3 Simple Ways to Help Eradicate Hunger and Poverty in the Philippines

Hunger and poverty have always been partners in our society. The poverty level goes higher every year despite the effort of a few who are willing to learn financial freedom. But since we couldn't solve financial literacy overnight, let's focus on 3 simple ways to help eradicate hunger and poverty in the Philippines.

Pay It Forward
Filipinos are helpful especially to those authentically needy, like children from all over the country who have no source for one of their basic needs, food. The good news is we can help eradicate hunger and poverty by participating in or contributing to “Pay It Forward”.

Pay It Forward is a program which adopts the pay-it-forward attitude. This is the path where sharing begins with you. It is initiated by Al Fabon, who handles Millennium Development Goals monitoring, wherein the goals are set to be achieved by 2015. 

According to Al, Goal 1 and 2 truly made sense to him, which prompted the launching of the Pay It Forward program. His aim, to eradicate malnutrition within the month in Banton, Romblon is one of many.

3 Simple Ways to Pay It Forward:

1. Share your blessings
Donate a VitaMeal Bag and provide a child with one nutritious meal each day for a month. One VitaMeal Bag costs Php1,200.


2. Give your time
Volunteer by helping to facilitate the program. The initial weigh-in of children and serving of first meal is happening on December 26, 2011 in Banton, Romblon. The program will run until January 25, 2012 where in another weigh-in will be done.

3. Spread the word
If you neither have both finances and time, then spread the news so other people may be informed about this wonderful opportunity to give and to help feed these kids. Like it on Facebook, Tweet it, blog about it, any way you know to let it be known to others. 

Generosity Revolution

Feeding of children will be done by Barangay Nutrition Scholar (BNS) in each barangay. Parents will be provided with Pay It Forward monitoring card which the parents need to present to the BNS each time the beneficiary gets his/her meal. The BNS in return will validate the monitoring card each time he/she provides the meal to the beneficiary. This monitoring card ensures that the program will be taken seriously by the parents. Besides, ending malnutrition is truly a collaborative effort.

All donors will each be assigned with a child. By assigning a donor to each recipient, we keep our accountability to the donors. Should donations exceed 54 bags, the program will rerun the following month after completing the monitoring and evaluation of the first month of program implementation. Banton, Romblon is an island municipality in region IV-B. It is a 5th class municipality with more or less seven thousand populations. Banton is the birthplace of the Father of Philippine Independence.

Sweet Says... Give children the hope for a brighter day by starting with a nutritious meal. Creating a ripple effect through an act of giving will mean the world to them. Not only do we feed them physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. The message will be clear to them that they too deserve to be blessed.

Donate a VitaMeal bag now for these Bantoanon children:
Account Name: Alvaro F. Fabon Jr.
BPI Savings Account Number: 3909-1879-22
BPI Branch: Sta.Mesa

To know more about Pay It Forward, Click HERE!

3 Victorious "Give It A Try" Facebook Contests

I couldn’t recall when it started, but “give it a try” has been a part of my motto list for a long time now. From the classic cliches of not achieving success when you didn't even bother to act, I have learned to remind myself that success happens when you are willing to give it a try. However, this is not applicable to everything. We have to learn how to discern which opportunity we should say Yes or No to.

Joining a Facebook contest is a chance to say Yes to give it a try. Of course, we could only hope for the best since a lot of Facebook users’ common interest is to win especially on great deals. I have known myself to be quite unlucky when it comes to raffles or contests, but I figured that there’s nothing to lose. It was so easy to respond to a question that you know exactly how to answer.

So far, I just said “give it a try” to three Facebook contests.

The first was with myfoodtrip. It is an online directory of restaurants, bars, and cafes in the Philippines. 

The myfoodtrip admin posted this on their wall, “I'm going to Korea for the holidays and will bring back pasalubong for one lucky fan of MFT. Tell me what you want and I'll find a way to pick one and get it to you when I get back in Jan. ps. Don't send me bankrupt.” 

