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Article in Eastleigh News

Philippines News Posted on Thu, February 22, 2018 20:22:55

The Eastleigh News published the following on 20 February

Videos of the trip

Philippines News Posted on Mon, April 18, 2016 21:38:18

Thanks to all who came to the celebration evening on Saturday. The videos of the trip are now online and you can see them on the YouTube page below:

I’ll embed them on the homepage when I have the time and patience to fire up the now ancient laptop I made the website on.



mission complete

Philippines News Posted on Wed, February 24, 2016 18:18:49

Well, what a journey once again. Having spent the last 15 days with a fantastic group of young people and a few oldies as well, its back to the other reality of life back here in the lakes. It always takes me a few days and sometimes weeks to come back down to earth following these trips. Trying to comprehend what these poor people in Tachloban have been through is the most difficult part. Even having stood by the big barge ship that was washed up a good few hundred meters in from shore, having visited the mass graves of thousands of people with nothing but small white wooden crosses to identify them. Hearing the stories from various people about the tragic circumstances they found themselves in….. The church roof that collapsed killing hundreds of people trying to shelter from the typhoon Yolanda. Standing at the lighthouse staring up at the tree that two men had tied themselves to the top off for four hours while a wall of water several meters high races around them in 200 miles per hour winds holding on quite literally for grim death, its like something from a spielburg movie. It is so sad but I sill cant quite comprehend it because it didn’t happen to me.

What we have been able to do though is give the people of Tachloban, in particular at the lighthouse which is an amazing facility and the children at the elementary school a helping hand with 2 new playgrounds, some loving care and attention through the feeding programmes and school and the wonderful murals that leaves a legacy of hope for a brighter future.

Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, i applaud you all for the marvelous group of people you are. It has been my pleasure once again to have shared this experience with you. You have achieved so much in such a short space of time and made a lot of people happy again. I look forward to seeing you all once again in April.

All my very best,


Reflection of the project!

Philippines News Posted on Mon, February 22, 2016 10:57:55

Well that’s the Sholing Phillippines Project over for the third time, and I can promise you now that it is as heartbreaking as it was the first time it ended for me back in 2012. However this time was different, the first reason being that I had to say goodbye to not one place but three.

Manila is something I would say I have experience with after visiting the PCF school; the emotions are not as hard hitting, well so I thought anyway, after returning I always worry about how much has changed since I’ve last seen the children and the school. I absolutely love the PCF school and the children I’ve met over the last three trips especially as I’ve now managed to watch them grow and flourish into the children they are now and I’ve got lots of memories and created some lovely friendships which I will cherish forever. These children do not even have three meals a day or clean water at all times yet the smiles on their faces are always there! Which is the saddest thing really because when we all left the amount of happy faces I saw dropped and they were all sad and crying simply because we were leaving which is a beautiful thing knowing that they truly are grateful for everything and that they do not want us to leave.

Being a part of the Tacloban experience was something I’ve never encountered but something I’ve always dreamed about, but not known where to start, November 2013 Typhoon Yolanda struck and completely tore everything that Tacloban had worked so hard to create. I have really enjoyed speaking to those who survived the trauma and listening to their unbearable ordeals which include the loss of family members, the stories of rescuing family members and the horrifying stories they have now, which include, the Filipinos who were lucky to survive are still now scared of the water, rain and wind as it simply brings back dreadful memories, I’ve shared tears over these stories and have an untold amount of respect for those people who now are still smiling, strong and are sheer proof of not only what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger but to never give up and keep fighting, it’s been just over two years since Yolanda struck and walking through Tacloban it’s hard to believe the struggles each and every Filipino went through.

The culture of the Filippino’s is one I admire and only wished I could see more of in England, the constant waves, the constant smiles and the beautiful atmosphere is simply the best I’ve ever seen and is one of the main reasons why I have pleaded and applied to all three projects. These people are in desperate need of help yet they do not expect it, they do not wait around for it they go out and get it and make the most of what little they have and do all that they can to improve as much as they can when they are given help they cherish it with all their life and it’s beautiful

Over the course of the last 6 years from when I first was told I was allowed to be apart of the first project on 8th December 2010 till now I’ve put well over £5,000 of my own money into all three trips not only for my own funds which have cost 3,000 but contributions to the group fund which is a further 1,000 per trip and I can honestly say it’s the best money I’ve ever spent, to not only donate, but to experience it first hand and deliver the help myself but to engage with those listening to all the back stories behind each character and I will continue to do this for the rest of my life, attempting to visit not only the Philippines but other countries because being a volunteer is the best experience I have ever had and I can only thank Dave Berry for the opportunities others are not so lucky to receive over the last years.

The amount work that has been done over the last three trips has been remarkable and I’m proud to have been a member of all three projects, and I will definitely be returning back to the Philippines in two years time and I cannot wait!


Philippines News Posted on Mon, February 22, 2016 02:09:40

Well I could just tell you every little detail of what we’ve been up to here over the last week, but there’s no need we’ve had a brilliant successful week full of blood, sweat and tears.

