9:00 AM

The Blogger's activity (see story here) in Anda was not all about sight seeing and pure fun and enjoyment.  The heart of the entire trip was to lend a helping hand to the children of Anda and this is what we done in the afternoon of December 20 when we went to the ANDAKidz Community Center in Brgy. Talisay.

While heading to the site, a soccer clinic was also being held at the ground near the Quinale Beach (see story on Anda beaches here),  The durable soccer balls were donated by Philippine Information Agency.

The soccer clinic.  Photo by Ashley Uy of www.ashlinspiration.com

Before we started, the founders of MTU ANDAKidz Robin Gurney and his lovely wife Birgit Naur --- an English man and an Estonian woman --- gave us an orientation of what the organization is all about.  It was very heartwarming for me to know their mission, especially that the founders are not even Filipinos but have a heart for the Philippines and for the Boholanos, especially our children. 

The bloggers listening to Robin during the orientation

Among their goals is the building of a community center the children of the members of Talisay Fisherfolks Association or TAFIAS.  The community center will serve as an alternative learning venue for the kids once they come home from school.  Aside from which, the building will also host the meetings and livelihood activities of the TAFIAS members. Although the kids are the primary user of the building and yes, TAFIAS, the ANDAKidz community center is open for the people of Brgy. Talisay to use.

The structure was designed by a very young architect (She is not a Filipino and I don't remember her name.  It's not in my notes too. Sorry.) and is very eco-friendly and disaster-proof.  PET bottles are used as bricks instead of hollow blocks and the butts of clear liquor bottles are used as windows. 

The pet bottles filled with cement lying on the ground and ready for piling.

The bamboos are for ventilation, a passage for the air to come in the building

The liquor glasses as the glass window.  I never thought of that.

A view of the PET bottles from the inside of the building

When we went there, construction was still on going.  Labor was done by the men of TAFIAS.  As our help, we, bloggers were split into groups of three.  The women were assigned to clean the clear liquor bottles.  One group of men were to shovel the sand into sacks and transfer it to one area while the other men were to lift threaded wood into the construction area.  What makes the community center very special is that it is a labor of love and dedication.  The beneficiaries do their part, and the children as well do little contributions by transporting the PET bottles filled with cement from one area to the other.

A view inside the constructed community center

I never thought that tires can serve as a staircase.  That's A+ for innovation and environmental consciousness
A member of TAFIAS, this guy is piling and cementing the PET bottles in order to feel a part of a wall.

The ANDAKidz community center has become a community effort with the kids also pitching what they can do best
with their small bodies --- building a chain of kids that would transfer the filled PET bottles from one area to the next

Here's the first three kids.  One picks the filled bottle, hands it to the next guy, then to the girl...until the PET bottle
reaches Birgit who is the last person in the chain.  She does the stocking of the PET bottles as they are subjected to piling.

The girls do some bottle cleaning.
In case you are looking for me, here I am with Cebuano bloggers Isaac Saguit and Chanel Imperial of Sugbo Sentro
shoveling the sand and putting them in sacks and then transfer them in a storage area by the community center.
Photo from MTU ANDAKids Facebook page.

When all work was done, we were treated to a delightful gastronomic treat by TAFIAS.  We were served with a delectable selection of Filipino food and TAFIAS produce.  The best one is their Taro Ice Cream which is actually everyone's favorite.  It comes in two flavors: mango and chocolate.  And even though I am on a diet, I ate three cups! That's how tempting and delightfully yummy Taro Ice Cream was.  Aside from that, there's their Taro Polvoron, Taro Chips, and Tilapia Chips.  These are the products they've learned to produce from seminars on alternative livelihood that the men and women of TAFIAS attended.

In between munching our foods, we were challenged by the kids of Anda in a game of riddles, which we call in Visayan
tigmo. Here is Boholana blogger Angelah Polot being very enthusiastic in outwitting this young guy.  We all jumped into the game.  And guess what? We were outsmarted by the kids.  Yeah! You can call us losers. HAHA
Angelah and sister, Dalareich Polot with the kids who outsmarted all of us!
The last part of our mission in ANDAKidz was to deliver our gifts to the children.  The kids received school supplies and other goodies pitched in by the bloggers and the first ever all-Boholano luxury chocolate brand Ginto Luxury Chocolates by Chocoreich.  I was envious of the kids that they were among the first ones to take a bite of that chocolate must-have!

It was definitely a heartwarming day for me.  But it is even more heartwarming when a few weeks ago, Robin shared the good news that ANDAKidz is now open for usage.  I was really happy to see that the once under construction building that many volunteers have helped build is now finally usable.  Knowing that I was part of the realization of Robin and Birgit's dreams of having a community center is very rewarding.

The door is finally opened and to say that the kids were excited to see their community center is an understatement.
Photo from MTU ANDAKidz Facebook page.

A view of the first floor from the community center's second floor. I'm awed.
Photo from MTU ANDAKidz Facebook page.

It's overwhelming to see that one fortunate afternoon, I was once part of those who made this community center.
Photo from MTU ANDAKidz Facebook page.

But the help does not stop there! MTU ANDAKidz and the children of Anda still needs your help.  To know more about ANDAKidz and on how you can donate, visit their website at http://andakidz.org.  You can send cash or in kind donations or you can also visit the site and conduct activities for the kids like book reading and art lessons.  Whatever you can do and whatever you can contribute makes a lot of difference.

My afternoon in ANDA Kidz was the best part of my Anda visit.  And I will be back, I promise.  Hopefully, soon. :)

It's a wrap! And I was taking the photo.

Some information were taken from Ashley Uy's blog.  Visit her site here.


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About the Blog

DEEJAY WRITES is a proudly Boholano lifestyle and travel blog by LifestyleBohol in-house writer Deejay Arro. Launched in June 2014, DEEJAY WRITES ranks among the Top 200 Entertainment and Lifestyle blogs in the country and has been consistently receiving positive feedback from readers..