’s easy not to notice the garbage all around us

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But when you pay attention to it, you realize how much is really there

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We also realize that even though we’ve only been there for 2.5 days, we contributed to the garbage on the ground

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Things like cups, baby wipes, band aids, cough drop wrappers were all left behind by us over the last 2 days

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The kids help out too

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We fill up our bags

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As we scour the entire community

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Ewwww…..I’m not picking that up

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Jermin’s little helper

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It’s remarkable how much garbage we were able to pick up in 45 minutes. Job well done leaders!

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This little boy gets a head start on snack

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Well deserved Banana-Q for merienda

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Libby can’t get enough “Turon” – banana fried in an egg roll wrapper, dipped in syrup………..YUM

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Break time – Like father like son.

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We take pictures on what’s called a “tricyle” – it’s equivalent to a taxi in Toronto.

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Let me try the drivers seat

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These girls are always so willing to help out with the dishes after lunch. That’s initiative!

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After lunch we get back to work. One of the stations is arts and crafts with the kids

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We make thank you cards for people back home in Toronto who supported us

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We couldn’t have done it without all of you back in T.O.

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Much easier station then digging!

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Some really good artists

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A new group learns to work with rebar

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A nail is the only tool you need

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Another station is making brooms from coconut palm leaves

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Each leaf has a hard spine which we try to remove. That’s the part that is used for the broom.

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John likes this job better than digging

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In the comments below, write us a funny caption for this picture.

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Mike and the men in the community have a project.

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A perfect opportunity to teach them how to use the new tools we bought.

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Mike instructs how to properly use a circular saw (which is using 2 hands)

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Guess what we are making?

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All made out of scrap materials found at the build site

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We run out of nails but Mike’s dad saves the day and makes a trip to the local hardware store (prior to making this purchase, the locals were finding nails from scrap unused wood laying around). Now that’s that truly the meaning of RRR – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

 

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Still many houses need to be painted

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Morning diggers get a break and move to the painting station

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Arts and crafts is the best station because that’s where the kids are

 

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Share this website with everyone you know!

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What a smile

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Amazing art work

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Dyan and Faith explain what to do

 

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The instruction was to draw a nice picture. This kid followed that instruction to a tee!

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The basketball rim and backboard are almost done!

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JP finds others uses with the construction paper

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Time to pack up and call it a day

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Today, more then ever, we realize how exhausting it is to build in the hot sun.

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Tomorrow being our last day, the community starts to prepare a party for us

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Marc and Mitch don’t want to leave

After leaving the Tala build site, we make our way to the Mall of Asia for dinner.

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We make it to Manila Bay just in time to see the beautiful sunset

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Before dinner we decide to partake in some great Canadian fun – SKATING

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This is how you check your skate size – all rentals are “figure” skates

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Can’t skate, easy peasy, you have multiple friends to assist you

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Because that’s what friends are for!

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We tell this guy he has to get off the ice while us Torontonians are skating (Habs fan)

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Forever bonded by this service trip

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#TeamPH2K14

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Time for dinner at Max’s Chicken – There’s actually one in Toronto where Mike says we’ll have our reunion

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Winning team from last night’s scavenger hunt gets “Halo Halo” (traditional Filipino dessert)

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After dinner there just enough time to ride the Ferris wheel before going back to the hotel

What a jammed packed amazing day. Thanks for following our travels.

Feel free to leave a comment below.

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Below is a picture of Michael and Mitch filming part of a music video. This is just a teaser of what’s to come (to be released at a future date!)



 

 

 

 

Philippines Update

Hello Everyone,

Just wanted to give all parents, friends, supporters, and followers of this blog and update with regards to our Philippines service trip.

The wifi has been spotty not allowing us to post our daily updates.

Today will be our last day on the build site which will conclude with a celebration in the village.

Although many of us are a little sick, everyone is safe and sound.

Here’s some pictures below that will be re-posted when we are able to fully upload our daily updates.

Tomorrow morning at 7:45 am we will be leaving for the airport.