Out of nowhere, I replied with “ haven't been to korea. haven't got anything from korea. this could be the first. AND this could be my last "first time" for this year. AND I THANK YOU in advance. hehehe! advance merry Christmas! have a great trip! ^_^” 

didn't have an update until March 14, when Leslie Gabe sent me a private message. She surprised me with a “Congratulations!” and announced that I've been picked as a winner of their special Korea promo. 

The prize? A cute Korean phone accessory with one Swedish Massage gift certificate from Blue Water Day Spa in Eastwood, Libis.

The second was with Binalot Fiesta Foods. A Filipino fastfood known for their yummy salted egg and tomato side dish with your selected variant with rice, wrapped up in a banana leaf.

Binalot Fiesta Foods had this “Wagi Wednesday” contest, and the question I answered that day was, “I love Binalot because…” 

I answered “I love Binalot because it served as one of my inspiration to enter social entrepreneurship (just like them) who helps others and the environment too. ^_^ most of all; I love the classic itlog na pula with kamatis. Now im hungry. Thanks!” 

The prize? A native tampipi with two bottles of Binalot Fiesta Foods’ Adobo Flakes and an earth bag printed with “Hindi ako plastic!”

The third was Cravings’ First Food Festival. “Cravings” is a restaurant that is famous for their sumptuous and delectable meals, moreover, its unlimited coffee and cake promo, which a lot of Filipinos love.

It was a contest announced on their Facebook page wherein they will award 5 winners with a romantic dinner for two. All contestants need to do is to Like their Facebook page, to fill up a unique answer to “My Cravings Dream is…”, and to receive the most likes.

My answer “Earn passive income to build a social enterprise that promotes green living and provides employment to people and single parents” only got 35 Likes. I am not sure if they really liked it or because I have been posting the link on my wall to promote it.  

Sweet Says... In life, when I get anxious or fearful, I think about these three victorious "give it a try" moments  that I have through Facebook contests. These continuously remind me that we can achieve success if we tell ourselves we can make it. That 1% possibility of you achieving your goal is equivalent to a 100% success. Attract success, give it a try. You'll never know how many victories would be unlocked when you take that one step to act.

You may visit these three generous favorites of mine or like them on Facebook. 
Click here:
*photos courtesy of Binalot & Cravings

Doing Something Good Is Great: A Dinacuan Outreach in Malasiqui, Pangasinan

Last Sunday was the scheduled outreach mentioned on my previous post "What You Can Do to Help the Kids of Dinacuan in Malasiqui, Pangasinan". It was more or less a 4-hour drive if you take the SCTEX (Subic - Clark - Tarlac Expressway). I was so excited that heading there without even a 15-minute nap from my night shift is possible.

Being awake for more than 24 hours is nothing new to me. I don’t do it regularly because I need to take care of myself to be able to help more people. But travelling to a new place, with a variety of views of the nature, makes me even more vigilant and super ecstatic.

There’s a downpour at first but we were lucky to be in a carpool with the accommodating couple Ghassan and Eve Geslani-Okal.

When we arrived, we stepped in on the rest house where the summer classes and the weekend preaching take place. The officers greeted us with a warm smile and a handshake. We saw the beautiful hand-made recycled parol acting as the chandelier and the miniature Christmas tree on the corner of the room. 

Dinacuan parol

"Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree..."

A few educational posters on their mini-library wall

Our lunch was waiting to fill us up. I had to take photos first because I could see a lot of action everywhere. Kids playing classic games as simple and fun as the local dodge ball, touching base, and so on. 

The Math Genius and an officer in the Youth Ministry

Playing ball

Oh how seriously cute you were, little girl!
"Talyase" - the big cooking pot usually used in provinces especially during big occasions

We washed our hands through the barrio’s water pump then enjoyed the sumptuous inihaw na Bangus (grilled milkfish) and Pinakbet.

