group pic zambales
Photo by Patty Bellido

July 2017.

What an eventful month. So tired. Seriously. Ugh. But not giving up!

A high school friend of mine got married. I graduated from a short Sales course at UP. I am preparing for the upcoming sem for my MA schoolwork.

All these just added to my already hectic writing job at GMA. But hey, no complains! Am just glad to be doing something rather than nothing.

But for me, the main event of the month is our outreach. Over a year ago, I joined a retreat organized by The Feast Bay Area. I was expecting it to be the usual religious retreat like what I have experienced in Catholic school. Meaning a longer version of a bible study session where you quote passages from the Holy Book and interpret and relate them to your life.


Instead, that day was more than that. What welcomed me was a series of talks and activities encouraging self-discovery through psychology, neuro-linguistic programming and… sheer fun! And I’m lucky to have shared it with 80+ others who were also searching for some answers in their lives.

Fast forward last week, we did more than just celebrate our first anniversary as a batch. By the way, we call ourselves Team Enlighten. (enl19then, we are batch 19 of the Live Life retreat).

To mark this milestone, we organized an outreach for the kids of Looc Elementary School in Zambales. And by “we,” I mean “they”. There’s no better way than to admit that I’ve been MIA from the team for most of the time. It’s something I’m not proud of. But hey, I do volunteer from time to time. And I did last weekend! U-huh.


There were around 300 kids from Kinder to Grade 7, all below the age of 13. It was a rainy Saturday morning. And it rained non-stop. It wasn’t easy to unload the donations including school supplies and the hygiene kits, as well as the food and snacks. Because we got wet, and it was slippery.


It was a challenge, too, to get to one room to the other because of the downpour. We had prepared several games for the kids so we had to go room-to-room for that. I also had to do the photo documentation so I went around several times.

But not even the rain can dampen our spirit. Honestly, I did not hear any complain from anyone of us. We wear wearing our smile, just happy about what we were doing. Because that day was not about us.

And here’s where I tell you why you should volunteer, at least once in your life.

  1. Volunteer so that you’ll know it’s not all about you.

When we’re too engrossed about our daily routine, our stressful work, our never-ending deadlines, and some toxic people in our life, sometimes we become self-centered. In the sense that all we think about is how things will benefit us. How they’ll be of help to us. It’s about me-me-me.

But when we volunteer, the perspective shifts. It’s what we can do to help others, without expecting anything in return. No need for any monetary compensation,  recognition. By volunteering, we realize that we exist not just for ourselves. But we exist because we can make other lives more meaningful. We can make kids happy. We can inspire them envision a brighter future. There are many ways we can help other people outside our work, our home, if only we could just dedicate time for it.

2. Volunteer because it feels damn good.

Why does it feel good? For me, it’s that feeling of being high. Because I get to see other people happy. And when we see other people happy because of what we do, we just feel good about it. It’s priceless.

3. Volunteer to give back or pay it forward.

I’ve always been an advocate of quality education. So when I heard about extending our help to these kids, it was a no-brainer. In college, I was a scholar at a city-funded university. I’ve always been thankful for Manila and its diligent and honest taxpayers for that. At a time when tuition fees were really expensive, I got to study because of PLM. I am forever grateful to my professors, mentors, the university staff and personnel.

I’m nowhere what you can call someone who already made it big. But I find time to give back or pay it forward, whenever I can. This was another opportunity to do that.

Those are my top 3 reasons why we should volunteer at least once.


enlighten pic
Photo by Patty Bellido
monet group pic
Photo by Claire del Rosario

I know you can think of more. Share it in the comment section below. 🙂

In behalf of our team, thank you so much to those who helped us and donated in kind or financially to make this outreach possible.

Thank you very much to the following:

Team Enlighten & Team Overflow

Thank you to our sponsors: PLM- Film Society, TOSS Travel and Tours, Chocovron.

My friends: Cherry Aggabao, Ma’am Ludz Labagnoy, Macky Macarayan, Kimberly Ilaya, Karina Reyes, April Garcia, Jed Macapagal, Ms. Che Ingles, Riechelle Garces.