492 Flip Trip’s Taal Heritage Tour

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Written by President, Te Candano

It’s always an adventure when you volunteer for U! Happy Events as you get to meet a lot of new people and interact with kids from different backgrounds. This was precisely what was ahead of us along with our volunteers and friends from FlipTrip as everyone headed to Taal for FlipTrip for a Cause. Before you jump into any conclusion, we did not exactly go to Taal Lake. Instead, we went to a Taal Heritage Town located in Taal, Batangas (yes, there is this hidden town in Taal that will transport you back in time).

Our day started early as we met all the volunteers at Makati. The vibe was exciting as it was a first for most of us to go to the Taal Heritage Town. We did not really know what to expect or where exactly we were going as we were just given a general schedule of the day ahead. The tour was spearheaded by birthday girl April Cuenca, Head Explorer and co-founder of FlipTrip. FlipTrip is simplified travel planning and booking for off the beaten path destinations. (With FlipTrip, travel your way -fliptrip.ph).

Our tour officially started when we went to our meet up place in the Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay. We were instantly greeted by the smiles of the kids who were eagerly awaiting our arrival. It was a long drive to the place but seeing their faces made the ride worthwhile. April gave a brief orientation to the volunteers while the U! Happy team was busy with organizing the kids. When everyone was ready, we started pairing the kids and volunteers before finally beginning the tour.

The kids took us to the different spots in Taal Heritage Town namely The Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay, San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps / Well, Villavicencio Wedding Gift House and St. Martin De Tours Basilica. We were amazed at the amount of knowledge they had on the sites we visited. They would also answer the questions we had during the walking tour. Our last destination was the Clubhouse of Heritage Villas where a children’s party was waiting for the kids and their partner ates and kuyas.

The clubhouse was transformed to a party area as all the prizes and giveaways were in front to the amazement of the kids. The party venue was also situated near a pool where the kids did an impromptu swimming party as we waited for the others to arrive. Once everyone was settled, our sumptuous lunch from Jollibee was served. One of the kids from Taal of course led a prayer of thanksgiving for the meal. Eating time was certainly made more fun as the volunteers and kids recounted the tour. This was also the time where they got to know each other a bit more just by talking about anything under the sun.

After lunch, we introduced Kuya Rich Rodriguez, one of our resident storytellers, as the host of the party. He started with a quiz game to know how well the volunteers listened to the kids while on tour. For every correct answer of the volunteer, their kid partner got a prize. Everyone became competitive as they wanted to give prizes to their partners. The next activity was the Face to Face where the volunteer and kid faced each other and were tasked to do different facial expressions alternately. According to Kuya Rich, this helps the kids be more open to their partner and build their confidence. The U! Happy team went around to judge who had the winning face and would to get the prize.

The last game played was Paint Me A Picture where the groups were given situations they had to portray (church, market, under the sea, etc). The creativity of each group was put to the test as they utilized each member to form the picture. It was truly another fun game that everyone enjoyed. Kuya Rich then let the kids settle down for the final activity for the day—storytelling session. It was such an interactive session that both the volunteers and kids gamely participated in the story.

We were approaching the late afternoon and we knew that we had to make our way home. U!’s Profile Exchange Forms were given to each pair as they wrote down messages to each other. This form is really designed to drive deep the memories created the entire day. The event was coming to an end but we were not leaving the kids without a final surprise. We called in birthday girl April Cuenca of FlipTrip to give her thanks and we did an impromptu birthday song for her. She then called in the kids to form a line as she handed them bags, shirts, school supplies and cupcakes to the delight of the kids.

The journey to Taal Heritage Town may have been long but it was undoubtedly well worth it. Our drive back to Manila now featured our stories and jolly faces all because of the company of the kids from Taal.‎

U! Happy Events

U! Happy Events