There are two parts to this weeks challenge, the first being:

The Lighthouse which is an absolutely gorgeous building which has such lovely detail which tells the story of the building, it’s very symbolic that the work that they do which is to support those in the recreation of everything that was stolen from them by Typhoon Yolanda, known worldwide as Typhoon Haiyan. The staff are all closely connected with Tacloban which is beautiful, a lot of the staff are survivors of the storm which ruined the lives of many. That the building itself was recreated due to its beautiful structure being torn apart by the Typhoon and I couldn’t think of a better place to spend my second week here in the Philippines, I have made a connection with all those who work within the Lighthouse and I am definitely going to make a return as soon as I can!! They run 2 feeding programmes per day which is by far the best thing I’ve ever experienced and one thing I wish I could have done in 2012, the first one I took part in was Monday and was in a lovely small fishing community where I met lots of lovely people who are all so very grateful for everything that they receive. The second was Thursday morning which was done at a local school, children come flooding at the van excited to get the food, ranging from bowls, jugs, lunch boxes, cups and even plastic bottles of Fanta and Coke! After we then dished the food to children of all ages and sizes who all were very polite and grateful of the food which they call ‘Lugaw.’ I then met the boy was was struggling as his shoe was broken, which was the most heartbreaking thing realising that not only was his shoe broken early on in the school day but that was probably his only pair left, I watched him struggle to fix the shoe then I went over and try to help, which was unsuccessful after several attempts to fix the shoe I managed to tape it back together, the boy then was so worried about his shoe breaking again he didn’t move for about 10 minutes, it was one amazing and yet heartbreaking thing that I will never forget.

The second being the local school in Tolosa, where I was lucky enough to become a part of the team who helped make the playground for the school children which was lovely to then see them all running around on Friday, we gave out a shoebox to each of the children at the school which was so lovely as they were all very grateful and even asked us if we knew the people from the boxes as they wanted us to pass on a special thank you!!

Daleo’s daily blog-day 14

Philippines News Posted on Fri, February 19, 2016 16:43:36

Wow, what an incredible final day in the Philippines. We started off with our standard Lighthouse breakfast (Lighthouse food has been a fitting replacement to Mr Poons for the second half of our trip) before heading off to the Talosa school for the grand opening of the new playground. I was really proud to to see the finished article, knowing that so many of our students (and staff) had put blood sweat and tears into its construction. It had been great to see our students interacting with Mick OD, Ginger Mick (who has been telling everyone he is Harrys dad for the past fortnight) and Freeza over the past week, 3 fine fellows who have not only taught them the value of hard work, but also how to do it while constantly having a smile on your face and a song in the air. We quite simply could not have done this project without them, both through skills and expertise, excellent teaching of our students and the fun they have brought, so thanks very much guys!

We were greeted by the principal and a marching band, all in green outfits, and majorettes who did a performance to celebrate our arrival. Following this, we gave out shoeboxes to every child in the school, kindly donated by the Rotary club. This was all a warm up for the main event however, opening the playground to the children. It is an incredible feeling to see something that you have worked so hard on, creating so much joy for people who had their lives turned upside down 2 and a half years ago, and I know every student who had had a hand to play in its construction felt the same way. We were fortunate that the rain (which had been hammering down all morning) disappeared for a brief spell, giving the Talosa students chance to play, only to be cut short by the heavens opening again about 15 minutes later, right as we were taking a group photo.

A soaked 40 people trudged into the Hiyan restaurant for lunch, accompanied by the entire staff at the school. The principal had kindly decided to shut the school for the afternoon, so as the staff could join in the celebration as well. At the Hiyan, we were treated to further displays, including an all boy dance/percussion group, some traditional Philippino dances, and a staff number. We were then caught a bit off guard when asked to perform something ourselves, but managed to collectively bash out a discordant version of Wonderwall, having borrowed a guitar from the staff choir. It was a lovely end to a lovely morning.

We headed back to the Lighthouse and had chance to purchase copies of ‘Yolanda’, a book written by Bill Shaw about the Typhoon that decimated the island. The author himself was there to sign copies and chat to people about his experience, having arrived weeks after the storm to help with the recovery. An afternoon of chilling out followed, before finally the grand opening of the playground. This was another euphoric moment, with various speeches (from Mick, Bez, Lighthouse founder Jeff, and Springboard founder Anette, amongst others) and a dance number from the local children. We were then surprised to find ourselves challenged by the Aussie group (who have been also working there for the last few days) to a dance off. They worked their way through a poignant song about a Lighthouse saving you from the waters, some very appropriate lyrics given the impact the Lighthouse program has on the rebuilding of the community. Once again put on the spot, Team UK rose to the occasion, deciding that the only way to beat the Aussies was by strength in numbers. So, nearly 40 of us, lead by the surprisingly rhythmic Matt Hubbard, worked our way through the Cha Cha slide. Mick OD then officially cut the rope to allow the local children onto the playground, this time about 3-4 times the number of children from the previous day. Plenty of group photos then followed, as we all enjoyed our last evening in Tacloban.