Oanix's first water pump experience
Grilled Milkfish (inihaw na Bangus)

After lunch, I got to play “pagi” with some kids and started to befriend them. They enjoyed having their pictures taken to see how they look like. They ran a lot, smile at you then shy away, stood up then sat down, and laugh with each other.  

my fans club :)

We rested a bit and looked around the land. The fresh air was what I enjoyed the most. The carabao, wide field of grass, and a mount of haystack, were bonuses. 

That carabao could'nt run after me =P

Enjoying the "duyan"
The program started and everyone received His Word.

Singing "Happy Birthday" to Oanix, plus the pray over, hosted by Sis. Marilou
The Youth Ministry
The Ka-Nanayans
Talking with his dad in Dubai over the phone

We played some games, and then ended with a feast.

Look at Joseph's genuine happiness over a pin.
requesting more picture-taking
the not-so-shy-one, Abo and Mali
The "mukasim" look while eating the mini dalanghita.
Having observed the place, it occurred in me that they indeed lacked a lot of their basic needs. My nephew, who was celebrating his birthday in advance, was being observant too. He noticed how children were hungry, how the houses were native plain and simple, how totally different everything was than what we have from the urban lifestyle.

I felt happy that we achieved all our purpose there, to serve to these people by sharing our blessings and our precious time. Plus, my nephew learned a lot, gained new friends, realize what a comfortable and blessed life we all have, and practice the act of giving.  

Sweet Says… we would like to thank Sir Ernie Geslani, Eve Geslani-Okal, and Ghassan Okal for graciously accommodating us in Dinacuan. Through their noble intentions of putting up a wonderful place, these people of Dinacuan will not only receive generosity from others but will also become nurtured with the Word of the Lord. 

To the people of Dinacuan, thank you for welcoming us with warmth and kindness.

I also appreciate it when Ghassan thanked my nephew, Oanix, for his contribution by celebrating his birthday in Dinacuan. Ghassan said "You did something very good today" It meant a lot to me because I know for sure that this meaningful statement left a mark in Oanix's heart. This positive remark may caught Oanix off guard, but will stick on to him for the rest of his life - that doing something good, especially to and for other people, is great and makes God happy. 

For those who wish to coordinate with Eve should you have any intentions of sending help or celebrating your special occasions through the spirit of giving, kindly reach her through the number below.

Eve > +63908 6535025 
For more information on Quickcheck Lab, click HERE!
For more information on JCSOS/ Dinacuan, click HERE!

Why do you give?

Giving is everyone's opportunity to share the abundant blessings they receive.

The universe will pay you for what you give, according to Robert Shemin, New York Times Best Selling Author of 14 Books, Speaker, Wealth Coach, Real Estate Guru, Trainer, and Mentor. It was also implied on The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I strongly believe in that too. 

Giving isn't an obligation or a thing you just do to receive blessings. Giving is an act of spirituality that you do to others without expecting something in return. It will most certainly reward you for your kindness and generosity. The reward may not be given to you immediately, but it will come when you most needed it. The great thing is, when you give until it hurts, the rewards will overwhelm you doubled even tripled. That's because when we give, we share a part of who we are to that person. But sharing that part of us will never be empty, but will be filled with utter happiness.

courtesy of TheDoGoodDames
A tip from the "Pay It Forward" Facebook page created by a friend, Al Fabon Jr., says "Know that you always have enough. Much more than enough. The first key to Pay It Forward is Faith. The foundation of giving first is trusting the goodness of Life. Faith is such a powerful tool when it comes to experiencing Life and live it to the fullest. Once you being to the walk in Faith, you begin to share with the same Presence: unconditionally". 

Sweet Says...I give because it makes me so happy to be a part of someone's life. I will be posting more opportunities on receiving abundance through giving. Stay tuned!

