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Living the dream of gardening in the City

“Imposible yan, mahirap mag tanim dito sa siyudad. Paano kami magatatanim eh wala nga kaming tirahan?”

Nanay Maricel Luyas, from Brgy. Catmon, Malabon City is one of the beneficiaries of Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Homeless Street Families (MCCT-HSF) who received a starter kit for urban gardening after the Urban Gardening Demonstration and Distribution of Gardening tools for MCCT-HSF beneficiaries, an activity funded through Social Support Intervention held on February 12, 2019.

Nanay Maricel Luyas looking at her garden

The 48 years old MCCT-HSF member is one of the informal settlers at Brgy. Catmon, Malabon City who was subject for relocation. Regardless of their present family situation, she was able to apply what she had learned during the demonstration and proved that if there is a will, there is a way in urban gardening. Nanay Maricel started seeding in front of their humble home after the three-day activity. She and her family enjoyed the fruit of her labor as they were able to harvest leafy vegetables which only proved that a family can live through Do It Yourself (DIY) gardening. She harvested mustard this first week of February and shared some of it to her friends in the community. Presently, she has mustard, onion, tomatoes, okra, malunggay and cabbage being cultivated in front of her house.

City Link – Community Organizer, Mr. Rovheen Conrad Bandola and Nanay Maricel Luyas during the interview

Gardening became part of Nanay Maricel’s life. It requires time, patience and passion to maintain her “sanctuary”. She emphasized the need of time because every morning, she waters the plants. It also serves as her morning exercise. It requires patience because it will take weeks and/or months before harvesting. She also added that gardening is also her stress-reliever. It makes her busy and whenever she has no laundry work, she attends on her garden.  

When asked if she encountered any challenges in taking care of her garden, she said that no amount of challenge can make her stop doing her passion.  

“Sana magkaroon pa ulit ng ganong aktibiti”. For passionate farmer like her, she hoped to be part of another activity on urban gardening to further increase her knowledge about it. “Maganda kasi, hindi na kami bumibili. Diyan na lang kami kumukuha,” she added.  

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Haven for children joins the “Santos Knight Frank Get into Rugby Junior Touch Rugby Festival”

The Haven for Children joined in the celebration of the “Santos Frank Get into Rugby Junior Touch Rugby Festival” by participating in the activities last February 9,2019 held at Southern Plains. Canlubang Laguna, Tuloy Foundations, Parañaque Eagles, Tuloy sa Don Bosco and Santos Frank Knight Mavericks also joined the activity.

Touch Rugby refers to games derived from rugby football in which the players do not tackle each other instead touch their opponents using their hands on any part of the body, clothes or even the ball. A formal, competitive variety known as touch developed from rugby league and now exists as sport in its own right. In addition, touch rugby games are played as training activities for rugby league union, a safer variant of rugby, particularly in schools and junior clubs and as informal social sport.

Touch rugby was introduced by the well-known group Philippine Rugby Football union Inc. Since then, the game became popular to the residents of Haven for Children wherein the children enjoyed and loved playing the game. The sport helps build the children’s self-esteem, increase their socialization skills, communication skills, teamwork and their leadership skills.

The children gained experiences which are precious than the prize they received.  


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Happiness in gardening

The Tulip Parent Group proudly shows their garden

“If you want to be happy for a lifetime, be a gardener.” This quote may relate to the feelings of Pantawid Pamilya Parent Group named Tulip  which has 28 members who were involved in Urban Gardening at Gulod Novaliches, Quezon City. The group felt overwhelming happiness every time they visit or monitor their plants which they treated like their children. This worthwhile activity started in 2017 and until today, with pride, they manage to maintain their sanctuary. Most of their insets are chili and eggplants. The Tulip Parent Group decided to sell their harvested chili which gave income to the group members. This day to day activity is considered a blessing to them as it became sources of income as well as food for their family.  

In two years of the garden’s development, the Tulip group encountered challenges especially during rainy season which almost ruined all their plants. They just motivated each other that they will get through this as these are all part of the farmers’ journey.  Despite of this challenge, they continuously do their passion and devoted more time and effort to make their “haven” as one of the best urban gardens in Quezon City.

“Who said it is impossible to plant in the Urban Area? Urban Gardening is possible and it can be established if you are willing to give yourself and be patient enough to take good care of your plants like your own children. Surely, it will lead to positive results,” said by the members of Tulip Parent Group.

These lines describe how a vision can be realized through the active participation and dedication of the members of the community as shown by the Tulip Parent Group. ###

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Math Week Celebration at Marillac Hills

In line with the celebration of the Math week, the Educational Service of Marillac prepared activities for the elementary and high school students of Marillac Hills- Jose Fabella Memorial School to participate in the different activities held last January 30-31, 2019 at Marillac Hills covered court.

