Thursday, February 20, 2014

Blogging Raised to the Next Level: PBO Visits Kanlungan ni Maria

Antipolo City, Philippines --- In response to the swelling need of our world for charity works, Pinoy Bloggers Outreach (PBO) successfully convened for its anniversary outreach program at Kanlungan ni Maria-Home for the Aged, Inc. at Nayong Silangan Subdivision, Antipolo City, Feb. 2.

The anniversary outreach aims to bring into fruition the collaborative effort of bloggers and other volunteers to meet in order to extend help to the less fortunate communities. A total of 60 bloggers and volunteers made it to the program that Sunday. Fr. Dari Dioquino, the priest in charge of the institution, received the volunteers with much hospitality on behalf of the staff and elders of Kanlungan.
Fr. Dari Dioquino

The Preparation
Different committees were made in order to organize the anniversary outreach. Part of the preparation is the designation of tasks which transpired last Jan. 12 during the PBO meeting at Starbucks Megastrip Megamall, 2PM. The following committees were made:
Marketing –Christian Dee, Marge Gavan, and Jem Robles
Headcount – Marge Gavan
Food – Michelle Melo
Program–Jem Robles
Medical – Kevin Barrios
Transportation – Christian Dee
Technical (sound system) –Jem Robles
Logistics and Planning – Christian Dee and Arline Matulac
Over-all costing
Loot bags for the elders of Kanlungan ni Maria
Kits for the medical mission

Shirts for PBO volunteers
Also, an update of point persons during the outreach was released:
For registration: Marge Gavan, Madz Mangaron and NahnahCubacub
Marshals: Rix Padin, Josh Chavez, Arvin Vicente, Kat Bonsato, Glenn Tabarejos, and Kebler Omanito
Set up of decorations: Mich Abadilla
PBO volunteers met at KFC Starmall for registration, lunch and briefing. In three vans, they left at 12 noon and reached Antipolo City at 1PM.

A Program before the Program
With a lot of people who find fulfillment in charity, it is not surprising that there are people who would like to spend time in Kanlungan aside from PBO. One of them is the Rivera-Diaz family who frequently visits Kanlungan, according to Fr. Dioquino. One family member came home from Singapore and decided to celebrate with the elders, thus, a Jollibee Party before the prepared program of PBO. Before the party, Fr. Dioquino celebrated a mass at 1PM, after the PBO volunteers arrived. Then, Jollibee party hosts facilitated games with the participation of some PBO volunteers, since the elders can no longer engage in activities that involve a lot of movements. 

Food was distributed while waiting for the Jollibee mascot to arrive. When he came, a ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’ dance number of Jollibee entertained the elders. 

This was followed by parlor games, picture-takings and Jollibee’s wishes for the residents of Kanlungan. Three children, Amara, Chelsie and Chloe capped the program with a ‘Roar’ song number. 

With a few final quotes from the family, the program ended at 3PM.

PBO Program Proper
During the Jollibee party, the PBO volunteers took the opportunity to conduct the medical mission headed by nurse Janeelee Palabrica, (blogger) nurses Kevin Barrios and Moises Bilang. One at a time, elders were pulled from the party for tests which included blood pressure assessment, glucose monitoring and total cholesterol monitoring. Results are: Two elders, both female, got blood pressure higher from the baseline. All got normal cholesterol levels while one elder, female, got high blood sugar.

When the Jollibee party ended, PBO volunteers started setting up the sound system and decorations. 

Immediately, the emcees, Abbie Mendoza and Edmar Panuelos hit the ground running and called on MJ Corillo to lead the opening prayer. 

The program was formally opened by Christian Dee, over-all chairperson of the anniversary outreach, with a speech acknowledging the presence of all volunteers who shared their ‘rest day’ to the elders of Kanlungan and all the people involved in the preparations and financial concerns prior the event. 

A serenade for the elders followed as Kyle Abadilla, Eloisa TrasmaƱas, and Allysa Del Pilar, junior students of Muntinlupa Science High School sang ‘Kasama Kang Tumanda,’ ‘Huling El Bimbo,’ and ‘Ako’y Sa’yo, Ikaw’y Akin.’ 

While their melody filled the place, volunteers went to the elders, handing over flowers and loot bags. The music went on and the interaction with the elders made time fly. Snacks were also served: rice cakes, congee and drinks. The afternoon was filled with stories of befores, laughs, and longing, though some elders preferred silence or oblivion. 

Song numbers followed: Dolly Cabalquinto sang ‘Unchained Melody,’ her son Miggy sang ‘Pag-ibig,’ then she shared the microphone with Jaymar Bolajo for ‘Finally Found Someone.’ 

The program ended with Fr. Dioquino’s closing remarks which made the volunteers more thankful that Kanlungan ni Maria became part of their outreach activities. He pointed out how sharing our blessings, our time, and ourselves makes us better people in the eyes of God. Then he blessed everyone for a safe way home. 

PBO volunteers lingered a little for clean up and debriefing.

Insider’s View of Kanlungan
According to nurse Elaine Jane Mayor, the daily routine of the elders in Kanlungan ni Maria starts with a 6AM mass, followed by a 15-20 minute routine exercise, breakfast, then all things they prefer to spend the remaining hours of the day. Some would prefer coloring, knitting, or rag-making. She mentioned that Nanay Pina makes ponytails while Tatay Chris makes rags which they sell to any visitor interested in buying. There is a total of four volunteers, five caregivers, one nurse, one cook, and one social worker who comprise the entire staff of the institution.
According to Percy Samson, one of the caregivers in Kanlungan, there are on-the-job trainees who come all the way from Isabela to visit Kanlungan ni Maria. Despite the distance, these trainees come and take care of the elderly since the institution is accredited by Family Care Philippine Canadian with whom they are bound to a memorandum of agreement.
According to Fr. Dioquino during his closing remarks, Kanlungan ni Maria started when an elder was found sleeping in a dog house. A good Samaritan in the person of Bishop Crisostomo Yalung, second bishop of the Diocese of Antipolo, took care of the elder and envisioned a house that will take care of the elderly.
According to an interview with Fr. Dioquino, elders are not accepted in Kanlungan ni Maira unless referred by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). This means that there are no relatives who are capable of taking care of the elders. There may be relatives, but they refuse or they simply can’t sustain the needs of an aging person. Thus, there are neither personal visitors nor relatives who spare time to check on them. When they die, only the members of the institution mourn. Death is usually followed by a three-day wake. The last four deaths were cremated since the cemetery nearby is already crowded.
Fr. Dioquino emphasized that the institution covers all religions. Regardless of faith, the institution embraces all elders who are in need of a home. He is also proud that the institution provides enough for the elders even without support from the government or church. The institution survives through donations alone.
Since the place of Kanlungan ni Maria is a house that can only accommodate 20-25 elders, the institution envisions to transfer to a bigger and better household come March.  He mentioned a possible transfer of Kanlungan ni Maria at 92 Mangga Drive, Nayong Silangan Subdivision, Antipolo City. Though plans have already been laid, they are still in need of less than two million for the transfer.

*Photo credits to Glenn Tabarejos, Zai Salonga and Kevin Barrios

About the Institution:
Kanlunganni Maria –Home for the Aged Inc.
Address: #17 Lanzones St., Nayong Silangan Subdivision, 1870 Antipolo, Rizal
Contact Person:  Fr. Dari Dioquino
Contact Nos.: (02) 650 – 8102 / (0915) 6002631


  1. Replies
    1. :D you can like PBO on facebook para naman po maupdate ka po sa mga next activities

  2. clap clap clap PBOers!
    gagaling nyo talaga keep it up,
    it keeps getting better and better ee

  3. awesome talaga! hahaha. favorite ko talaga yung sumasayaw na jollibee. :-D 'til next time! kudos to all who made it all happen.

  4. Thanks for this opportunity PBO :)

    See you all again.

  5. Very well written and thumbs up to all. I was so happy to be with you guys. Really heartwarming:)

  6. Congrats for the success of your undertaking! For sure you made the elders felt happy and blessed. Continue to be a blessing to other and may God Bless you more!