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Friday, July 2, 2010

The Black Pencil Project

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Who does not want to be an advocate of something good for a change? Even the most dreaded criminal must be thinking of doing something good for others once in a while. I guess that is a fact. People has, even in the most unlikeliest one, a few inch of goodness in him to care for others.

I basically admire most those people who are not really powerful individuals but instead normal regular guys like us who are able to start sharing and helping in their own way. Such is the humble beggining of the advocacy group known as the Black Pencil Project.

It started when three photography hobbyist climbed Banaue primarily to get photographs of the landscape and its people. However since it is the start of the school season they brought along a bunch of black pencils to be given to the small kids that they know they will meet in the area. This small step became their initiation to better understanding their roles in the community. It was on that day, "humbled by the warm hospitality of people of Banaue, that they realized the shared value of social responsibility and vowed to continue the effort in their own little way."

Through the help of friends and different online social media, their advocacy grew from a movement of three people to a collection of different people in the society. From photgraphy clubs, to mountaineering organizations, private individuals and tourists alike.

There are a lot of ways to help. One could just literally send in a pencil and that will be counted as a great assistance already. Others tend to adopt-a-box for companies and other institutions abd be returned filled with school supplies. providing cash donations will also help. The more adventurous individuals can be sherpas that will help carry the items to be distributed to the target community. Normally the objective communities are in far flung regions so one is expected to shell out his or her own transportation fees and at least be able to walk long distances and climb steep terrain. Corporate partnerships are very much welcome.

As for me, I am reblogging this. I hope I am able to help by doing this. And I hope a lot of people will be able to read this also. Maybe this will help in making them realize that they too can do something on their own by helping the Black Pencil Project or by doing something else on their own. I am also trying to make contact with a local group in my hometown right now. Who knows, maybe we can adopt one box.

To learn more about the Black Pencil Project, you can visit their website blackpencilproject.org or click here.

Calamias Childhood Memories

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I happen to see from FB some relatives whom I have not seen in a while. It so happened that these guys used to live two houses away from our own house in our hometown. Now they are far off living Down Under. After browsing some of their pictures, nostalgia started to creep.

The place where we grew up in is a little barrio in a small town of Ibaan, Batangas. Everybody knows everyone as almost all are of blood relatives. It is almost as if the whole barrio was owned by our "mamay sa tuhod" who I think the name is Guillermo Rabino. I used to hear stories of him like when he is at odds with someone, he would tell him not to set foot on his land or else something might happen. The threathened will then have to go around the whole barangay just to go to what is beyond our great grandfathers domain.

As young kids, we had nothing to do as there used to be no internet, phone lines were only connected during the latter part of the '90s. The main source of income for most people are farming and the usual "paglalako". And so as kids we got used to playing in the fields, swimming in a very very small river and playing backyard games. The closest guys I grew up with are my cousins. These guys are mostly my second cousins. The bunch of us used to call ourselves the Paltik Gang. The oldest among us I think was about 11 years old only when we started to call ourselves such. Paltik is how we in our area of Batangas calls a slingshot. I had fond memories of those days when we would go from fields to fields playing like soldiers armed with slingshots. We will always target our grandfathers fruitbearing trees most especially the mangoes during summer. It is also during summer when we always get to setup a mini-beach in our area locally called "layon". Since the only flowing river that we have in our place is narrow and not deep at all, what we used to do was to create some sort of a dam that will allow the water to overflow into the banks. We would then pile more and more rocks along the waters path to make it deeper. I remember how these mini-dams were given names like Julian Beach, Arong Beach, Haba-Kipot etc. But there was always danger in putting such dams everytime. This is from our palu-palo wielding kakang's, tita's, tiya's, ate's and lola's. This is because the same narrow river is also the place where our older women relatives are washing clothes. And by us doing the dams this creates tension as the water normally gets muddy whenever we youngsters are doing our little picnics. We are not allowed to dive into the water as long as they are not finished. Oh I cannot count anymore how many times Kakang Soledad and Ate Nita (not my mother) would come after us wielding their "pambugbog" because we used to constantly disregard this unwritten rule. Now that I am thinking about it, "hehhehe sorry po".

Ohhh there are lots of stories, beautiful and exciting, and all these I miss so much. Not that I again will run after jeepneys at night naked like what we used to do when we were young. It is just that these memories should be kept and should be told to our grandkids also. I miss being young and living the life that our lolo's taught us. One day though, I promise, I will write a book about all those experiences. And that will be complete with all the characters involve especially the the members of the Paltik Gang.
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