Isabelita Rosueta Organization×
Community Spirit at its Best
Words by: Bruce Curran
Photos by: Kevin Hamdorf
Zambales Province has been blessed with the creation in recent years of the Isabelita Rosueta Organization, deliberately shortened to IROG, which is the meaning of ‘loved one’ in the ancient language of the Philippines. The two names in the title are in honor of the 2 mothers of the founder members who wish to expand the compassion and care given to them in their upbringings. IROG’s mission aims to bring hope to the community by fostering goodwill and cooperation through scholarships, grants, educational activities, livelihood programs and community orientated projects, and has a well-founded website at www.isabelitarosueta.org and appreciates support at all levels with initial contact at firstname.lastname@example.org. The organization also focuses on providing relief operations, soup kitchens for the needy, offering school and summer camp activities, Christmas gift giving, health care and even a Chess Tournament. They state that “The youth are the future of a nation. Teaching them with the right values today secures a stable tomorrow.”
The human spirit and soul often shine brightly, and when shared with others often bring blessings to the less fortunate. This October the Zambales based Isabelita Rosueta Organization financed on this occasion by the Manila Central Board of Assessment Appeals Group set up a community meet with the Aeta barangay at Sitio Lawin inland from San Marcelino in Zambales. Pastor Johny Balaoing the local link-pin in the village was the coordinator for the day, and it turned out to be a day of most welcomed introductions, much sharing, great entertainment and many blessings.
The devastating Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption in 1991 displaced many Aeta communities from their homelands and their livelihoods. Since then it has been the role of many Filipinos from near and far to support the Aeta groups as they bed in to their new areas far from the hills and hinterlands of their former homes.
On Saturday 12th October in Manila the Central Board of Assessment Appeals Group wearing their white T-shirts gathered in several vehicles at 5 am to set out for their rendezvous with the Isabelita Rosueta Organization in Subic, before driving to the Aeta barangay in Sitio Lawin further to the north. By 10 am the Aetas had gathered on this sunny morning to meet the outsiders who arrived with a host of items and gifts that would be well appreciated by the locals.
Then the real fun and games began! After several introductions and speeches by the newcomers, it was party time for the Aeta youth who had gathered in large numbers alongside a long line of senior Aetas who had also come along to be entertained. Mothers with babes were everywhere to be found, and also keyed in to enjoy the upcoming entertainment.
The Organization members were wearing their red T-shirts adorned with their brilliant catch phrase “A simple act of kindness creates an endless ripple”, and their member Christy Tuazon then brought out her guitar and sang a host of songs, which was much enjoyed by the youth who joined in when they could and sang and danced while she strummed away as everyone all around tuned in and started to enjoy the occasion.
The Zambales Organization had arranged for a set of games to be played, and the first one was explained to the youngsters who were divided into several teams to compete against each other. The idea was for a large piece of thick paper board to be flapped at a paper cut out of a colored fish on the ground and for it to be blown across a line and back to the starting point. The game began and the kids shouted in support and laughed loudly as the organized chaos took over. The entertainment was much appreciated, and then the prizes and other gifts and items were handed out.
Another game was announced and four kids in each team had to strap their feet together and walk along in unison on a long plank around a circuit to a finishing line. The entertainment was hilarious and it was enjoyed by all … especially the winners!
More prizes and items handed out. Then another game to keep things moving along. And so the hours passed by.
Eventually more speeches, and Pastor Johny Balaoing brought out the residence names list to ensure the items to be handed out got given to all the correct elders and family members in attendance.
The hours passed by and had included an enlightening talk to everyone gathered at the community Retired Judge Chairperson Manuel D.J. Siayngco leading the Manila Group. Pastor Ramil Tuazon had his say also, while Roselyn Castillo was the games organizer, and spent her time encouraging the kids and explaining the guidelines for each game. All members of both groups played their part in ensuring everything went according to plan, and several photographers including Hallel Vincent Tuazon were in action throughout the event. The Australian photographer, Kevin Hamdorf, well known for his ethnic and landscape photographs from all over the tropical magical country of the Philippines, was super busy, deeply capturing the spirit and soul of the entire event.
The many elders and the dozens of Aeta children particularly tuned in to all the happenings, and it was clearly much enjoyed and appreciated by everyone in attendance. Pastor Johny Balaoing from the Aeta community carefully made sure all parties were taken care of, and the Manila Group of over a dozen people and the Organization members all enjoyed their own inputs, and the Aetas were all brimming with smiles.
Finally, all the items and gifts and handouts were gratefully received and it was time for a final farewell before all the outsiders slipped away to return to their own homes.
Saturday 12th October was well endowed with many acts of kindness that has left many endless ripples of appreciation. Everyone in attendance was definitively enthralled and inspired by this grace of humanity shared by the Isabelita Rosueta Organization in Zambales, and funded by the donations and input of the Central Board of Assessment Appeals from Manila.
It was a blessing to be received openly by the Sitio Lawin based Aeta community, and their own spirit and soul has now no doubt filtered further afield into all the humans who were lucky enough to be a part of a day to be remembered by all. The warmth and friendliness of the event clearly shone brightly, and every which way it was Community Spirit definitively being shared at its Best.