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Events

PBO Visits The Grannies of Bahay ni Maria

I’m back, which means I am cutting short my hiatus shiznit. Nope, I haven’t completely resolved the thing that had me packing but I can say that I’m little better now. Anyway, today I am going to share to you this noble undertaking I took part of last holy week with my new-found friends from the blogosphere. On March 30, 2013, I joined the second volunteering project of the Pinoy Bloggers Outreach (PBO) at Bahay ni Maria (BNM) in Calamba City, Laguna.


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First, the getting there part. PBO rented a jeep that would take us to the venue. Meeting place was at Starmall in Ortigas at 10:00 in the morning. I decided to go there on my own because it’s easier, but I am direction impaired so I needed a little guidance to make sure I won’t end up in Babuyan Islands. My officemate, Ni, lives in Laguna so I sought her advice. I took the DLBT bus in Buendia, ticket price is PHP71 and journeyed for an hour. I put off at SM Calamba, asked some locals how to get to BNM but they looked at me like I was asking how to get to the moon. So I gave Ni a ring and she told me take a jeep that has “Calamba Bayan” and “Calamba Halang” sign boards. She instructed that I put off somewhere near City College of Calamba, St. Baptist Church, or Bahay ni Rizal. That’s three landmarks folks but when I mentioned these to the driver, he looked at me like I just requested him to take me back to Manila.

Good thing the driver, despite claiming he didn’t know those three landmarks, managed to get me to the exact place. I thought that the search was over, wrong. Ni didn’t know that she gave me the directions to BNM annex (yes it has a freaking annex!). I learned from some tricycle drivers in the area that the BNM I was looking for is located at Barangay Sampiruhan.

So I was back on the road, this time in a tricycle, and reached BNM after like 10 minutes. Finally, I reached the place and I realized I was the first person from our group to arrive in the scene (yeah I know, so uncelebrity-like hehehe…).

At last, the bloggers have come. Zai (Zai Moonchild), Joanne (Joanne’s Blog), and Arline (The Pink Line) were the only familiar faces, the rest I was meeting for the first time. There were Christian (Kwentong Iskwater Mula sa Iskwater), Josh (Kulapitot), Bino (Damuhan), Mar (Unplog), Kebler (Sunny Toast), Mecoy (I am MEcoy), Jei Son (Skrypton Jei), Rix (Kwentong Baliw ng Isang Rixophrenic), June (Life and Spices), Empi (Kol Me Empi), Erin (The Nutty Thoughts), Kat (Saturday Thoughts), Tiny, Madz, Hustin, Karlo, Kelly, Toshi, and the most popular blogger of the lot, Glenn (Wickedmouth). There were also non-blogger participants, Michelle and her daughter Kyle who are good friends of Christian.

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We were welcomed by a nun in a peach-colored habit, named, Sister Evelyn. She let us in the backyard where the grannies on wheelchairs were waiting. According to the nun, they are currently housing 20 old women, most are as old as 80. I asked Sister Evelyn if some family members visit the grannies, she shook her head, “We only accept totally abandoned grannies,” she explained.

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We weren’t able to hold our program right away because a religious group composed of young people went ahead of us. At first I was like, no biggie, we all came there to help the grannies anyway. Until we realized that they didn’t come for a simple outreach, they decided to… wait for it…. hold a freaking debut party!

I was like…

whut

So we stood in the background as the debutante β€” let’s call her “A” β€” had her party. Meanwhile, I sat in the corner to face one of the most difficult challenges I’ve ever faced in my life… Candy Crush Saga.

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Soon I got tired of sitting, standing, fanning myself, playing with my phone, and watching the other group do their thing. The birthday girl had a speech where she explained how the event came to being. She said she didn’t want a regular celebration, that she wanted it to be meaningful, hence the request she made from her parents that instead of a party, why don’t they spend it with the abandoned grannies of BNM instead? Pretty noble you might say, well that’s what I thought too, until I noticed that the length of the program was as long as the Lord of the Rings movie.