Expected arrival in Toronto is 8:15 pm. Please arrange to pick up your child at terminal 3 at 8:30 at night on Jan. 7th, 2015.

Thanks for your support.

Feel free to comment below.

 

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Day 10 – Building in Tala

Today is Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015 – our 2nd day at our Tala build site.

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To our surprise, the trenches we dug out yesterday are now all full of ground water

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Job 1: empty out water so we can dig deeper

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We fill up buckets and take the ground water to the street so it doesn’t seep back into the trenches

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Yesterday we finished units 1 and 2.

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Today we are working on units 3 and 4.

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Digging clay is a difficult task. Digging clay full of coconut tree roots is an even harder ordeal!

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We have another group painting homes we primed the previous day

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Painters for hire!

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A delivery truck arrives with bags of concrete and bundles of rebar

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Looks light but it’s really heavy (you can tell by the look on Adrian’s face)

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We are careful not to jam our fingers between the rebar

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Many hands make light work

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We thought the rebar was heavy, time to lift some concrete sand bags. Each one is 40 KG = 88.2 pounds

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We try different techniques. Technique 1: In front

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Technique 2: On top of your head

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Carrying it on your head is pretty easy. Getting it “on” your head is a different story.

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We’re starting to sweat and we’ve only emptied half the truck

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Easy peasy for Big John!

 

 

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Let’s try something new. Technique #3: On the shoulder.

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The girls have the best idea of them all. Technique #4: Pairs

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Truck is finally empty!

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This picture doesn’t do justice to the amount of work and sweat it took to bring all these bags from the truck this unit. Remember, each bag is over 80 pounds each!

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Don’t believe us, look at Mitch sweat!

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Despite the exhaustion, Mitch is ready to take on his next task – chop those annoying roots!

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The key is to axe pick the clay to break it up before removing it either by hand or by shovel

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Every day this little puppy follows us around and re-energizes us to do more work with his playful spirit

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These are banana tree “hearts” from the trees that had to be chopped and cleared from the digging site. They can be replanted to grow into a new tree.

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After a morning of hard work, it’s time to say grace and have some lunch

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We are very well fed everywhere we go

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We find a spot to have a picnic

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Before we get back to work, we have a little bit of time to play with the kids. This Filipino game is called “Sunka”

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Every day Mimi thinks of a new game to play with the kids

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Mike’s personal hairstylist finds some new clients :)

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Playtime over. Back for some afternoon digging.

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Our number 1 dig crew!

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Taking the initiative to help clean up

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In the afternoon, some of us hit the painting station

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Across the street there’s a convenient store where we get snacks and drinks throughout the day

Below is a series of pictures taken by Leah of the children in the community

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These are the older boys within the community

 

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“Whatcha lookin’ at?”

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“Just joking, meet my friend”

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“This seems interesting”

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“Peace”

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“Look at what I recorded”

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“Are you following me around with your camera?”

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Playing with a toy we gave out yesterday

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“Our last day to just chill, we all have school tomorrow”

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Digging is definitely the hardest of all the jobs

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Unless you get paint on your face. Libby is allergic to many things, thank God paint is not one of them!

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It’s 3:00 and it’s break time. Today for merienda, we have “Pandesal” Filipino sweet bun

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With cheese!! Yummy

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We all agree that we need “merienda” in Toronto

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We are also served some fresh wraps

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The convenience store sells soft drinks served in a bag with a straw

 

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One more digging session before we get to play with the kids

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This job would be so much faster if it wasn’t for this pesky roots!

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Just got to chop away!

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This is what happens when you chop to hard! Mike needs a new pick axe

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I have no idea what caption to write for this picture. Have suggestions? Write your ideas in the comments below.

 

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Diggnign units 3 and 4 are almost complete

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Once we clean up we can play with the kids

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We are Dexter’s favourite paint crew :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Time to play with the kids before we end the day at the build site

 

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The kids teach us this game which they play using elastics.

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The leaves of the coconut tree can be used by the community to make many things

 

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Marc is a little confused.  They are trying to show him how to make balls for the kids to play with.