The Math week celebration aims to enhance and maximize the mathematical skills of the students as well as to improve their skills in problem solving with the theme, “Mathematics for International Competitiveness: Maximizing Skills toward Excellence”.  Different activities were arranged which include; Math Race, Math Loop, Math Wizard and Mathalino Challenge.

The two-day activity started on the 30th of January 2019, with the Math Race competition and Math Loop wherein both activities practices the children’s ability to answer mathematical equations correctly in minimal time supervision.  On the second day, Math wizard and the Mathalino Challenge were played by the residents/ students. In this activity, the students got to use their ability in solving problems with the help of the choices provided.

Winners of the contests were acknowledged and awarded last February 4, 2019 after the Flag raising ceremony at the Marillac Hills covered court.


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AISHA SABRAL STORY: Life of a Sama-Bajau in the Metro

“Every cloud has a silver lining” an old saying that resembles the journey of Aisha Sabral, a Sama-Bajau living in the streets of Manila. She became a member of Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Homeless Street Families (MCCT-HSF) under Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.  The MCCT was a program that accommodates homeless street families, Indigenous People in Geographically Isolated Areas as well as Itinerant Indigenous People.

Living in the streets of Malate, Aisha experienced to be soaked in the rain, deprived of basic needs and discriminated.  Adapting to the bustling Metro was not easy for the Sama-Bajau.  Their traditional ways of life were far too different in the mainstreamed society thus, resorting to other means to survive like begging.  The girl experienced to play “tambol” and hop-in to every jeepney they see just to earn money and to survive. All of these might still be happening right now if they were not reached out by the Department through the MCCT.

Aisha Sabral performed “ Kulintangan”

When Aisha was included in the program, she was scared at first because she taught that the objective of the program is to bring them back to Zamboanga where armed conflicts and lack of employment opportunities were present. One of the provisions of the program to the homeless members like Aisha is the provisions of Alternative Family Home (AFH) and other Social Service Interventions depending on their need.  On April 2015, she was recommended to avail the AFH and recommended to work as a Street Assistant last October to December of the previous year. She was described as a good worker who did her job well and delivered reports on time. Currently, Aisha is a Day Care Assistant at Barangay 704, endorsed to Capital Assistance under LGU and Livelihood assistance under Heleos Foundation, one of the Department’s partners. Meanwhile, her husband, Allan Sabral is selling hand-made accessories.

Aisha Sabral actively participates in different activities concerning Sama-Bajaus such as fora, consultation dialogues and among others. She represented the Sama-Bajau in the recently held Forum of Indigenous Peoples. She even performed the traditional dance called Kulintangan on occasions to promote their rich culture.

“Kailangang magsikap at huwag sayangin ang tulong na aming natatanggap ngayon. Hindi kailangang umasa lamang sa natatanggap na tulong mula sa gobyerno sapagkat alam kong ito’y pansamantala lamang dahil sa mga susunod na panahon, ibang kapatid kong Sama-Bajau naman ang matutulungan ng programa,” Sabral emphasized when she was interviewed.###

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Haven for Children celebrates 15 years of Dynamic and Responsible service for the children

January 18, 2019 was another day to celebrate the existence of the institution to each resident at the Haven for Children. This day marked a momentous milestone as the Center reached its 15 years of providing healing and empowerment to former street children 13 years old and below who are exposed and recovering from substance abuse.

Officer-In-Charge Ms. Catherine Taleño welcomed the guests, sponsors, Center’s staff and most especially, the children, by sharing the theme, “Maagap at Mapagkalingang Serbisyo tungo sa Matatag na kinabukasan ng mga Kabataan”.

As the program continues, Mr. Benedict R. Son, a former Haven for Children resident shared his heart-warming success story. He was a street dweller, scavenger and a child with lots of vices. He was reached-out and brought to the Center and was given hope to change his life in order to achieve his dreams. He was separated from his parents and siblings when their house was struck by fire. Ben also confessed on his hardships and struggles upon starting his new life inside the institution. He never wanted to study and even show his rude attitude towards his co-residents and his social workers however; the center’s staff never stops caring about him and always ensure that he feels the utmost love and belonging. That is the time that Ben learned to value the people around him. Endless gratitude to his teachers, medical staff, house parents and social workers was offered by Ben.

Para sa aking mga dating kasamang mga bata, huwag kayong mawalan ng pag-asa, darating din ang panahon na kayo ay makakapagtapos ng pag-aaral. At para po sa lahat ng tumulong sa akin…sa mga partners, staff ng Haven for Children, kung anuman po ang aking narating sa buhay ngayon, ito ay dahil sa inyong tulong at gabay. Maraming salamat po,” Ben ended his sharing.

Ben finally realized that he wanted to pursue his dreams and continue his secondary studies under the Alternative Learning System (ALS). He practiced welding in guidance and support from the Brothers of Christ of Banneux, Incorporated, one of HFC’s partner/donor. With his skills and talent, he was given the TESDA National Certificate for Shielded Metal Arc Welding.