The grannies who were supposed to be the stars of the program appeared, not even as visitors, but as gatecrashers. I swear to you the look on their faces was anything but happy as they sat through the whole thing. The “party peeps” remembered to bring A a cake, but for some reason, they’ve forgotten the most important, and probably the only reason why we all go to a party, “food.” Not only did they not bring food, they didn’t even have bottled drinks (oh for the love of Zeus!). This happened from 1 to around 3 in the afternoon and the grannies had to sit through the whole thing, under the weather that could give you tan in 50 seconds, with empty stomachs!

Okay, I get it, A and the rest of her gang just wanted to help the grannies, in fact, they brought donations-in-kind like diapers, toiletries, packed biscuits, etc. I just find it quite disconcerting that none of them had the common sense to bring food. They held a freaking party during lunch time and the beneficiaries are old people, some were so weak they couldn’t even lift themselves off the wheelchairs on their own. So how the hell did the idea of feeding the grannies escape their thoughts? This is not a freaking math equation. It doesn’t really take a genius to know that everyone, even ants, need to fucking eat!

I read from the post of one of my fellow bloggers that one granny even cried from hunger. Can you imagine that?! The more I think about it, the more I seethe with anger. My point, however, good an intention is, it wouldn’t mean a thing if the action betrays it.

I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, but I am so thankful that PBO saves the day. As soon as sister Evelyn gave her go-signal, we started distributing the food and feeding the grannies. We did this notwithstanding the fact that the other group was yet to finish their program.

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Some of the kids offered their assistance during the feeding. Maybe they too were already hungry, I mean really, who wouldn’t be? Anyway, after what seemed like a century, the other group finally called it a day. That’s when we started with our own party, this time, a shower party! β€” Kidding! We just had a simple program and we started it off by calling PBO’s president, Zai to deliver the opening remarks, which by the way, should win the shortest speech ever delivered in the history of mankind award (love you Zai! Hehehe…).

The event was hosted by Christian, who started by asking the grannies if they knew what blogger means. Of course none of them knew what he was talking about, they even heard the word wrong; one thought it was “bladder”, another granny heard it as “brother”. Considering how old the grannies are, their ignorance in the matter is quite understandable. Christian later explained the meaning of the word and also shared the history of PBO.

Quick info, PBO began in December 2012 after one blogger, Gracie (Gracie’s Network), expressed her wish to organize an undertaking that would help the less fortunate. Hence, PBO was born, founded by Gracie, Arline, Mar, and Arvin (Chateu de Achieviner). To date, the group has 67 members.

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Aside from giving donations-in-kind, PBO volunteers also gave away bag of goodies to each granny. We also played some music after learning from Sister Evelyn that the grannies love dancing to the tune of Gangnam Style. A granny with an excellent singing voice gave us her own rendition of some old love songs.

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I was particularly taken by the grooviest granny of them all, Lola Neneng. She loves to dance, she is kikay, and out of all the grannies she is the most sociable. The first time I saw her, she told me that she would be celebrating her birthday the next day. Sister Evelyn later told us that Lola Neneng likes to tell people that it’s her birthday, every day.

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We wrapped up the program with a photo op with all the grannies.

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At around 4:00PM the event officially ended. Some of us had to fight back tears upon seeing the sadness on their faces as we bade them farewell. I looked at them and wondered how they ended up in that place. How could their families leave them in such a troubled state? I can’t imagine what they could have done to deserve this. It makes me wonder why in a country where the importance of family prevails, some people had the heart to leave these grannies behind. It is quite saddening really. Old age is frightening as it is, what more if you have to live it alone?

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Unfortunately, my heart could only ache for these old souls in Bahay ni Maria. I just hope that in our own little way we were able to ease their sorrow; that even for just a day, we were able to make them feel that they were anything but abandoned.

 

 

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Comments (42)

  1. Marge G
    Marge G

    There are some bloggers who did post their pictures in their respective posts.

    Reply
  2. Bree
    Bree

    Wow, this is really great! I'm glad to read all about it. That's so sweet of you guys to visit them. They all looked very happy and it's all because of PBO. πŸ™‚

    P.S. Thanks for stopping by my blog. It would be amazing if we become blogger friends!

    – B

    http://vivalabreee.blogspot.com/

    TWEET
    | ADD | LIKE

    Reply
  3. phioxee
    phioxee

    sana me naka pag post ng photos ng group nila kasi nakaka inis namn. sana di nila pinahaba yung program nila if pinapagutom lang yung mga lolas diba. anyway, PBO saved the day. thanx to you volunteers.