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This is how you do it Marc

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Chloe gets the hang of it

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This is what the finished product looks like.

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Dana, Dyan, Leah, and Christine learn how to make it too.

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Leah also learns how to make this play sword

 

 

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The leaves can also be used to make brooms called a “walis”

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This is what a “walis” look like

 

 

 

 

 

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Limbo time

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Always around to say hi

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We play a big game of Duck Duck Goose

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Losers have to come to the middle do either, 5 jumping jacks, sing a song, or do a dance.

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Before we leave, Mimi finds time to teach the kids how to play the Yuke.

 

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We give the kids a hi-five and tell them that we’ll see them tomorrow

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Boots off…

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Hardhats lined up…

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T-shirts ready to be washed

 

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And name tags collected. We’re ready from some R&R after a long day of building.

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WE are the change! All of us should be proud!

 

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Everyone gathers to say bye to us even though we’ll be back tomorrow. It feels good to be loved :)   

We’re off to dinner where Michael says he has a surprise challenge for us.

Thanks for following our travels.

Back to building again tomorrow.

Feel free to add your comments below.

 

 

Day 9 – Building in Tala

It’s Saturday, January 3rd. Due to various schedule changes, today will be our first day on our build site and we are so excited! We decide to leave at 1 hour early and stay one hour later on each build day to catch up on lost time.

And tooth pic!

We’re excited to build. Like always, we start our day in prayer.

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Blue build shirts on and on the bus ready for the first day at Tala community

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We arrive at our build site in Tala, Caloocan City, Philippines.

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There are 60 houses in this village.  30 of which are finished (as seen here).

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John interacting with the local kids in the community.

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All the kids are eager to meet us

 

something about getting building gear on.....boots

Something about getting building gear on…..boots

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These are our yellow hard hats

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Jermin with the work gloves

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Faith  with her sweat towel ready to work hard.

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And Mitch with his toothpick – chillin like a villain

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One of the community elders lead us in prayer before our leaders get to work.

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This is Rapunzel, our forewoman who will be assign us our work.

 

3 teams - team 1 (list job)

Team 3 ready to work on draining water.

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Team 2 pumped to start painting!

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Team 1 before they start their tiring dig.

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Mimi bonding with the local kids.

 

job 1

Team 1 learning how to dig.

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Libby hard at work digging.

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Working hard in the clay & mud. We’re starting to get really dirty.

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It’s incredible how tiring it is to shovel clay!

 

job 2

Adrian preparing the wall for painting.

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Jermin & Kaisha excited to be painting.

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Before the work of wonderful team 2 painters.

 

job 3

Mitch draining water from the ditch (future septic tank)

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John and Nicole posing before getting down to business.

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Our leaders working together to finish digging.

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We need to dig 30 cm wide trenches, 2 feet deep so that the foundation can be poured.

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We also need to dig 80 cm corners, 3 feet deep where posts will be laid.

 

various other jobs pop up eg. clearing

A shot of the site before our leaders work together to clear out the land.

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Site must be cleared before we start digging section number two.

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Julie and our leaders, strutting their stuff with their piles of tree branches.

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Team 2 working together to move bricks and not even breaking a sweat!

 

unloaded 2 trucks

They unloaded 2 trucks!!

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Great job team 2!

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An action shot of our diggers working hard! The digging never stops.

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Taking out the trash from the build site.

Chloe and her SUPER LONG branch.

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A quick shot of the leaders working hard. Septic ditch almost emptied.

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It takes two to throw out this heavy tree stump

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Kaisha concentrated on sand papering the walls for painting.

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The girls are stronger than you think!

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Leaders and locals working together. These are the people that will be living in these new homes.

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John sawing a tree in half which is in the way of digging.

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All hail Queen Chloe!

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Sanding down the walls before painting.

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Here’s Hailie, one of the local children hanging out with our leaders while painting.

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An after shot of the leaders after they got down and dirty from digging.

