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!

Mike takes a break from eating rice for breakfast and munches on these instead. (Read the message on the bread stick)
There’s is considerably way more traffic since it’s also back to work for everyone who was on Christmas holidays here
We get on our gear including our steel toe footwear, t-shirts, and name tags
Mitch’s gets his daily toothpick (which seems to be getting bigger)
The boys show off their pipes! (Especially Geerthan)
“That’s nothing” say the girls! (Especially Nicole)
Fierce looking bunch
You don’t want to mess with these girls
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
The locals teach us how to attach the rebar together
Wire is used to attached all intersections
Mimi pre-cuts the wire to be used
Work is easy when you have cute kids to help you
The rebar is used to help support poured concrete
While some of us work with rebar, others continue “the dig”
Everyone’s favourite job 🙂
Who needs a shovel!


Tina accidentally steps into a puddle and gets her foot stuck in the clay
Tina can’t get her feet out without losing her shoe, so she goes in with BOTH feet and continues to dig!
The 3rd job is continuing to paint
Much more relaxing then being on “the dig”
To keep everyone fresh and energized, we rotate jobs every 45 minutes. It’s Julie’s turn to dig now.
This picture shows you how thick the clay is as Leah stands on the shovel
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)
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
Step 2 – Marc axes out what has been scored


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


Step 4: Pick a more realistic tree to cut
Time to learn how to make rebar post
These will be used to reinforce poured concrete pillars
We will need some more wire Mimi
Look at those “posers” in the background pretending to do work
We need to clear out this section, so that we can continue to dig. Namely the coconut tree stumps
You mean these tree stumps? But they are so comfortable.
We try lifting the coconut tree with no success
As we wait for the tree to be cut in 3 shorter more manageable pieces, John finds time to pose for the camera.
We are ready to conquer that tree (now cut into 3 separate stumps)
Rather than lifting, the locals teach us the way they do it
“Heave, Ho” we get our backs into it.
Much easier than lifting
Easier but not easy (as you can tell by the expression on Mimi’s face)
Almost there – we need to bring it to the side of the road for pick up
How many people does it take to move one third of a coconut tree?
Time for stump #2 – now we’re pros
This is the bottom of the tree so it’s much heavier
The girls tackle the 3rd coconut stump all by themselves using a different technique
Thank God for steel toe shoes!
This way ladies
We switch jobs after moving the 3 tree stumps to give the diggers a much needed break
The locals teach the new group how to fasten the rebar
The only tool we use is a nail for twisting the wire
Libby gets the hang of it (the dirt on her skin shows you which station she previously left)
Done! 20 more to go!
Before lunch, we do a community clean up.
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We follow Mike’s instructions like scripture 🙂
Axile hands out plastic gloves
And we get to work
It’s easy not to notice the garbage all around us
But when you pay attention to it, you realize how much is really there
We also realize that even though we’ve only been there for 2.5 days, we contributed to the garbage on the ground
Things like cups, baby wipes, band aids, cough drop wrappers were all left behind by us over the last 2 days
The kids help out too
We fill up our bags
As we scour the entire community
Ewwww…..I’m not picking that up
Jermin’s little helper
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
Break time – Like father like son.
We take pictures on what’s called a “tricyle” – it’s equivalent to a taxi in Toronto.
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!
After lunch we get back to work. One of the stations is arts and crafts with the kids
We make thank you cards for people back home in Toronto who supported us
We couldn’t have done it without all of you back in T.O.
Much easier station then digging!
Some really good artists
A new group learns to work with rebar
A nail is the only tool you need
Another station is making brooms from coconut palm leaves
Each leaf has a hard spine which we try to remove. That’s the part that is used for the broom.
John likes this job better than digging
In the comments below, write us a funny caption for this picture.
Mike and the men in the community have a project.
A perfect opportunity to teach them how to use the new tools we bought.
Mike instructs how to properly use a circular saw (which is using 2 hands)
Guess what we are making?
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


Still many houses need to be painted
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Morning diggers get a break and move to the painting station
Arts and crafts is the best station because that’s where the kids are


Share this website with everyone you know!
What a smile
Amazing art work
Dyan and Faith explain what to do


The instruction was to draw a nice picture. This kid followed that instruction to a tee!
The basketball rim and backboard are almost done!
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JP finds others uses with the construction paper
Time to pack up and call it a day
Today, more then ever, we realize how exhausting it is to build in the hot sun.
Tomorrow being our last day, the community starts to prepare a party for us
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.

We make it to Manila Bay just in time to see the beautiful sunset
Before dinner we decide to partake in some great Canadian fun – SKATING
This is how you check your skate size – all rentals are “figure” skates
Can’t skate, easy peasy, you have multiple friends to assist you
Because that’s what friends are for!
We tell this guy he has to get off the ice while us Torontonians are skating (Habs fan)
Forever bonded by this service trip
Time for dinner at Max’s Chicken – There’s actually one in Toronto where Mike says we’ll have our reunion
Winning team from last night’s scavenger hunt gets “Halo Halo” (traditional Filipino dessert)
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.

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!)





21 thoughts on “Day 11 – Building in Tala & MOA

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  1. Welcome back everyone, I saw Axel’s video from the trip on Thursday night, it was amazing!

    God Bless your incredible work!

    Peace and Hope, Steve De Quintal Teacher, St. Mary’s CSS, 66 Dufferin Park Ave. Toronto, Ontario M6H-1J6. 416-393-5528 ext. 84293 “that they may have life and have it the full.”–an-fom ****You can always email but a call or a visit will get a quicker response***** ________________________________________

  2. Build day 3 of 4… Almost there. We’ve gotten so much done compared to day 1, the changes are visible. It is amazing to see how much a big hard working group can get done in such little time. But there is still so much that needs to be done. Moving the coconut tree was the toughest yet funnest part of the day. It tested every person to work in unison and listen to the leader in order to know when to pull or stop pulling. It became easy work once we got that down.

