After retiring in Cebu City as Balikbayans, Gloria & Lewis were getting stir-crazy. Tea parties & socials weren’t filling a void in their inner lives. They wanted to do something. To make a difference. Then they hit upon a Volunteer Opportunity in Compostella.

SAPAK is a school & home for 83 boys. They come there from the poorest of Cebu’s mountain barangays, usually from farming families. The parents often can’t afford to feed them properly, much less educate them. They are desperate. So Father Non, a Jesuit priest, takes them in. Everything is free for the kids. But along the way Father Non is having a hard time just meeting the monthly expenses of food, teachers minimal salaries, & clothing. He needs volunteers to assist in renovating the dormitory, rehabilitating the 2 wells, improving the agriculture curriculum, and searching for potential donors.

Lewis has extensive professional experience in tropical agriculture & hydrology (water). A perfect fit! Now he is managing the well rehab project & building a nursery for ornamental plants – to better supplement SAPAK’s income & point the kids to a higher revenue architecture. Gloria helps run the monthly feeding program for the kids – and finds that very satisfying.


Ugi was a University student who, due to scheduling conflicts, was going to spend the summer months at home. Her strong wish was to get good, relevant experience in the hotel & restaurant management industry.

We matched her up as a Volunteer with a boutique resort: Las Flores in Catmon, Cebu. There the British & Cebuano owners, Ian & Virginia, sponsored her for the summer. So she learned the business on-the-job – working in all the stations of the resort: guestrooms, dining room, kitchen, bar. This is experience that when she does look for a job, will put her in front of all other graduating students! And the resort paid her meals & transportation too. A win-win situation for both Ugi & Las Flores Resort


Carmen is a family practice doctor in Talisay. She hooked up with Angels With a Mission. Now she works Fridays in their free clinic in Cebu City – and about twice monthly she spends Saturdays going on their free medical missions to outlying towns of Cebu. She enjoys the camaraderie & donating her time doing the free consultions with patients who cannot really afford medical care otherwise. Since Angels With a Mission also provides free medicine, their patients really have a path to better health.

Manolo, her husband, is a retired Army colonel & security force manager. He also volunteers his time on the medical missions with Carmen. His duty is to manage the traffic flow between the various stations: health teaching, registration & preliminary interview, doctor consultation, medicine pickup. That is no small job, considering that the missions have 500-700 patients!


Nieves is a Cebuano recruiting specialist in Cebu City, working with one of the call centers. But once a year in February/March, for a period of 10 days she volunteers with Operation Smile in the medical records section. She is a whiz at organization, and that is exactly what OpSmile needs. The medical records must be kept accessable & updated hourly – all while teams of dozens of doctors/nurses are operating on children (& a few adults) with cleft lips/palates. The teams are a good mix of international and Filipino volunteers. But the payoff is seeing young lives, now sharply discriminated against due to their deformities, turn 180 degrees during a 45-minute operation. Their outlook & whole future is brightened 1000 fold. Suddenly they are again “normal” and accepted by their playmates. Destined for productive lives.


Jake, an American & former PeaceCorps volunteer, just married Ohma, his Filipino sweetheart. But while waiting for her visa to come through (a period of about a year), he volunteered to design a website for This non-profit organization is dedicated to greatly increasing Cebu’s students appreciation of nature. They will do this by first building a website to display the 300+ most common, beneficial, or beautiful plants & animals found in Cebu Province. The website will show photos, along with the English, Cebuano & Latin names – plus descriptions. Later, they hope to convince a wealthy donor to sponsor/fund a set of 4 full-color posters. One poster will be put up in each classroom in Cebu – FREE! What a worthy project. And what does Jake get out of it. Well, the satisfaction that he & he alone designed & built this spectacular website. And the website has acknowledged his fine contribution on one of its web pages.

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