 

morning's work

Only half a day’s work and look how much we have done! Foundation channels for one whole unit.

this was half full, we emptied, now the community is able to continue digging it deeper (but we'll leave that to the professionals) :)

This was half full, we emptied, now the community is able to continue digging it deeper (but we’ll leave that to the professionals) :)

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Grace before our meal after a tiring morning build shift.

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Our lunch, specially prepared by the wonderful ladies at ANCOP and Couples for Christ.

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Mitch’s new ride.

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Our leaders enjoying their lunch break.

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Our leaders posing on tricycles – the cheapest form of public transportation.

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The cute couple posing for a dramatic motorcycle picture…and John.

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One of the the locals climbing the coconut tree which needs to be cut down because it’s in the middle of a future unit we are digging.

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“I can do that too”

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Our leaders teaching the kids hand games.

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The kids love this game!

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Libby volunteers to help clean the dishes.

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Enjoying some fresh refreshing coconuts that were picked from the newly cut tree.

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Emily playing games with the girls.

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Mimi teaching Hailie how to play the Ukelele.

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Nicole and the locals.

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Break time over.  Time to get back to work.

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We cleared this whole area in the morning.  It was full of trees and bushes. Now its ready for a second round of digging. We’re now starting units 3 and 4.

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Hard at work, do not disturb! This is units 1 and 2.

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Do they ever get tired?

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Libby hard at work painting.

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Preparing the wall for a fresh coat of paint.

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Axile working hard to paint the walls of her house.

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Charlie’s Angels came to help out in painting today at the build site.

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The finished product by Charlie’s Angels (Dana, Dyan, and Julie)

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Merienda (snack) time! Yummy banana Q!

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After break we come back to notice that groundwater is starting fill up our newly dug trench

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The little puppy at our build site. Aww!

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Playing sungka with the children.

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After a long day of working, the leaders end the day by playing games with the kids.

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Duck, Duck, GOOSE! (of course)

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Playing duck, duck, goose with the entire group.

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Look at all the kids and leaders!  Biggest session of Duck, Duck, Goose we’ve ever played.

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The game got a little too intense. Poor Marc!

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We handed out toys to the kids after the games.

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Here are all our gear, organized and ready for day 2.

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We hi-five the kids before we board the bus and tell them we’ll be back tomorrow

 

Jullian’s aunt and uncle invite us to their house for a casual dinner.

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The bus rolls up to Jillian’s aunt’s house in Las Pinas.

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The set up for our dinner at Jillian’s family’s home. So fancy! We were blown away.

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Jillian posing with her cousin.

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The students playing with the family dog, Hashbrown!

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A shot of us saying a prayer before dinner, lead by Axile

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There’s quite the spread

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And mango crepes for dessert, yummy!

 

 

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Kaisha and Tina posing with tita Angie (Jillian’s aunt) and their specially prepared vegetarian dishes

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We fill up 2 tables

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Here’s leader table 2

 

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Meeting the first Filipino astronaut, Chino Roque, a.k.a. Jillian’s cousin.  This is a model of the actual spaceship he will be flying later this year.

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During dinner, girls from an orphanage perform a medley of Christmas and pop songs for us.

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A shot of the performers enjoying their dinner.

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The leaders posing with Chino after dinner and ask him questions about his upcoming space journey he has been training for in Florida. So exciting!

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Dana and Adrian singing their hearts out after dinner (special request from Jillian’s aunt).

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Jillian’s family shot photo.

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Thank you Roque-Maniquis family for your outstanding hospitality.

 

We head back to the hotel with our bellies full.  Thanks for following our journey.

Please write us a comment below.

Day 8 – 3 Village Tour

It’s Tuesday, Jan. 2nd.  Today we will be visiting ANCOP head quarters.

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As always we start our day in prayer

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We board our “tour bus”

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Michael has a personal hairstylist

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Tito leads us in prayer before we start our ANCOP orientation

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We give thanks for the opportunity to serve those less fortunate

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Tita Vida gives us an official welcome to the ANCOP head office

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President of ANCOP speaks to student leaders about Canada’s participation in ANCOP

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Julie, John and Jermin share why they’ve decided to sponsor a child at the St. Martin de Porres orphange

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Tita Ethel explains ANCOP’s various initiatives and projects in the Philippines

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Here’s some of the information that was presented to us. Canada actually has more child sponsors then any other country.