I want to become a Starbucks Barista

I think that as far as work goes, a person wants to have not just a job but a career. It is a profession that you'd love to do and you're proud to have. Many of us, yes that includes me, consider the salary, if not the top priority but one of the important aspects in choosing a job.  Nowadays, channeling my thoughts to long term goals and successful endeavors, I consider becoming what I have always been curious of becoming... a Barista. 

It was never an ambition from childhood though, and I didn't even consider tasting their coffee before. For me, Starbucks coffee was for the elites. I would always tell myself that I can always get the same experience on the classic 3-in-1 instant coffee on a sachet. I was dead wrong. 

When I started working in a call center in Makati, a friend let me sip on his Mocha Frappuccino. I must admit that I fell in love with it rather quickly than expected most especially when I tasted their Rhumba Frappuccino. 

My own Starbucks Caramel Macchiato graffiti

My most favorite Starbucks branch is the one located at 6750 Ayala, Makati. The ambiance is oh so perfect that staying there is as comfortable as when you are really at home minus the television and the bed. I spent quality time with people I love there. We just hang out and chill, talk about things that made us laugh out loud or even made us seriously down to business. 

I thought to myself, how as it like to become a Starbucks Barista? I knew a couple of people who worked as a barista but I was not able to talk to them and ask that question. I think that to be a barista is so cool that you get to enjoy your coffee for free, serve customers with their delectable choice of Starbucks coffee, and work at a place that is heaven to a lot of people especially coffee lovers.

Wondering how becoming a barista will make me successful?

Stay tuned!

What You Can Do to Help the Kids of Dinacuan in Malasiqui, Pangasinan

Pangasinan is often hit by storms so farming is an undependable source of livelihood. Most people live in dire poverty and the education source consists of public schools in the next barrios. Very few attend the public high school and even fewer go on to college.

There is a barrio in Malasiqui, Pangasinan called Dinacuan that have no running water and an electricity that fluctuates as the area is located within a remote area where people could be reached through a road from the main highway.  

Eve Geslani, a busineswoman who owns a drug testing laboratory named, Quickcheck Lab, in Caloocan, generously provides for this barrio using the profit from her business. 

Her dad grew up in Dinacuan and  have more or less a hectare of property there where he had a chapel built called, Jesus Christ Savior of Souls Christian Church, last August of 2010. Every Sunday, a Christian pastor conducts services there and then free snacks were served for the attendees. There are roughly forty families who join the lessons and services regularly. 

A sponsored college education with allowance of a full time religious worker stays in the Geslani rest house / chapel to teach more than fifty children of Dinacuan and to conduct bible studies and evangelism for the adults. There are regular lessons for children during the summer according to age group, with free meals per class included. The subject lessons consists of English, Math, GMRC, Filipino, Art, and Religion. 

Eve's family supplies Dinacuan with food and educational materials. The other portion of the rest house was recently opened as a library so that the youth may borrow books and may have a conducive place where they could study their lessons or gather for sessions or meetings.

The Geslani's main thrust is to provide intellectual, moral, and spiritual enlightenment to the people of Dinacuan and other nearby barrios. They teach both the parents and the children that poverty was neither solved by waiting for gifts nor by begging, but with diligence, hard work, and firm belief in God. 

In the future, Eve's family desires to register Dinacuan as a charitable institution, which requires a million pesos as capital. They also plan to expand the lessons to cover livelihood programs for parents who mostly depend on farming and odd jobs. Aside from these, they strive to have outreach programs, bigger chapel, separate library and a multi-purpose hall.

Sweet Says... Spreading good vibes through the act of generosity and kindness is a good way to teach a child in becoming a good person. My nephew will be celebrating his 10th birthday on Dinacuan this 18th of December, 2011. If you wish to share your blessings to the barrio of Dinacuan, I would be more than happy to send it to them for you. It is highly suggested to share food, clothing, educational materials, useful items such as but not limited to toothbrushes and slippers. You may leave a comment on this blog post or tweet me @iamsweetreyes.