    Reply
  4. Marge G
    Marge G

    Sa wakas meron ding nakaisip nyan haha… Inaabangan ko talagang magkaroon ng commenter na makakapansin nyan eh.

    Reply
  5. Marge G
    Marge G

    It's nice to see people who love their grandparents like you.

    Reply
  6. Marge G
    Marge G

    Thanks naman at natuwa ka sa post na to hehehe…

    Reply
  7. Marge G
    Marge G

    Sana talaga wala na haha…

    Reply
  8. Marge G
    Marge G

    Nice meeting you too πŸ™‚

    Reply
  9. rhoda
    rhoda

    si A ng Pretty Little Liars tuloy ang naalala ko dun sa debutant. haha. napaka-memorable na Holy Week talaga ng experience na yan. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  10. Goyo
    Goyo

    Naalala't bigla ko tuloy namiss si lola ko.

    Reply
  11. joanne del rosario
    joanne del rosario

    I find this post very funny, mula sa paghahanap mo sa BNM at lalo na dun sa rants mo about debutante A! Hahaha.

    Pero touching ang last part. And I have the same thoughts na bakit kaya abandoned yung mga lola.. I guess we'll never know, pero buti andun naman sina Sister Evelyn para alagaan sila.. at siyempre yun mga groups tulad naten sa PBO na willing tumulong. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  12. zai
    zai

    I can't say enough how thankful I am in behalf of PBO for you coming all the way from Manila to Laguna, on your own. Bilib ako sayo for being so brave hehe πŸ™‚

    I posted recently about this PBO visit and you must read my description about my speech! Same thought ng pagdescribe mo kaya tawa ako ng tawa after reading how you described it hehe πŸ™‚

    Thank you again and til next outreach ha! Hopefully wala ng gaya ni bday girl, A πŸ™‚

    Reply
  13. Rix
    Rix

    nice meeting you, til next outreach..

    Reply
  14. Marge G
    Marge G

    Sure Achieviner πŸ™‚

    Reply
  15. archieviner
    archieviner

    Thanks for supporting PBO Miss M. Next time ulit ah. Nadito rin si debutante-A. haha. Touching ang ending

    Reply
  16. sherene
    sherene

    Oh my golly i cannot imagine nung time na nagugutom na ang mga lola pero nways buti nlng nagpakain na kayo right after them.
    Congratulations again for another successful event, bless ur good heart..

    Reply
  17. Marge G
    Marge G

    You should join us next time, I'm sure you will have fun πŸ™‚

    Reply
  18. Marge G
    Marge G

    Yung nasirang bench legendary ang eksenang yan haha…

    Reply
  19. Marge G
    Marge G

    Sure sis, til the next outreach πŸ™‚

    Reply
  20. Marge G
    Marge G

    Hahaha… sorry na, I really couldn't help it. Masyado akong nainis sa debutante na yun. Nice meeting you too and yeah, I hope we get to talk in the next project πŸ™‚

    Reply
  21. Nutty Thoughts
    Nutty Thoughts

    Miss M talagang may diin sa ateng debutante sa kahit saang entry?
    ahahahaha….

    nice meeting you Miss M… sana sa next event magkakajoin force pa rin tayo…

    Reply
  22. pinkline
    pinkline

    natawa ako dun sa part how you struggled to get there.. atleast ikaw pa rin ang naunang dumating.. bakit nga kaya di nila naisip na magdala ng food.. kaloka… sayang medyo nabitin ako sa event.. gusto ko pa makipagkwentuhan sa ibang mga lola… thanks pala for coming sis.. next time ulet ah πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  23. Mae Tan
    Mae Tan

    ang galing niyo! very inspirational! saludo ako sa PBO!