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Now we receive our swag bags/ build kits!

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Marc thanks everyone at ANCOP offices for helping plan our trip

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#TeamPH2K14

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And now we eat. Yum!

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Thank you to the ladies from AVANAI for our delicious lunch they prepared for us. Sooo good!

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We thank them by giving a traditional Filipino gesture called “mano”

Now we are off to 3 different ANCOP communities. Up first will be the community where last year’s leaders did their build – AKC.

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We get a warm welcome from all the kids at AKC.

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Michael meets many familiar faces along the way. This is Joel, Mike’s basketball rival!

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Look at those smiles! This is Jet.

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As we walk to the community, we keep hearing the kids say, “Hi Kuya Mike.”

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Michael’s lucky to be able to visit previous year’s sites and reconnect with old friends

 

 

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When we come into the village, all the kids want to play some games.  They are all Stella Ella Ola experts already!

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We gather in groups with the kids to play some games

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We play a game of “Huckle Buckle” with the kids in the village. “Forehead to forehead.”

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Student leaders race kids back and forth on their backs – first line to finish wins

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Time to play some basketball. Team Canada vs Team Philippines. Game 1: Canada wins due to leading scorer Geerthan!

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Time for tip-off! Who will win game 2? Philippines wins!

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The boys repping Team Canada!

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Putting on some brave faces before they face Team Philippines

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Team Philippines ready for a good game of basketball (defending champions)

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Let’s go!

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After a long fought close battle. Team Philippines prevails. Losing team buys soda. We’ll be back next year.

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Time for gifts! Who’s more excited Melissa or the kids?

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Look at that little cutie!

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Time for some gift giving!

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The kids in the village give us an incredible performance. Look at those moves.

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We “Shake It Off” for the village community! This time we need to split up into two groups because of the tight space.

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Leah, Marc, Dana and Adrian perform “Just The Way You Are” for the community

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The kids showing off some gifts they received

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Smile! :)

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Wacky!

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Loads of smiles and photos before we leave the village!

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The kids wave goodbye to us outside our bus. We’re feeling the love!

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We don’t want to leave! Lots of tears were shed.

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The kids even ran after our bus to say good-bye! (Even more tears were shed).

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We made it to our SECOND village – ANCOP Camia Community

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The kids in the village greet us with high-fives

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What a nice welcome!

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Like everywhere we go, we always start with a prayer of gratitude.

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The kids in the CAMIA community prepared a cultural performance for us!

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One of ANCOP’s scholar’s delivers a speech about her appreciation for her education. Something we are learning more and more to value.

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We all introduce ourselves; our names, ages, and where our parents are from.

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We get the kids to come perform Shake It Off with us! So fun!

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We take a tour around the village. We’re getting more and more excited to start our own build.  The Camia community was fully completed as of 2011.

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Adrian’s really popular around the villages. Guapo!

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We are welcomed into homes in the villages with open arms. They’re all incredibly friendly. This lady runs a salon in her house.

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Our favourite part of the day is getting to play with the kids in the community.

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Sad we have to leave so soon, but we’re heading for the next village.

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The community waves us goodbye while we load the bus. Bye!

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We finally make it to our third village of the day. This is where we will be having dinner.

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Thank you for the welcome!

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We’re always greeted with smiles and high-fives!

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We say grace together before we enjoy dinner.

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Look at all that food. Yummmm. We are well fed everywhere we go.

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We love getting to watch people perform.

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For the first time, we’re being taught how to dance

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Now we get to teach them some of our moves as we “Shake it off”

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Everywhere we go, we always take time for some pictures!

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Mitch thanks the community for their wonderful performance and great food. We felt so welcomed!

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We close with a blessing.

What an amazing day. We really got to see how much impact ANCOP has in underprivileged areas in the Philippines.

The tour is over and we are excited to start building tomorrow.