“Haven for children would not be successful in carrying out its mandate without the undying support of our dear partners and sponsors who always share their blessings to our children,” Taleño said after the plaques of appreciation were awarded to all the partners such as BPI-Alabang Muntinlupa, De La Salle Zobel, JCI Alabang, Jose Fabella Memorial School, Rotary Club of Manila, Catholic Women’s League, Victory Church, UST- JHS and among others.

Shortly after recognizing the partners, the center’s staff were also awarded for their hard work, dedication and commitment in providing efficient and responsible service to the children. Some of the awards include Best MOA staff, Houseparent of the Year, Best Admin staff, Best Technical staff, Best Social Worker, Best Supervisor, Best Special Education Teacher and Best Security Guard.

Awarding of Plaque of Appreciation to donors and partners of Haven for Children

The program ended with the intermission/song number sang by the children from Haven for Children to show how grateful they are to the institution, donors and partners who gave them light to start anew. As they pass through their journey, they gave their full commitment to study hard to fulfil their dreams and be the person they want to be.

Truly, Haven for Children is a home of dreams and hope for the children.###

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How SLP changes Mary Jane’s life

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Ang Kwento ng Isang Tunay na Beauty Queen

Who would have thought that the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program will make a mother’s childhood dream of becoming a beauty queen come true?

Arlene Escosa is a Pantawid Pamilya Program beneficiary since 2012. She is a wife and a mother of three (3) kids. Described by her neighbors as bubbly and talented, the former member of the Universal Group dancers was chosen by her community to represent Barangay 54, Pasay City in a pageant-like recognition for the mother beneficiaries of Pantawid. She did not fail them as she bagged two (2) crowns, namely Ginang Pantawid Pamilya of Pasay 2017 at the same time, Ginang Pantawid Pamilya of the National Capital Region (NCR).

Ginang Pantawid Pamilya is a nationwide search for Pantawid Pamilyang mothers who embody a responsible parent in compliance with the program’s conditionalities and active community involvement.

Tinupad ng Pantawid ang pangarap kong maging beauty queen,” Arlene emphasized when asked on how the program helped her reach her childhood dream of becoming a beauty queen. She said that it is more than what she wished for, because she was recognized not just a woman but as a wife and a mother too. She added that her crown motivated her to continue to be a good mother to inspire other mothers and serve as a good example.

“Mas na-inspire ako maging ina. Tama pala yung ginagawa ko – ‘ung pananaw ko para sa asawa ko saka para sa mga anak ko. Mas nakilala ako na magandang example sa mga ka-nanay ko,” sabi ni Arlene.

What Changed Since Pantawid

Arlene was an assistant of her mother-in-law’s Almusalan (eatery) before she was included as a Pantawid beneficiary. Married to Daniel, things got even financially rough within their household when her husband lost his job as a messenger.

She said that Pantawid helped them cope with their financial challenges and provide for their children’s health and educational needs. Her eldest daughter is now graduating for Grade 12.

Last year, she inherited the Almusalan business of her mother-in-law. She said that her learning in financial management through Pantawid Pamilya Program inspired her to get involved in the business and thanks to her mother-in-law, she was able to apply it. She serves meals such as fried rice, fried rice, champorado, sopas, spaghetti, hotdogs and egg as early as five o’clock in the morning with prices ranging from ten to twenty pesos. Students and employees who have no time to prepare their meals are her usual customers. Her husband helps her cook and set up. Her victory in Ginang Pantawid Pamilya also served as a promotion of her small business. Her relatives even contributed for a small tarpaulin with a picture of her crowning moment. She posted it as her store’s background and attracted more customers – even those living outside their streets were intrigued and encouraged to buy her meals. Now, even with the absence of the tarpaulin which was ruined by an unfavorable weather, she maintained loyal customers because of her good food and bubbly personality.

In Promoting Women’s Rights

With pride, Arlene emphasized that her husband’s undying support in whatever she wishes to do including joining the search for Ginang Pantawid, might be a cliché but Daniel said the secret to a happy marriage is to support your partner, “Kung sa’n siya masaya, susuportahan ko s’ya. Kaya meron kaming forever.”

Arlene said that the support given by her husband is essential to promote the rights of the women as it made her feel respected. “Nirerespeto niya ako. Pinapahalagahan niya ako. Sinusuportahan niya ako. Mas nagiging magandang halimbawa sa iba,” said Arlene.

She emphasized that the title of Ginang Pantawid Pamilya plays a vital role in becoming a role model to everyone to become a good and responsible mother and wife. For her, it enables her to walk the talk; to act on what she learned. The crown also brings responsibility that Arlene is happy to undertake which is the continuous promotion of women’s rights.

Arlene committed to embrace the title as well as the responsibilities accompanied to it. ###

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