“Thank God Santa Reached our Place!”

2 01 2011
Monday, 27 December 2010
Balakbak, Pito Benguet

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Teacher Nely smiling told me “Salamat sa Dios at si Santa ay nakarating dito!” after I have given her some used books and clothes I gathered from home. I replied back to her in a whisper that my Grannie will be glad too if she will only know the beneficiaries of her clothes.

Unexpectedly before we proceeded trekking to Simbunan where the main Outreach community lives, one of Teacher Nely’s daughters handed me a local multi-basket they call “kayabang”. With so much gusto, I received the gift and took a snap with the kids.

Feeding and Gift Giving Time

The same afternoon, Breadship Outdoors and ADUMS (Adamson University Mountaineering Society) headed by Pandecoco prepared the pancit as soon as we reached Simbunan, a 1-hr hike up from the main road. Crinkles on the other hand became the lead in the pancit distribution along with the other mountaineers.

As part of the local’s tradition, “tapue”, the local rice wine was on the table and I was tasked to take the first “tagay” drink. I did not have the second round of tapue. Thanks to the queue made by Team Leader (TL) Pandecoco who told me to start off with the gift giving. Crinkles, Monay and Oven divided the gifts (canned goods, sugar, rice, juice drink, noodles and some used clothes, bags) into 32 families, as advised by Manong Satur, the local host. Aileen of ADUMS on the other hand called in one by one the head of the family to accept the goodies.

We were all apologetic since we could only give to the community a little of what we have. But with wholehearted humility, the locals received our gesture with smile. They were very pleased with what we have given.

Jessica, the daughter of Manong Satur serenaded us with a religious Ilocano song “Ni Apo Dios Nga Namarsua” before calling off the night.

Leaving the Outreach Areas

The following morning I was surprised seeing Teacher Nely at the front door. Although she lives in Balakbak, outside Simbunan, she made sure that she will bid goodbye to us. After all, we both became our own Santa.


From Manila, take Tuguegarao bus route and get off Bambang Shell Station, Nueva Vizcaya. Preferably, take the Victory Bus Liner for safety reasons since this is a 7-hr bus ride from Manila Pasay.


The community need books for primary and secondary levels. School supplies and uniform will also be instrumental to the students’ learning since scarcity is very prominent. Simbunan community is hoping to have their community library as well. Any donors are very much welcome. Reply to this blog, if interested.


Benguet is located up north Luzon island. Hence, the weather tends to get cold especially during the months December to February. It is therefore advisable to bring jacket or the like. You also need to bring headlamp or flashlight since electric line is still not installed in Balakbak and Simbunan Pito areas as of this writing. (Installation of solar panel is also one key area for Outreach in this regard.)

Drinking water is safe but if you have a special stomach, bring your own water supply. Don’t forget some insect repellent.


Any outreach activities are welcome any time of the year. However, if you wish to connect with Breadship Outdoors or ADUMS, tag along during Christmas season. h




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: