Friday, May 23, 2014

Gawad Kalinga Bayani Challenge 2014

Dear Gawad Kalinga,

If I were a teacher and you were my student, I'd give you a D. A double D.

D for Delight.

It was a delight to find out you'll be having another Bayani Challenge this year. This time it would run for two months and in different locations in many provinces. The activities would include house building, school refurbishing, mangrove planting, coastal cleanup, health mission, and paraisong pambata.

I eagerly signed up—two months ahead of the schedule I had chosen. In the two months of anticipation, I received very few updates and too few details. I was only informed of where to go two days before the date I was scheduled to jump on the bus. With only that information in mind (go to the Municipal Hall) and no other instructions, I went.

D for Dismay.

I arrived at the municipal hall, spotted a Gawad Kalinga tarpaulin, but not a Gawad Kalinga person in sight. First question in my head: where do I volunteer? Good thing a friend (who went a day ahead) thought of telling another volunteer who was still at the municipal hall to be on the look out for me. I asked her what the activities were for the day and that's how I got myself to the elementary school where people were painting the facade pink.

While painting, I was told that the facade had already been painted the day before—in another color. They (I am not sure who "they" is) decided that that color was too drab and needed to be painted in a brighter color—pink. Hmmm...wasn't that "wrong" (color) decision a waste of time and a waste of gallons of paint?

 Volunteers paint the facade twice

During lunch break, my friend, who volunteered at the beach, told me they really didn't do anything there. And that the day before, there were dozens of volunteers ready for the mangrove planting...which did not happen at the last minute. Again, a waste of people's time.

The morning of my second day, I went back to the same elementary school to paint the interior walls, which we had started painting yellow the day before. Ah, but the paint that was prepared was a shade too light and we were all asked to stop til they got the mixture right. But, lo and behold, there was no tinting color to be found, and somebody had to hunt down the right color at the two hardware stores in town (color not available) and at the hardware stores some distance away from town. While that somebody was busy looking for the right color, more volunteers arrived, armed with paintbrushes, but with nothing to do. A whole morning gone to waste (painting—with the right color—resumed after lunch).

I am not sure if others saw what I saw, but I observed that the school needed more than a fresh coat of paint (by the way, for the exterior walls, only the front was given a fresh coat of paint). The ceiling was sagging. The floorboards were bending underfoot. Would it have been better to repair the school building first?

I am not writing this to discourage people to volunteer, but I am writing this in the hopes that you, Gawad Kalinga, would plan better next time so as not to waste materials and everyone's time. I know your intentions and goals are all good.



  1. Tsk tsk… Kulang sa organizing. I hope they do better on the next event. :(

  2. Well, that was a disappointment. Where do you learn of these events?

    1. Hi Arlet. I have been checking Gawad Kalinga's site from time to time hoping to volunteer. I believe they have this Bayani Challenge every year (week long during summer). I just hope this (lack of planning) didn't happen in their other sites.