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

Our last bus ride to the build site.  As usual we start with a prayer.
We are welcomed by beautiful children


They help hand out our name tags
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
Thanks Mike!
It cost 1600 pesos for ALL the ice cream in the entire cart – everyone lines up to get some
That’s $42 for a whole cart of ice cream!
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
A truck arrives with rocks and sand
Like everything else, unloading the truck has to be done by hand
“Don’t worry, we’re here to help out”
We have a big party tonight so we need to sort out the gifts we will be giving
While some of us sort gifts, there’s a group of us unloading sand and gravel from the truck
Starts off easy until the sun and fatigue kick in
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Station 3 is arts and crafts with the kids
Station 4 is digging! Hardest job of all!
Digging is much easier when we have a pro like Aldrin to help us
We need to remove all of this debris before we can continue our foundation trench
Sometimes using your hands is faster then using the shovel
Station 5 is painting A.K.A save your energy because you’ll be digging next!
I’ll be ready to dig, bring it on!
Station 6 – cutting rebar
Rule of thumb, measure twice, cut once!
Jillian is in mid-air so she can get enough momentum/force to cut the rebar
Job well done!


Since Mike bought the whole cart of ice cream, kids are able to go up for seconds and even thirds as we work.
Just enough time to have some ice cream before going back to school. Look at those awesome uniforms.


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


Thanks to the Redmond Me to We club for doing a toothbrush and toothpaste drive
And thank you to all the other individuals who donated clothes, toys, canned goods and other miscellaneous items.
After 2 rotations (1.5 hours), we finally empty the truck.
Gravel and sand is ready to be mixed with concrete



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
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
Before we get back to work, there’s some time to play some basketball!
Mitch goes up for the jam!
Mitch also shows his outside game (look at all that sand we emptied from the truck in the background).
You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than a whole year of conversation (Plato) – in this case, basketball
Adrian dominates with his height – the tallest guy in Tala
Leah aka “Low Key” shows her mad defence
“There’s no where to go.”


Fade-a-way jump shot by Marc
While some of us play basketball, some of us bond with the kids through “limbo”
Melissa buys some cotton candy
“I’ll miss you boy”
We can’t believe we moved all  of  these rocks


“Wanna play tag?”
“So much fun, who needs TV?”
Not into basketball, tag, or playing in sand…..there’s always karaoke!


Dancing and karaoke go hand-in-hand
Did you know the karaoke machine was created in the Philippines?
Everyone gets involved


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This cutie might make it into Mimi’s luggage 🙂
We create a game in the sand
Objective: get a rock into the cup
If you get a rock in the cup, you’ll receive a prize.
Lots of prizes (candy) to go around
Random games of “Stella” seem to break out through out the day, every day 🙂
No football…….just find a coconut
Who needs wifi when you have some sand and some imagination
Brings a whole new meaning to “fun in the sun”
Thi is what our life in Tala looks like…’s going to be hard to leave
We have learned so much from these kids
We all receive origami hearts that say “Thank You”. So sweet.
We pack one luggage with tools to leave in Tala including a powered circular saw
The suit case will also contain toothbrushes, toothpaste, clothing, and toys.
We also pack a bag of donations for Avanai, our 2011-12 build site
This bag is for AKC, last year’s build site
Dexter gets a surprise from Julie and Tito Bernie
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A new pair of shoes!
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.
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.

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.
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.
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

Axile “Official Translator” Gerona – Bishop Marrocco Thomas Merton – Grade 12
Emily “The Wise One” Palaganas – Madonna – Grade 12
Mimi “Kids’ Fav” Tran – Bishop Allen – Grade 12
Geerthan “The Tipper” Ranjhan – Jean Vanier – Grade 12 – aka Basketball MVP – (and so many other nicknames)
Nicole “Perma-Smile” De Souza – Mary Ward – Grade 12
Dana “The Astronaut’s Wife” Salvador – St. Joseph’s College – Grade 12
Christine “Our Baby” Dometita – Mary Ward – Grade 9 – aka always making funny faces
Dyan “Product of Mama G” Uy – Jean Vanier – Grade 12 – aka Geerthan’s side kick
Tina “Lost my shoe in the clay” Ramgeet – Father John Redmond – Grade 12 – aka Libby’s caretaker
Libby “Rapunzel” Villa – Father John Redmond – Grade 12 – aka Brave aka best dishwasher on the team
Marc “The Music Teacher” Viado – Seneca College – aka Hardcore Duck Duck Goose Player
Jermin “Play the song and I know all the words” Bates – Father John Redmond – Grade 10
Mitchell “I’m in every picture” Pimenta – Brebeuf – Grade 12
Kaisha “needs longer shorts” Ayienga – Father John Redmond – Grade 11
Melissa “Digging Queen” Mathieu – Mary Ward – Grade 12
Leah “Low Key” Valenzuela – St. Joseph’s College – Grade 12
Jillian “Where’s number 16” Maniquis – Maddona – Grade 12
John “Avoid Physical Work” Samson – Don Bosco – Grade 12
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.
We give our hardhats to the members of the community that helped us build
Julie gives her’s to Dexter – her painting mentor
Each leader gives their safety helmet to a special friend
Digging wouldn’t be the same without Aldrin
These guys taught us so much. We will miss them.
We will never forget you!
Did Aldrin get 2 hardhats?
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!
Spectators have a great view from the sand pile
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.
Adrian almost gets blocked from behind but he’s way too tall!
Every so often we need to push the rim up because it’s gets bent downwards
Aldrin with some fierce defence on Adrian – the 2 tallest guys in Tala
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
And sometimes, Mike even plays defense (sometimes)


Over Mitch’s extended hand but Adrian is ready to collect the rebound
Mitch is totally faked out by this pass
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Let’s analyse this play – Yup, Mitch TOTALLY got faked out!
The sun is going down and neither Canada nor The Philippines has scored 5 points
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.




