Volunteering in Cebu City, Philippines

When I arrived to the Philippines at the beginning of February 2017, I was experiencing a massive shift in my approach to travel and… to life. {Read more about why i chose to Volunteer here}

Exploring and relaxing on the beaches of the philippines had once got adrenalin doing somersaults through my body, but when I arrived, I felt numb. Working on the road as a solo traveller is worlds apart from just going on a 2 week holiday somewhere. The Philippines, as spoilt as this sounds, was just another destination on an ongoing travel itinerary. For the last 36 months I had travelled beyond my travel dreams and my gut was indicating that maybe, i’d simply travelled too much.

Was travel boring me now? Would I have to seek a new career?

Volunteering in the Slums Cebu City, Philippines | Where's Mollie? A travel and adventure lifestyle blog

That thought was a little over dramatic.

What i realised is that i just needed progression. I needed to be physically and mentally challenged again. With a month still left of my 5 month solo adventure, I decided {with a few teary calls to my mum back home} that I would work through the bigger picture when I got home.

For now, I just needed to find a new direction for my time in the Philippines…

This was when I googled volunteering and contacted Rise Above Foundation.

I had never previously considered or had the opportunity to volunteer, and the timing suddenly just felt so right. As soon as the seed was planted, my decision was made.

I wanted to put life into perspective, to come back down to earth, to give back. To find deep gratitude and to experience travel through a different and less glossy lens. What I experienced through volunteering did all of the above, and so much more.

Volunteering turned out to be one of the most, if not the most, humbling and fulfilling travel experience that i’ve yet to encounter.

Rise Above Foundation are a charity dedicated to improving the quality of life for poor families in Cebu, Philippines. They run a number of programmes including dental missions, disaster relief, education sponsorships and they also run two care centres. Their focus is on helping children in depressed areas, giving them education, food and ultimately hope for a brighter future.

Over 30% of the population of Cebu City live in poverty…

…and I went to volunteer in some of the most desperate areas.

Places where families couldn’t afford the basics of food, let alone education. Where families had no awareness of nutrition or health and where kids lived off of coloured sweets and sugar. Some families I met couldn’t even afford birth certificates, their existence wasn’t even registered.

Without the right nutrition, the brain cannot function correctly. So even IF the opportunity for education came along for these families, I can guarantee fatigue and weakness would over shadow it.

I had never seen life from this perspective before.

If there’s one thing you take from my experience, let it be that if you are lucky enough to have access to nutritious food and the education around it. Embrace it.

Embrace the opportunity you have for good health.

The opportunity you have for education and for a future. Embrace the under appreciated ability you have to follow your dreams and have your body back you up every step of the way.

You may remember I put out an opportunity on social media for you guys to donate into a fund that I would then take to make a difference in the slums?

I wanted to directly take your money and show you how incredibly far it goes here in the Philippines. Together, we sponsored a ‘big feed’ in a slum within Sangsom Village which gave a nutritious meal to over 400 children and families. We also bought the childrens centre a new double stove, stainless steel cooking pots, kitchen accessories, bowls for the feedings they host, plus skipping ropes and balls for the children.

So first and foremost, thank you to any one of you that donated.

I witnessed the incredible impact your money had and in the video below, I captured as much of it as I could so that you could witness it too…

Video 100% shot on my GoPro Hero 5 Black – http://amzn.to/2lWUEt9
See all the technology I use on my travels here – http://wheresmollie.com/shop

See my ‘GoPro for travelling’ blog post here

 

To get involved and volunteer your time / money with Rise Above to make a difference, see their website here.

 

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Other Philippines posts of mine that you may find of interest:

Have you been to the Philippines?

Would you be interested to do some volunteering in Cebu? 🙂

Thank YOU guys for reading <3

Love as always + happy adventuring,

Mollie x

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  • Glenn

    just found your video on youtube. much respect to you and what you do. god bless

  • Hey Mollie, this is really incredible. You’re so right, we take everything for granted so much and it’s an amazing thing you did here. The photos are spectacular. xxx Sylvie