Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Do Good Project : Rebuilding Lives of ST Haiyan (Yolanda) Survivors

Voluntourism is a concept of integrating volunteerism and tourism. It is traveling to a certain destination for a cause. It's where a traveler provides voluntary service while enjoying the traditional elements of travel such as geography, arts, culture, history and of course recreation. 

The Do Good Project was conceptualized to encourage voluntourism in the ST Haiyan affected areas in the Philippines, specifically in Eastern Visayas. The project was initiated by Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours in partnership with the Department of Tourism Region 8 through its Bangon Tours and other organizations with same zest to help rebuild lives of the typhoon Yolanda survivors.

Last week along with other bloggers, we joined the Do Good Project in Tacloban City. The project aimed to help the typhoon survivors rebuild their lives. It was really great to see the people smile especially the children despite the hardship they've been through after the super typhoon Haiyan hit their area. It's just good to see that they are now moving forward with their lives. They may have lost their houses and some of their relatives but through our collaborative effort we will help them rebuild their lives for a better future.

The Phases of the Do Good Project
The Do Good Project has three phases which ensures that a volunteer has a time to share and at the same time enjoy the beauty of Eastern Visayas. The first phase is to visit the affected areas of the typhoon, the second is the sharing/giving part and the third is debriefing.

A Visit to the Affected Areas of ST Haiyan
We started the Do Good Project by visiting the areas severely affected by ST Haiyan. It was devastating to see the damages brought by the typhoon. It was already months since it hit the area but you can still see how the people were displaced. We had a quick tour around Tacloban and Palo.
The Provincial Capitol of Leyte
A floating restaurant before typhoon Haiyan
Damaged properties at Leyte Park Resort Hotel
Sto. Niño de Tacloban Church
Off-shored ship
Another off shored ship in Tacloban
One of the mass graves in Palo, Leyte in front of San Joaquin Church
The mass grave and  the San Joaquin Church. Before we started the sharing part of the project we offered prayers and flowers to all the victims of ST Haiyan
Sharing to the Affected Communities
The second phase of the Do Good Project is about sharing to the community. Sharing does not always need to be monetary. You can share school supplies, clothes or simply share your skills and talent to the community. For this second phase of the project, we went to Barangay San Joaquin in Palo, Leyte to distribute bags, school supplies, clothes, toys and insect repellants. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Waray Bayaay for the bags and school supplies and AY Foundation for the insect repellants. It really felt great to see the children smile when they received the gifts.







Volunteer's Debriefing 
The third and last phase of the project is debriefing/de-stressing where you can choose a destination in Eastern Visayas to visit and have fun. Ours happened in Western and Eastern Samar. We visited Sohoton Natural Bridge National Park in Basey, Samar and then head our way to the historical town of Balangiga in Easter Samar. You don't have to worry about this phase because it is not the complex debriefing type of activity. It is incredibly simple, flexible and enjoyable. It is the part where you can share your experiences and have fun at the same time. This is where you can experience the beauty of Eastern Visayas' attractions. 
Cruising a scenic river in Basey, Samar on our way to Sohoton National Park
Panhulugan Cliff
A boat and a kayak at Sohoton National Park
Entrance of Sohoton Cave
One of the many stalactite formation inside the cave
Our guide encouraging us to use our imagination
A waterfall formation
With Ed of Pinas Muna and Mervz of Pinoy Adventurista

The way leading to Sohoton Natural Bridge. SInce it was low tide our boat cannot pass the channel so we just opted to go to Eastern Samar instead.


Leyte Park Resort, Marabut, Samar
View of Eastern Samar


Balangiga Church in Eastern Samar
Kandongos Falls in Marabut, Samar
Overall, it was a success. We were able to accomplished our mission. You too, can help and participate in the Do Good Project. It is something worthwhile and I'm sure you'll have fun too. If you want to take part of the advocacy please contact Ms. Ludette Ruiz of Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours at +63 918 938 3960 or you may email her at  ludette@calllezaragosa.com

Make a Difference. Experience Eastern Visayas and Become a Voluntourist!

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