Aklan Trekkers


Pagbueoligan Para sa Taroytoy: Aklan Trekkers’ 3rd Upland Outreach Mission Brings Transformative Impact to Sitio Taroytoy by Empowering the Community with Knowledge and Skills Amidst the Pandemic

While crisis like the CoViD-19 pandemic can bring out the worst in people, in the Philippines, people always come together to help one another displaying the innate Filipino characteristic called Bayanihan.

We, the Aklan Trekkers, a non government organization, took it to the next level as we united as one to display the Bayanihan spirit once more. For the third time, we organized a call for ‘pagbueoligan’ or bayanihan and went upland to make an impact to the lives of the communities in need. At this time of pandemic, the beneficiaries are from Sitio Taroytoy, one of the remotest villages in Aklan located in Brgy. Manika, Libacao.

To get there from Brgy. Manika, it requires long hours of walk, around 7 hours of trekking, climbing, and numerous river-crossings.

The main purpose of the outreach was to bring concrete change by sharing knowledge and skills to the community as well as the distribution of school supplies to the students, parents, and teachers of Taroytoy Elementary School also known as the last mile school, one of the farthest schools in the Division of Aklan.

Tagged as the little Baguio of Aklan, Sitio Taroytoy is an upland frontier and eyed as the summer capital in the Central Philippines due to its high elevation, hilly terrains, thick forest covers, and cold weather.

Realizing we could do more, we also took it as an opportunity to extend learnings by teaching them technical farming and abaca handicraft-making as livelihood opportunities.

Proving much can be done through ‘pagbueoligan,’ we were also able to bring more than a hundred thousand worth of relief goods for the community like groceries, slippers, dry bags, raincoats, clothes, and many more.

Day 1

Indeed, Filipinos have proven and demonstrated that the worst situations tend to bring out the best in people and the organizations to which they belong.

Through small gestures of kindness and compassion, brings out countless moments of hope to make sure that in this unprecedented crisis, we are not alone.

On the first day, organizers and volunteers took the risk to reach their beneficiaries. Although the long hours trek may sound exhausting, everyone was still eager and excited to hike the mountain to reach the community, to share the donations, their stories and knowledge, games, and of course, to bond and make friends with the community.

Day 2

We called this a ‘day of community immersion, preparation, and socialization.’ We made a courtesy call to the tribe leader and elders and set up all the necessary preparations including the plotting of garden, fencing of poultry area, and pre-orientation to the parents and teachers. Volunteers also brought their bond to the next level through a socialization and feasted over native lechon which according to the teachers was their first time to have for a gathering.

Day 3

And in the most awaited day of the outreach mission, children and parents
excitedly gathered in Taroytoy Elementary School to finally receive all the donations and surprises we brought for them.

Organizers and volunteers were all busy to give the most unforgettable experience to the community from setting up the venue, cooking the meals, arranging all the donations, and other neccessary preparations.

Before the program began, minimum health standards were properly observed by conducting body temperature check, providing face masks to all parents, guardians, and children; and advising to observe physical distancing at all times.

During the program, the people of Sitio Taroytoy took pride of their culture by sharing their talent in komposo.

Cultural presentation didn’t end just yet as parents also performed Barok, their traditional folk dance in Libacao. Showing what they got, children also performed barok dance, and of course, volunteers did not let the opportunity to pass to also learn the dance in an instant.

On the same day, volunteers also conducted livelihood program by holding handicraft-making lecture-demonstration using abaca fiber like bracelets, dreamcatchers, and other accessories.

Meanwhile, children attended psychosocial activities with volunteers together with the assistance of teachers of Taroytoy Elementary School

Although it rained for a while, the day ended with smiles and laughter as everyone jncluding children and parents received their gifts from donations we collected from sponsors and kindhearted individuals.

Our sincere gratitude and utmost thanks to all the sponsors of Project Wampipti, Project Drybag, and School Supplies Drive as well as to all donors of cash and goods!

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