    Reply
  24. Lalah
    Lalah

    one of the most challenging na na-encountered ko dealing with people ay itong mga lola. i swear to god, heartbreaking. isnt it? i am so proud sa inyong lahat for the success of this 2nd project and whats worth of all is the realization, thoughts and lesson learned from the outreach. i wish nakasama ako but i will next time, SANA. hihihi natuwa ako kay lola neneng na araw2x ay bday niya hahaha why not diba celebrate life!! ito ang kailangan isulong sa UN na bigyan pansin ang mga matatanda sa buong mundo na walang enough na facilities sa mga institution, kasi focus na focus ang UN sa mga bata kasi dahil sinasabi nila may kinabukasan sila, well its time to change it sana. =) congrats sa inyo. parang nakasama ako dahil iba2xng angle at kwento kayo at experience binahagi niyo kaya kahit sa pagkawasak ng bench alam na hahaha

    Reply
  25. michymichymoo
    michymichymoo

    Would love to help PBO in the future. Zai! Ikaw pala presidente! hahaha! Di ko alam. πŸ˜›

    Reply
  26. Marge G
    Marge G

    Sure ate Joy and thanks din po πŸ™‚

    Reply
  27. joysnotepad.blogspot.com
    joysnotepad.blogspot.com

    Kakaiyak naman talaga ang event na eto and I love reading all the details. Thanks for this. Although di ako naka attend, para na rin akong andyan and na feel ang mga na na felt nyo. Good works guys and I am proud to be a part of PBO.

    Reply
  28. Bino
    Bino

    Congrats PBO! See u sa next outreach πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  29. Marge G
    Marge G

    Glen wala tayong picture together fan mo pa din ako! Hahaha… Tama, kung di tayo dumating hindi makakakain yung grannies, so meant to be talaga na nandun ang PBO.

    Reply
  30. glentot
    glentot

    Totoo singhaba nga ng Lord of the Rings buong trilogy yung program ni Ate Debutante. PBO saved the day talaga so good thing we were there on the same day the debut was held. Paano kung wala tayo, iiwan pala nilang gutom sila Lola!

    Well written post… siguro kahit hindi ako umattend feeling ko nakaattend na rin ako dahil sa level ng detail na binigay mo! And thanks for the link!

    Reply
  31. Marge G
    Marge G

    Thanks Christian! It was really nice meeting you too, bonding tayo next time πŸ™‚

    Reply
  32. christian edward paul dee
    christian edward paul dee

    Awwww… I like how you ended this post… touching… I miss the Lolas…

    Enweis, you're really one of the best bloggers I know. Grammatically perfect! Nice meeting you girl!

    Kitakitz next time ah…

    Reply
  33. Marge G
    Marge G

    I am also proud to be part of it. It was such a humbling experience. Nice meeting you too πŸ™‚

    Reply
  34. babypaprica
    babypaprica

    the bottomline is we still somehow manage to push through our program haha but still it was indeed annoying to wait for that long for their debut celebration which has nothing to do with the lolas.
    anyway i enjoy interacting with them, tho i break my heart to hear their stories
    Im glad and proud that I had been a part of such event and such group!
    nice meeting you by the way

    Reply
  35. Marge G
    Marge G

    There is still a next time, maybe then you could join πŸ™‚

    Reply
  36. Marge G
    Marge G

    What the heck Alchris, okay na sana eh, ganda ng comment mo, tapos may ganun sa dulo, bruha kang talaga hahaha…

    Anyway, I agree, that they are lucky in some way because there are some old people who live in the streets. Now that you mentioned it, I do hope that you get to fulfill your dream to build a foundation that will help alleviate the conditions of the less fortunate.

    Reply
  37. Khalil Andre
    Khalil Andre

    I love and admire what youβ€”or PBO in generalβ€”just did. Making grannies, or old women or abandoned old women, feel that they are loved. Not alone. I care a lot for old women, you know. (Being a menopausal baby, I'm being mistaken that my mom is my grandma, especially when I was a little kid. That's why I'm attached to old women.) But, in a way, I can say that these old women are lucky enough. Because along JP Rizal I see two old women (maybe sisters or just simply friends) sleeping in the streets, using umbrellas and waiting sheds as their shelter. Their home. And God I repress my tears each time I see them like that… If only maybe someday, if I become rich, my goal is to establish a foundation that will create a real, safe and comfortable and a beautiful home for homeless grannies.

    Anyway, dapat inupakan mu na si Ni sa maling direction niya!

    On another note, I'm happy for you that you meet friends from the blogosphere. Hope you meet your future husband there, too.

    Reply
  38. Maria Santos
    Maria Santos

    Congrats PBO for another successful outreach! i miss this..<_<

    Reply

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