The rest of the week spent in Baliwag, Bulacan was spent building homes for the poor, sharing a Pinoy delicacy and a visit from the ANCOP Canada President, Ricky and wife, Irma Cuenca, and ANCOP Manila’s Manette and Raymund Acero.
The highlight of any Immersion program is a week-long stay in an ANCOP Canada village. From Day 8-14, the 23 members of the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) will be hosted in this first class city in a province just north of Metro Manila.
Quoting Michael Consul, head of the TCDSB Service Program since 2011, “Words can’t describe how amazing this community is and how welcoming they are. Playing with the kids in each village is definitely the best part of the service trip. And there’s no community that has more loving kids then AKC.”
True to the its objectives of bringing glad tidings for the poor, the new year started with just that – a visit to an orphanage in Tondo, one of the poorest areas in Manila. You can see the joy of both the giver and the recipients in this video.
It is December 31, New Year’s Eve, and the delegation took a much needed rest to learn about the history of the Philippines, visiting Fort Santiago and Manila Cathedral, both in Intramuros and ending up welcoming the New Year with some Fireworks display.
This is not the first time for Mike Consul, head of the Service Trip to the Philippines to visit Our Lady of Banneaux in San Mateo Rizal. He recounts that the huge multi-purpose hall wasn’t even the way it was last year.
In the local language, “masagana” is the tagalog translation for “prosperous”. So it was not coincidental that Day 2 will be spent in ANCOP Village in Masagana, the site of Philippine Service Team build in 2015-16 close to the date of the coming new year.
On their 7th year, 23 High school students and 3 teachers from the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) are off to the Philippines to start their immersion and service program in ANCOP Canada villages.