    1. Thank you Tito Romy for all your amazing support 🙂
      We are definitely incredibly grateful and inspired after leaving our trip.

  3. Another hard yet rewarding d of building. Each day I feel closer and closer to the community. Slating was so much fun and it was even better that I got help from my friends in the PH fam as I cannot skate, I didn’t even fall once thanks to their help! Dinner was so good (especially the Halo Halo go team 4!) loved the Ferris wheel the view was beautiful.

  4. Whoo! my second day at work! I got to try all sorts of jobs from digging to rebar attaching to dish washing. Everyday I’ve been able to meet new people. I met Dexter at painting, Aldrin at digging and my now close friend Katelyn at dish washing! Being able to make relationships with the people we are building houses for is my favourite part!

  5. Rebar was definitely one of the easier jobs we got to do. It was also a lot of fun. Christine and I got into a fast paced work ethic doing it! Learning from the workers in the village was great. Sometimes it seems like we may be slowing them down, but they always appreciate our efforts and help us work so that we achieve more. We’re incredible blessed for all their hospitality and patience.

  6. This day was full of hard work from what I can see! I am so proud of everyone. Unfortunately, this was the day I timed out completely because I felt sick. From my drifts in and out of sleep, I could hear everyone working hard in pulling the trunks and the laughter from playing with the kids. Getting sick made me realize the value of our healthcare here (thank goodness I wasn’t too bad) as well as the value of one day. But the community members took good care of me and even let me lie in their bed. I am so grateful for them and I wish to bring the same hospitality they have shown me here in Canada.

  7. It’s amazing to see how much of a difference there was from day one to day three. We’ve gotten a lot done, and even got the chance to do some garbage clean up. What I realized during the clean up was that this area was polluted with many little pieces of trash everywhere. In the end I was happy to see most of it was gone and away in garbage bags.

  8. thanks to all good memories,teachers michael and julie, /geerthan,melissa chloe,tina libby,mitch,marc,jermin,faith,dyan.dana,nicole,adrian,jillian,john,christine,emily,kaisha,mimi,leah,axile/and pope francis.GOD used you all as an instrument even you had miles away from philippines/dont stop doing good to the people ,i miss you guys, specially in digging/GODBLESS us all/

  9. TEAM WORK! So much was accomplished by the team today. Our building days are almost coming to an end. It was such a joy getting to know each and everyone in the community. They are family to us. Love really transcends age, time, language, race, and status. In Tala, I felt welcomed and loved like I was their own. I have learned how to truly love from them. Words are not enough to express how thankful we are to have met and be a part of the Tala community! We ❤ you so much!

  10. The merienda on day 3 was on point! I think the banana q we had that day was the best I had ever tasted! One of the things I really miss about the Philippines, besides the kids and communities we visited was definitely the food. Everything they fed us there was so good and the fruits and everything were so fresh and were 10x better than the ones in Toronto, just thinking about it make me hungry 😦 MOA was so fun too! I loved going skating that day, made me feel a little less homesick, that’s for sure. Of course, the shopping was great too! Me & Geerthan literally shopped until the stores were kicking us out at closing lol 😀

  11. A lot of team work and communication happened. Felt like a team when we carrying the tree trunk out of the work area. And cutting rebar was so much fun too. This was also the first day I painted, and let me tell you painting isn’t an easy job. It is as hard as digging. All in all it was a very productive day.

  12. Today was a great day as we put in a lot of work in the community, so we got rewarded by going to mall of Asia and skating. the ice rink was in a mall switch i thought was so cool. i love skating so getting to skate in the Philippines was wild, only problem is that we had to where figure skates.
    My favorite part of the day was the community members made a basketball net for us and we got to play a good game of basketball with everyone.

  13. We did soo much this day! Working and riding in “Tricycles” and skating ets. We were also able to get a lot done. These days are the best because at the end of them you feel like you have really made a difference. Each day we learn more and more about life here but we are also learning more about each other and our selves as we work along side one another all sharing the same end goal. To make a difference and help in any way we can. 😀

  14. This day was just doing all sorts of different jobs from digging, rebar attaching (which I almost got my index finger cut off , it was way too hot that day and we were all doing jobs that involved physical activities so I was really sweating and wearing the safety gloves was not making me efficient with the rebar job so I took it off, and while doing it my index finger got stuck and i let go and it just started gushing blood 🙂 but it’s all good) At the end of the day, my job was to help kids make Thank you cards and that was a nice way to end my day, just interacting with the kids. Fun day!

  15. Today was a really entertaining day. It kind of showed me that even if you have a lot of work to do, you can manage to find ways to make it a lot of fun too, so the hard work doesn’t seem like a lot of work. We did a lot of different jobs and had some sort of rotation going on, so we got to do some unique stuff like making brooms out of palm tree leaves and cutting rebar with some special machines. But in between all of that we took some funnier pictures, danced and filmed for the video, and even went skating afterwards. It was a lot of fun, and overall made the entire work experience feel less like work, and more fun, with all the laughter.

  16. Another busy day of building! Again, we all had so much fun but it was super tiring but rewarding! The MOA was soooo big! Dyan and I was lost but we found our way eventually! I had a great time skating around too! Who can say they went ice skating in the Philippines? haha

  17. I like working in the mud its nice and cooool.
    I LOVE turon! I definitely need to find out how to make this.
    Kaitlyn brought me on a tittle trip around the neighborhood while we got water a very interesting system!

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