1030 Ate Kristine Celebrates with Bahay Aruga
Written by: Ate Charmain Tan, Vice President External
The say we make a life by what we give. Birthdays are times when we can start new. It is a reminder for us to be grateful for what we have and an opportunity to share what we have. Ate Tin celebrated her birthday this year with the children of Bahay Aruga. Located in San Marcelino Manila, Bahay Aruga is a free halfway house for children undergoing chemo treatment. Most of these children travelled all the way from the province and are getting treatment from Philippine General Hospital (PGH). These children live in this home with their mothers. There is no love greater than a mother’s love and it is heart breaking to hear the mothers talk about their children and the challenge they are facing. We have been visiting Bahay Aruga regularly and the children always welcome us into their home.
To start the day we introduced the volunteers to the children as they talked about their hobbies. Ate Tin was joined by her work friends from Shell Philippines. The ates and kuyas enjoyed cooking while the others mentioned funny hobbies like eating and sleeping. The volunteers then joined the groups of children. There were four groups namely, the always famous Team Probinsyano, Team Lodi, anagram for the word Idol, Team Agilas, and Team Petmalu, another anagram for the Filipino word Malupit, meaning tough.
The first activity we did was Puzzle Games. Each team was given a puzzle they had to finish. The first team that finished first got a point. After one round we rotated the puzzles clockwise so teams got to try out different puzzles. We did several rounds as the volunteers cheered on the kids in their groups. Team Agilas got a point first but team Lodi caught up fast. They finished a couple of puzzles faster than the other teams. Team Probinsyano also finished first in one of the rounds. In the final round Team Agilas finished first. The winners were tied between two teams, Team Agilas and Team Lodi.
The next activity we did was Art Workshop. In line with halloween we made pumpkin orbs with the kids. The kids were given orange strips of paper with holes on each end. The strips were stacked on top of one another. They attached a string on each end and pulled on one side to bend the strips of paper. Once attached they opened the strips and formed the pumpkin orb. Black triangle papers were cut out to be the eyes of the pumpkin and smaller triangles were glued on as the nose. On top of the pumpkin green Japanese paper were attached to function as the leaves and stem of the pumpkin. The kids happily held their pumpkin as we took photos of them with their ates and kuyas.
For the last activity we enjoyed watching the bubble show by Kuya Allan. All the kids were so excited as they sat in front of the Bubble Man. Kuya Allan started making small bubbles and eventually worked his way to form bigger bubbles. He formed long tunnels of bubbles and was able to drag the the whole tube sideways. He made big bubbles with smaller bubbles inside. The kids watched in awe as they couldn’t help it but reached out and popped the bubbles. The kids and volunteers got the chance to go inside the life sized bubble. The kids were so excited as they made funny poses while they were inside the bubble. Kuya Allan was able to fit in as much as three kids inside the huge bubble.
After all the activities we sang Ate Tin a Happy Birthday song. She had three colorful birthday cakes as she thanked the kids for welcoming her. She and her friends gave out pillows to all the kids which they hugged happily. We also gave out prizes to the two team winners of the game. As it was noon Ate Tin prepared a hearty lunch for the kids and their mothers. Miss Mayet of Bahay Aruga thanked Ate Tin for choosing to celebrate with them. Prior to the event Ate Tin has been visiting the center to check on what they need. She gave lots of donations to the center for the kids to use. It is a challenge to run the center and Miss Mayet was teary-eyed as she showed her great appreciation for all the help she gets. These children have an uphill battle at such a young age. With the little things we do for them it is heart warming to see the smiles on the children’s faces. We hope for the parents to continue to have the strength to fight with for their little angels.