"It was a fun and inspiring experience. Seeing the Mangyan kids laugh and have fun is priceless. I am reminded that no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted," employee volunteer MJ Erispe sums up. Against stormy weather and constraints in distance and logistics, MicroSourcing volunteers traveled to Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro to hand over school supplies to Mangyan children from an Alangan tribe in the area of Macambang.
Employees from all of MicroSourcing’s Manila office sites contributed to the school kits brought to Sablayan. Teams pooled together resources and shopped for school supplies, while some assembled actual school kits in colorful packages. In the end, over seven boxes of school supplies, comprising more than 3,000 writing materials like notebooks and pencils, and about Php5,000 cash donations were raised for Mangyan children.
Last June 30, seven MicroSourcing volunteers hiked up a mud-covered trail to visit the Alangan tribe of Mangyans in Macambang. The community’s elders assisted in transporting the boxes and once past the hillside, they were warmly welcomed by the tribe’s leader and resident pastor. "Maligayang pagdating mga kapatid," (Welcome my brothers and sisters), greeted Gomez Palinawan, the Mangyans’ tribe leader, sharing that they always address city locals as "brother". Volunteers, MicroSourcing partners in Sablayan, and their new Mangyan friends joined together to share a meal of bread and noodles. Afterwards, they were entertained by talented community members with songs about happiness and faith. One of them is a second year high school student who sang a local worship song and shared her dream of taking up a nursing course in college.
The team conducted more activities to better get to know the Mangyans. For fun and prizes, energetic kids participated in familiar party games of bring-me and relay with an odd twist, culminating to a gunny sack race in a muddy field. The kids played against the volunteers and everyone enjoyed cheering for their team. At the end of the day, volunteers distributed school kits for all 80 students in the community. Donations of books, encyclopedias, and teaching materials from supporting organizations Diksyonaryo Atbp and RockEd Philippines were also turned over to the daycare center in Macambang. As a closing remark, Gomez Palinawan used simple yet touching words to thank their visitors, "Salamat sa kapatiran. Sana ay magkita pa tayo muli." (Thank you for the brotherhood. I hope we see each other again.)
Overall, no one can describe the experience better than the employee volunteers themselves. For Jocelyn Solito, it was her first time to travel for over 12 hours by boat and by bus. She said the effort served a worthy cause, "I learned a lot from the Mangyans. We should always be thankful for all the blessings that we enjoy and work to help those who are less fortunate. For my first time of travelling to cross seas, I knew it was for a very good purpose."
Volunteers also found inspiration in the Mangyan children. "We cannot hold a torch to light another person's path without brightening our own, said Ben Sweetland, and this best describes my experience with the Mangyans in Mindoro. Sometimes, I become too bent on my own frustrations and I complain a lot. But the Mangyan kids showed me how blessed I am. They find joy in the simplest things and they show admirable faith. I hope that we at least lightened some of their burdens and inspired the children to pursue their education. I really hope to visit them again and hopefully more volunteers can join us then," said Jackielyn Topacio.
Sharing a more personal story, MJ Erispe recounted, "I met a little boy when we visited a Mangyan community in Mindoro. Because he isn’t in school yet and won’t need school supplies, I gave him one of my treasured toys. He never said a word; he affectionately clutched the little tiger in his arms. After the activity, I saw him running home with the little tiger in his hand. It was such a heartwarming sight. Thank you, little Junar. I hope you will enjoy playing with your new toy, Baby Zkunky."
Hazel Bacabac expressed gratefulness for the contributions of employees, "Spending time with the Mangyan community opened my heart and made me realize that we are so blessed with everything that we have. Microsourcing is equally blessed with so many kind-hearted employees who share their resources to our Mangyan brothers and sisters."
MicroSourcing believes in the power of education to transform lives and create meaningful change in the world. Apart from giving out school supplies to indigenous children and public school students, the company’s CSR arm also invests in promising high school and college scholars. MicroSourcing will continue to collaborate closely with its employee volunteers and partner nonprofit organizations to further the cause of quality education for all Filipino children.