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Friday, January 10, 2014

YOLANDA OUTREACH: Mission Highlights

Happy to share life's blessings to those in need. With a multitude who experienced hardship and  hunger when Yolanda devastated a huge region, it was hard not to think and act. Sending donation through the Cornell Club of the Philippines for medical relief  during the early phase seemed not enough,  We had experts willing to help and the mission trip involved assessment, feeding, relief distribution, establishment of community kitchens and foundation seed dispersal.

 Here's the highlight of our  program first steps.

Foundation seeds of corn, mungbean, squash, eggplant, okra and sitao  that can start production for about  10 hectares of land were repacked in home, community and farmer's packets.These type of seeds are mainly for multiplication, traditionally not planted for direct commercial crop harvest. Distribution were made directly through the communities, individuals and the LGU's we prioritized.  We purchased them from the National Seed Foundation under my unit the Crop Science Cluster and Institute of Plant Breeding, UP Los Banos  from pledges and private donations. My students, family and some CSC staff helped when we repacked many sacks and bags into small packets. The small packets included our LIGAYANG MABUHAY campaign, the mission group and the names of the crops seeds and their cultivar names eg. Mistisa, Supersweet and Pag-asa. We distributed over a thousand packets with some groups receiving vermicast and the Mykoplus biofertilizer, an  inoculant donated by Dr. Joy Zarate of BIOTECH, UPLB..  It is our aim to promote production of nutritious foods at the home, in the community gardens and through farmers to address part of their food needs. While we expect home gardens to enjoy the harvests we instructed recipients to save the best, let them mature and share to others.

Sharing nutritious cooked soups, meals,  and holiday  fruits in a surprise feeding program were done in different places. Interestingly our feeding schedules amidsts rainshower or strong pours and some good sunny hours  from barangay halls, roadside waiting shed, barangay sheds by the coasts and highlands, parking areas and home fronts. 

Big smiles and happy faces from our children and adult recipients. We were able to do it with the help of our volunteers and the community who responded quickly to our surprise visits. Some areas were quick to call and in large droves while the others took passing of the shouts from fields. The sight of kids running to meet us amazed me.

We set up a special cooking session: A PANCAKE BRIGADE with the barangay leaders of West Visoria, Carigara and also turnover our kitchen materials and supplies, They are continuing the feeding program and we expect them to have the family of the benefiaries to help in implementing them. Early on I envisioned setting up soup kitchens or a community kitchen that can be mobile or stationary with options for mixed use for possible service, livelihood or community strengthening. Three barangays in Cariigara got food supplies and two got our cookwares and utensils that gladly cooperated to operate the feeding and health program. 

We got donation for water fitltration technology using these plastic drums and a nanotech system from the US that allows cleaning of water.  This was set up by MU SIGMA PHI fraternity and sorority  at the UP College of Medicine  in  Manila in their special project as initiated to us  by my mission partner Dr Ces Acuin and her husband Dr Lito Acuin. Jose Chua, a second year Medicine student gave this to us and demonstrated how it works and it is maintained.

Recipients are Barugo, Leyte residents distributed in schools. We also gave them seeds, food supplies as shown here.  We also donated 3 sets of encyclopedia in a public library recently damaged.

We met farmers of Tacloban City in cooperation with the City Agriculturist office and distributed seeds and observed their farm system.

Spending the holidays in Leyte and reaching out to many barangays in Carigara,  Capoocan, Barugo, Palo (Leyte) and Tacloban city is a life changing experience. Our team of experts and volunteers will convene soon  to plan how to proceed.

Thanks to all our pivate donors from the US, Canada and the Philippines mostly our relarives and some friends, our hosts, my aunt Minda Lim, Uncle Ben, May and Jerome Capuyan, the Shopper's staff and crew. Our volunteers esp. Rochelle Saracanlao, Nim Gonzales, Jessie Lubag and my students at UPLB. 

This we do in behalf of the LUBAG-MERCADO Mission and our gracious and generous donors. 
The Mission group was formed when the family, church and relatives  of Dr. Leticia Mercado Lubag and the late Mr. Angelo Josue B. Lubag Jr of Naic, Cavite  joined hand to conduct two Habagat Outreach  Missions  in cooperation with  the Naic LGU's, private groups and my alumni club the Cornell Club of the Philippines in its Centennial Celebration in 2012.

This is just the start, we hope to do more, they really need more help. 

Blessings to all, let us join hands and let love flow.


Maraming Salamat,

Amihan Mercado Lubag-Arquiza

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