If you're interested in sharing your momentous occasions with these kids, feel free to contact: Eve Geslani +63908 6535025 
For more information on Quickcheck Lab, click HERE!
For more information on JCSOS/ Dinacuan, click HERE!
*Photos courtesy of JCSOS Facebook page.

How A Quick Prayer Makes A Big Difference

When problems arise we usually turn to a confidant that you know you could depend on, or keeps secrets with, or will listen intently to whatever it is you're gonna say. Sometimes, telling our worries or heartaches to that somebody, helps a lot to ease the pain. But there are also times when that someone didn't react the way you expected to, making your emotions ignited with frustration or anger. It's just like when you hope for them to side with you or tell you you're right but didn't.

by Cia de Foto

One Sunday night, my dad, who got a stroke a year ago, was on his bed ready to sleep. My mom was watching one of the prime time episodes that she always keeps an eye on. My dad struggled to get up and was telling us a few phrases that he knows every time he wanted to say something, "To-mah-ting", "A-ko to-mah-ting", while pointing at the dining table. I got the message that he wanted to eat dinner again. Mom got her eyes widened and then nagged hysterically at my dad for being stubborn, gluttonous, and hopelessly irritating. Dad seemed to understand every word that my mom said. His expression changed as quickly as a stand fan turns its head from left to right, from teary-eyed sad to gritting-teeth mad. 

by Alyssa L. Miller

I tried everything I could to work diplomacy on my clock. Mediating was the best way I could think of to handle it. I calmed dad down by rubbing his chest gently, slightly feeling his heartbeat if it's palpitating hard. I begged mom to go upstairs and just let me handle dad's request. Shunning her was never the idea because I also wanted her to feel that she can say how she feels and that I am always there to listen. After all, mom has always been submissive, understanding, caring, and all the nice things a mom could be, until the ageing and exhaustion kicked in. 

I prepared dad's dinner part two then sat on a corner sofa. I was crying, stressed-out and saddened by the words my mom just delivered. Mom's emotional breakdown has been a monthly occurrence. I couldn't blame her since they have had a lot of unresolved issues on their marriage. 

While waiting for my dad to digest his meal, I stayed on the sofa and bowed my head. Still crying, I prayed to God that may He bring the Holy Spirit to guide my mom and dad. I wish for them to be able to sleep well that night and to forget that bitter moment. I prayed that may mom show more compassion to my dad for we didn't exactly know how he feels, sees, or even thinks. I prayed that may we understand His will more and be stronger for whatever it is to come. 

by bigbirdz

After my quick prayer, I cleared the dishes out and put my dad to sleep then told him goodnight and "I love you" while parting his hair on one side.

When I woke up the next day, I forgot about what had transpired from last night. Mom and I chatted over breakfast as we usually do, instead of her post-argument-handling which is typical sulking over more marital issues since 70's. She told me about how she suddenly remembered a couple of things last night. She was massaging her head with the ever reliable menthol ointment, Katinko, remembering the messages of Alvin Barcelona and Bo Sanchez from their previous Sunday talks in PICC. Mom decided to let it go and surrender that bitter moment to God. She decided to be happy, for tomorrow she will buy a set of powder detergent for her laundry, listen to the radio while arranging a few Christmas decors, and bathe the dogs. 

I smiled. My heart just felt awesome. It really worked! My quick prayer worked. God performs miracles even on the tiniest element of our lives. We just have to be faithful. We just have to believe and trust Him.

by Wes Miracle

Sweet Says... You have Someone more reliable and much easier to talk to. Someone who is available all the time. Someone who is always willing to listen wherever you are. Someone powerful and understanding that no matter what you say, He already knows. Yes, you know Who HE is and you know how to call Him. The best thing is that, whether your happy, mad, excited, depressed or whatever, just call on Him, for He is always ready for you.