Thanks for following our travels. Please write a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

 

 

Day 7 – San Mateo

Today is Thurs, Jan 1. The first day of 2015!

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We start the day by givings thanks for the first day of the new year.

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After breakfast Geerthan buys himself a Mickey balloon to hang out with us for the day.

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Visiting a village, but first we must hike up the path to get there.

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Our boys make friends right away with a game of basketball.

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Tito Warren welcomes Julie and our group to the village Our Lady of Banneux.

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Comfort room stops are always an adventure…we never know what to expect. Hang in there Melissa!

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Mimi gathers the children for a game of Sungka…a native Filipino game.

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Here is the large multi-purpose room…a work in progress.

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Tito Warren takes us on a tour of the village.

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Wedding at Cana – Jesus’ first miracle

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Solar power lamps are used to light up the chapel at night.

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#PH2K14 posing with Mother Mary

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Into the chapel we go, just in time because it started to rain.

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“Father Marc” delivering mass for the group.

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Following in Holy Thursday Filipino tradition, some of our students carry the cross.

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Praying and meditating in the chapel.

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Touring the lush grounds of the community.

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Overlooking the city of Manila.

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#PH2K14 group pics

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Our student leaders couldn’t resist climbing this tree

As it approached 1:00 pm  here in the Philippines (which would be midnight EST) we record this video message for our friends and family back home in Toronto to wish them a Happy New Year.

http://youtu.be/zpJlneiT3Qs

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Here are the ANCOP homes in the village. Families as large as 13 live in one home.

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We have been invited to take a closer look inside many ANCOP homes.

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Here are the Couples for Christ/ANCOP Canada homes. Canadians donated and built these homes. GO CANADA!

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This woman creates wallets and coin purses with wrappers. It takes her an entire day to make ONE!

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The entire community uses this outdoor kitchen.

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Mitch is surprised by the amount of BBQ chicken and pork the village provided for us.

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We were served lunch on banana leaves and encouraged to eat with our fingers. Ma sarap = delicious!

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Jermin and Nicole devour their watermelon. So refreshing!

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We were supposed to build and do a community clean up, but the heavy rainfall forced everyone into the Multi-Purpose Room.

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We play a game called “Fruit Salad.” Are you a strawberry, mango, guava, apple or banana?

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Huge game of Stella Ella Ola…if you were out, you had to sing, dance or do 5 jumping jacks in the centre of the circle.

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Look at how many kids are in this wonderful village.

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Macarena, Chicken Dance, Filipino hand clapping game and Twinkle Twinkle.

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Shake it off…these kids catch on quick!

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Now just the #PH2K14 group performs.

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Everyone shakes it off!

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Dance party…lookin’ good doing the Hokey Pokey

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A duet from Marc and Dana.

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Mimi and her uke.

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The audience love it!

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The dancing KPop duo.

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Mimi does a solo dance to “Problems”

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Axile wows the crowd with her amazing dance moves.

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Kaisha cuddles a sleeping child. Awwwwwww.

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Mitch then juggles 5 iphones…just kidding :)

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High 5 dance game.

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Getting to know our new friends

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Duck Duck Goose…who will win?

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Buggies Up!

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Huckle Buckle knee to knuckle…elbow to chin…

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Limbo Time…how low can you go?

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Look at Axile, Dana, Mitch and Geerthan!

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Oh my, Libby, Chloe and Adrian!

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The village children perform Jingle Bell Rock…so cute!

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An amazing xylophone performance!

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The ladies made pancit, sticky rice and coconut bars as well as a sugary sweet tapioca drink. YUMMY!

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Emily thanks the community members who made our day so memorable.

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Tina wore her steel toe boots all day long. Michael and Chloe had to carry her back to the bus. Her feet were soooooooooo sore :(

Due to the rain, we didn’t get to build or do a community clean-up.  The upside is that we had more time to play with the kids.  Many students commented that this was their favourite day!

Tomorrow we’re off to ANCOP head office for an orientation.

Thanks for following our travels!  Please leave any comments below :)