"Seeing the world from a different angle is a revelatory experience that adds depth and wisdom to our lives."
|tribe members of Barrio Siete, Lake Sebu|
The highlight of our Lake Sebu trip was the scheduled Gift Giving and Medical Mission to the natives from Palo Siete. It has been a yearly family tradition spearheaded by Uncle Nonoy and wife Auntie Malen who've both been actively involved in community service in Lake Sebu. But year 2008 was different, because I was there, and that was one amazing journey!
Our day started with a 30 minute road trip up the hills from the family's property (Balben Family Cove) .We rode 2 Hilux 4x4, an Isuzu Innova and a 20 seater jeep. It was quite a bumpy road trip. As we drove up along the narrow path uphill (making it more exciting and scary!) we passed by incredible sites of lush forest greens and we could really tell we're really way up because we started feeling the chills. There were less than 50 excited family members and close friends ready to explore and all set to give. When we arrived at the site, we were all stunned by the T'boli tribe who greeted our family with a smile and welcomed us with their vibrant tribal dresses and unique native dialect.
It never occured to me that one day some natives would perform for our family, guess it was their way of showing their appreciation, especially to my aunts and uncles in Mindanao. And I can't help but be proud of them.
The site is a residential to approximately 50 families. Each family was given bags loaded with clothes, foods and toys for the kids. Days before the mission, Auntie Malen (of Balben Family Cove) prepared a list of how many members are there in a family, their gender and age, so that they will be given the right set of clothes gifted by family members. She was indeed incredible!
The food? Yummy! Everything were cooked and harvested right from the community's farm. As part of the custom, they all hesitated to eat until everyone of us had already digged in. The program ended when my younger cousins and siblings threw coins, paagawan na!!
My brother Arthur, Auntie Bebing with her son Kuya Bimbim and Uncle Benjamin Suedad graciously served the medical needs of the natives while others helped out in packing of the medicines.
T'boli elders of Lake Sebu
Sharing and spending a day with the people far different from the way I dress, the way I speak and the way I live has been a humbling experience! It was a wonderful day full of discoveries and fresh experiences! Lake Sebu had once again made this shared family experience a blissful memory. And I had the best time of my life!