11 thoughts on “Day 12 – Part 1 – Last Day of Build (Day Time)

  1. As always, all that you did has left me in awe…

    God Bless your efforts!

    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.” “We must have a theme, a goal, a purpose in our lives. If you don’t know where you’re aiming, you don’t have a goal. My goal is to live my life in such a way that when I die, someone can say, she cared.” – Mary Kay Ash ****You can always email but a call or a visit will get a quicker response***** ________________________________________

  2. All of us gave it all we got on the last day here. As hard as we all worked, looking through these photos reminds me of that warm feeling we all felt in that community. Nothing can compare to the care that we were given for helping them out as well as the happiness they brought us with their presence. I’ll always remember Hailie coming up to me and playing in the sand. Seeing how friendly he approached me was amazing 🙂 More that two months ago now, still feeling the withdrawals everyday.

  3. This day was especially memorable for all of us. Going through it again reminds me how such an incredible experience it was and how it continues to impact me. There was so much energy, despite knowing that this was our last day in Tala. Getting to share our time and our energy was definitely nothing compared to how welcoming and accommodating they were to us. Missing them every day. 🙂

  4. The last day at the build site was the most emotional day. This was the last day we got to see the people and children in this community, everyone was so generous and nice. Everyday I am missing them. This was the day, I felt most sad, because I didn’t want to leave this community and the people in. It was so fun and such a great experience playing with children, working with the worker and etc.

  5. We’ve made it to the end of our trip. Although the fact that it was our last day on the build site did not stop us from working our hardest and getting everything that needed to be accomplished done. It was definitely a hard day as it sunk in that it would be the last time we would be welcomed by such beautiful and generous people. They have been so kind to us, their hospitality and generosity will definitely be missed. I hope we were able to make a difference in their lives as they did in ours.

  6. Our last day in Tala was so bittersweet. Although it was a super fun day, I think we were all pretty bummed out that it was going to be our last day at the build site, and not to mention our last day in the Philippines 😦 we did however make the best of it. The ice cream we had, though the smallest cone of ice cream I have ever had, was soo good! I must have had like 3 of them lol 🙂 overall it was a really great day to end of our trip!

    On another note, oh my gosh those nicknames under our helmet photos are sooo embarassing :$ they are hilarious though! My only question is, where’s mike’s photo and what nickname should we give him? aha payback time 😀 x

  7. This was so much fun. Even tho it was our last day :(. There was an even number of ups and downs to the day. It was so hard saying good bye to the children we had just gotten to know and to the workers and the lovely women who cooked for us every day! We wrote on our helmets and gave them to the people who were working there, and got to do a lot more playing with the kids before saying our final good byes. Already miss them so much! 🙂 ❤

  8. This last build day in Tala was honestly so full of mixed emotions. The whole day was amazing and the party at the end of the day was awesome, but since it was our very last day I was also ready to cry any second. I was definitely going to miss the people’s generosity and hospitality towards us, and their positive presence that kept us all going. I’m so happy that we got to leave them a few building supplies and tools that will help them continue on. Even though it has been about 7 months since we were there I will never forget a single moment that I shared with such amazing and inspirational people! 💘

  9. There was a lot of mixed feelings about this day between motivation, determination, excitement, and sadness. We had a lot to do throughout the day, and we really wanted to give it our all because it was our last day to volunteer and help out. But then at the end of the day, we got to enjoy and celebrate with the community. It was really heart warming that the community was thanking us for our efforts with this grand celebration, when in fact we were the ones who should be thanking them. They provided us with an incredible opportunity for discovery and inspiration, and they showed us the importance of happiness and gratitude within the little things. Their positivity shined amongst all of us, and provided us with an amazing life lesson to keep with us forever.

  10. Our last day of building was sad. We all worked very hard in various areas. From the previous day I just wanted to say Shoutout to JP for making Dyan and I the sweetest origami rose! Honestly, it was such a great experience! We all put a lot of work into painting, pickaxing, cleaning, and so forth. It was tiring but we all had such an amazing time. Can’t believe we’re all done and have to go back to Canada 😦

  11. It was so nice to see that we were giving even more donations to the people in the other communities. I also thought it was a great idea to give gifts to Dexter and the Titas that cooked all the meals. I felt so sad that that was the last day of actual work for us. I bonded with so many of the people in Tala. The very last time dancing Shake It Off with a community was sad but it kept me dancing all night trying to make the experience last longer. I defiantly remember that ice cream though!!! Ube and cheese? The craziest ice cream I’ve ever had ;P

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