Day 9 – Part II – Gift giving in Avanai

It’s January 4, 2014 and we just finished tree planting in San Mateo.  Although experiencing the peace and serenity of San Mateo is over, going back to the Avanai community makes it all better!

Here is the entrance of the Avanai community. Thank you so much Couples for Christ for helping those in need! We are blessed to be able to participate in ANCOP’s work.
These are one of the tight alleys we had to go through to get to the Avanai community.
One of the BEST ways to be greeted! Each kid got a name and called us individually to welcome us.
They were so excited to welcome us and we were so excited to see them again!
Erica (Francis Libermann CSS) definitely couldn’t have asked for anything better. Being welcomed by Ryzza put a smile on Erica’s face for the rest of the day!
Lindsay (teacher – Blessed Mother Teresa CSS) was so glad to have been welcomed this way!
Alyssa Cabutaje – Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School
Nicole Baret – Pope John Paul Catholic Secondary School
Shaelyn Talusan – St. Joseph’s College Catholic Secondary School
Melissa Ayisi – Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School
Michael Consul – Student Leadership Staff Development (TCDSB)
Danielle Hyles-Rainford- Mother Teresa Catholic Elementary (DCDSB)
Britishawna Petgrave – Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School
Katrina Lorenzo – Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School
Kyla-anne Ewart – Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School
Jeffery Wang – Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School
Alanna Marchese – St. Joseph’s College Catholic Secondary School
Jairuz Junio – Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School
Joseph Fantauzzi – Bishop Allen Academy Catholic Secondary School
Marc Anthony – Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School
Mike with the boys – these guys always make fun of his non-Filipino accent when Mike speaks Tagalog
Mike and Tito Morrie posing for the camera. “Say pogi!”
We are officially welcomed back to the Avanai community
Avanai welcomed us with signs and smiling faces
“It’s us who build community”
Erica performing with a local Youth for Christ neighbour
“I’ve loved you for a thousand years”
One of Danielle’s performances during her Manila singing tour
Michael explaining our afternoon program at Avanai
Are you ready? Make some noise!
Everyone in the community enjoyed our activities together including the adults!
The kids quickly learned our choreography to “I Gotta Feeling”
Tito Morrie is getting his groove on!
Work it, Britishawna!
Everyone came in to dance
Jump to the left!
Now jump to the right!
Jump! Jump! Jump! Now jump up with your hands up!
The kids know the choreography to our dance well enough to lead the group
Go Jeffery, it’s ya birthday
The kids joining in with us to dance to I Gotta Feeling
Strike a pose
And another pose
We now move into small groups and play “My favourite fruit is”
Some of us play Stella-ella-ola
Make an elephant!
That elephant has lop-sided ears
Gift giving to Avanai
They are liking what they see. “I want that one!”
So many to choose from
It was great to see their faces light up when they received their gift
Whackey shot!
“Look up” shot
Now we’re all off to the basketball court
It’s like the NBA finals the amount of people coming to watch
Marc Anthony sees the open Canadian
Baret shoots!
Baret has better shooting form than Junio 🙂
So does Melissa 🙂
I don’t know what Mike is pointing at here
No one can cover Melissa inside
Mike’s open down low for the alley-oop dunk!

After playing basketball, we head back to the community as people invite us to take photos with them.  Here are some of the shots taken.  You’ll notice the sky gets progressively darker.


It’s time to load the bus.  We’re followed all the way to the street.  We want to go back another day! Avanai makes us feel so special.


Time for dinner.  Tonight we decide to take a break from Filipino food

Here they sell delicious Mexican food
Grace before meals
We’re enjoying the burritos and burgers…..especially the fries!
Jeff gets a 3 patty burger that hardly fits in his mouth!
Here’s a closer look
Mission Complete!
We walk across the street to Banapple for desert

Another amazing day.  Tomorrow we are back to the build site.

Thanks for following our travels.  Please write your comments to us below.

15 thoughts on “Day 9 – Part II – Gift giving in Avanai

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  1. our second visit to Avanai was amazing! Our welcomes were amazing, the children held our names with pride and it made me feel special! I had fun dancing with them and playing games as well. The basketball game was hardcore, competitive and fun! I got really close to a few children especially Sophia; her face will always remain in mind and her smile in my heart! I hope to see the Avanai community once again and God willing I can give back to them in the future!

    Dinner was great.. that fat chicken burrito, the apple crumble and ‘fat and chewy’ cookie! mmm! Amazing day overall

  2. Avanai community welcomed us even better than the first time. When I was walking towards the kids I noticed that each kid had a leaders name and I did not see mine. I started to worry a bit and thought that they forgot about me but was happy to see my name with one of my favourites. The kids performance was amazing. It was really nice to see how welcoming they were.
    The restaurant was familiar to the ones in toronto which really brought a joy to my face because I was getting tired of filipino food.. kidding! However I really enjoyed dinner this day and desert at banapple.

  3. We loved Avanai so much, we just had to go back! Our second visit to the community was even better than the first with all the singing and dancing and their homemade turon and homemade fries. It was good that we were able to visit again and give gifts to the children as they showed so much appreciation and gratitude towards us which made me really happy.

    I hope I can visit my friends at Avanai again in the future!

  4. Have really enjoyed checking our email and following the travels each day.
    Quite an experience for us – our compliments to Mike Consul and your photographer.
    What memories you will have! Congratulations and God Bless you all.
    Mollie Langdale (Lindsay Curtis grandmother)

  5. Avanai was always so welcoming! They showed great hospitality the moment we entered their community. After hearing about the memorable build in Avanai during last year’s trip, I really hope we can make a positive difference to the AKC community as well. The kids were always excited to play activities and basketball which motivated me to work even harder at our build site. It is their love that builds the community.

  6. I was so happy to see the Avanai kids one more time before our departure! I loved meeting them and I loved getting to play with them a second time even more. Seeing the kids so happy just because we came back melted my heart. When we go to communities like these, I have this hopeful feeling that soon we can help everyone else. I want to go back and see those kids grown up and working toward their bright futures!

  7. Avanai community was just really amazing, locals were very hospitable, kids are full of happiness and the community was full of love. Avanai community was very unique compare to the other communities we visited. Kids were very talented as they perform in front of us. The people in Avanai gave me such an unforgettable memory of their community.

  8. Our second visit to Avanai was so much fun, even better than the first visit. I personally really enjoyed being around the community leader. He seemed very connected with the community and was video taping us the entire time. I was so happy being around the Avanai children again and this time getting to play basketball with them as well! I will never forget the times spent in this community and their welcoming arms.

  9. I’m going to miss this community!!!! They were so kind and the first thing that they did was the NICEST, SWEETEST, MOST LOVING thing ever. I was called by the best little girl in the world, Ryzza. She called my name and then ran to me and gave me a kiss. She was so happy to see me and I of her. I felt so happy and they were able to make me feel this way in a matter of seconds! I love this community and I feel like just giving them gifts isn’t enough. I hate looking at people and seeing that they have nothing. But whenever I see them, they are so happy. Their happiness gives me hope that they are alright but I still have the need to do something. This community is amazing and I wish to visit them again in the future!

  10. Being able to return to the Avanai community for a second time was a blessing! They seemed happier to see us the second time and I felt even more welcomed into the community. They showed great hospitality and just going back one more time was amazing. Being welcomed with children holding up our names made me smile. Playing with the kids is always a great time and seeing their faces after we gave them gifts is priceless. The visiting the Avanai community is definately a highlight of our Philippines adventure and I hope that one day I can return to visit the community.

  11. Visiting Avanai for the second time was even better than the first! I didn’t think they could top their first welcome but they did. They had all our names typed out on paper and a special kid close to us held the paper and called us on the mic. It was a great surprise and we picked up our relationships right where we left off. The kids were excited to play new games with us, things got pretty competitive. They were very thankful for the gifts and all the kids held our hands the entire night. I was pumped to be able to sing the community song again and the banana cue sticks were amazing. It was a sad goodbye but hopefully we will be able to visit again. IT’S US WHO BUILD COMMUNITY!!!

  12. Our second visit to Avanai was exhilarating. Since we all knew how enthusiastic and energetic everyone from the community was, we were all so pumped to see them again. Each student had their names typed out which one lucky kid got to hold and call us up. The community again showed their great talents through the beautiful singing and dancing. We had new games this time to play with the kids and seeing them smile, laugh and having fun made me happy. When we were giving out the gifts, it was like christmas morning, i didn’t think their smiles could get any bigger but they did. I miss the kids already. All the best to the Avanai community, I hope to see you all again!

  13. I’M SOOOO GLAD we got to visit Avanai again! They’re always filled with joy, happiness and great food! I was welcomed by a cute little girl named Ryzza (everywhere we go, there has to be 2 or more Ryzza’s, it can’t be just one). At first glance, she reminded me of myself. I actually thought she looked just like me when I was little! The feeling of being a celebrity never left; everyone was asking for pictures and autographs and I felt so nice! The performances they prepared for us was very entertaining LOL I could watch all day! The girl that sang with Erica had a very nice voice and talent, it’s impressive how she was able to perform on the spot. My group of kids seem to really enjoy the elephant game and Stella, they kept laughing so hard when someone is voted out. We had some nice homemade turon for merienda and my level of happiness went even higher! That is my favourite snack of alllll time, alongside banana cues. The basketball games were intense too, our all star team is the bombbb! When it was time to go, the little girls I met wouldn’t stop giving me kisses on the cheek and hugs; they wouldn’t let me go! It was so sweet of them to leave me souvenirs, I wish I had something to leave for them too. I’ll never forget about Avanai, I miss them so much!!!

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