This second week had been incredible. I obviously enjoyed week 1 as well, but watching the way that this community has recovered and rebuilt in light of one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit land has been truly inspiring. Seeing the role the Lighthouse has played, in providing a safe place for people, as well as their feeding programs has been inspiring. Seeing the community spirit around the Talosa school, and the enjoyment from something as simple as a shoebox of old toys and a playground is inspiring. And working with the students and staff on this project has been inspiring.

We have taken away with us a group of young people who have worked 12 hour days, and then come back asking what more they can do. A group who have shown compassion to people who have had to suffer situations very alien to what they themselves have experienced, but dealt with it with sympathy and empathy far beyond their years. A group who have exhausted themselves painting, digging, cleaning and feeding, and then somehow found the energy for some zumba, football or a sing along. And above all, they have done it with a smile on their faces. I am incredibly proud to say that I have worked with these young people (and the old ones too) and especially proud this time round getting to be head of year for half of them. I know Mrs Jeffery feels the same. The year 10’s have proven that they are mature enough, both emotionally and physically to hold their own. The year 11s have shown charity and benevolence to put the needs of others before their own studies in the lead up to exams (dont worry mums and dads, they have been revising in their evenings/at the airports too!) And the returning students have shown themselves to be fantastic role models, and showed why we had no hesitation in bringing them back a second (or in some cases 3rd) time. Every single one of them has excelled, and truly are the epitome of ‘World Class’. The school motto always used to be ‘Striving for excellence’, over the past 2 weeks, these students have achieved it, and by a considerable way. Families, friends and the College should all be very proud of them, I know I am.

I best get some sleep, as I need to be up in about 5 hours, so for the final time, Mr D signing out, Paalam!

Daleo’s not even close to daily blog-Days 11-13

Philippines News Posted on Fri, February 19, 2016 15:52:19

OK, so I didn’t quite manage do do a blog each day this time, so a quick update on Tues-Thurs.

I spent Tuesday down at the Talosa playground with the 2 Mick’s and several members of the team. Tuesday saw the christening of Rhianonshroom, Imoshroom, Robshroom and Priyshroom, 4 parts of the playground installed by the 4 girls. They had worked hard with Ginger Mick assembling them for the morning, then dug the holes and cemented them in themselves. One of the things I love most about this project is seeing TSTC students get to learn new skills and grow as people, and this was no exception, seeing 4 of our smaller team mates throwing cement into 1m holes they had dug themselves was an impressive sight to behold. Lewis also impressed, holding his own with me and Gav, both grown men, in the sledgehammer stakes, smashing the concrete off the old playground equipment to then use as balast.

Wednesday took me back to Talosa for my third day in a row, which I was pleased about as I had missed out on building the Lighthouse playground with the advance party. This time we took a different selection of students, who all once again impressed, with Chloe, Lucy and Jess particularly standing out, doing whatever job was asked of them, from digging to raking, to bolting to tidying. Seeing Lucy climb into the holes which were nearly s big as she was, to flatten the bottom out was a rather comical sight. Not quite as comical as Shakila, who managed to full on fall into one of them by accident, which rendered us useless from laughing for a good few minutes. We also got a few undercoats on the wall around the playground for what will become our 3rd mural of the trip. Both days we had been gifted a fair bit of cloud coverage and some drizzle, meaning the conditions were pretty perfect for some hard graft. When we got back to the Lighthouse, we were met by a delivery of turf for the playground that the advance party had built, which we promptly spent an hour or so laying, before doing a bit of zumba/basketball to unwind.

Thursday saw all hands on deck as it was our last day to get things finished before we had to head home. The playground at Talosa was nearly complete, with only a slide left to install, so a smaller than usual party went off to finish that, alongside Jeffers and a few students, set with the task of painting a mural in a day. The majority of the group stayed at the Lighthouse, to complete the remaining tasks there (mural 2, laying the rest of the turf, cleaning and prepping for the opening, etc). Each day a group have gone out to help the Lighthouse staff with the feeding program and today it was my turn to accompany them. I cant say it had been something I had been especially looking forward to, but I really enjoyed it once I was there, giving out what for many will be the most nutritious meal of the week to approx 300 kids at a nearby school. We played with them for a bit (and alongside Chloe and Shakila, helped fix a young lads shoe…) before heading back to the Lighthouse. I got the chance to join in with a bit of painting under the watchful eye of Chris and Gemma, and really enjoyed a slightly more relaxing afternoon after 3 days of heavy lifting and digging. The afternoon was capped off by a number of the local kids coming down to give the new playground a trial run. We also had a decent little game of 5 a side, before Harry managed to lose the ball into a nearby river. The Lighthouse has been an absolutely lovely venue for our second half of the trip, with opportunities to relax alongside all the hard work. They have provided us with incredible food courtesy of resident chef Mama J, as well as music, dancing, games, and camaraderie. It is really chilled out, and has with it an air of calm that is exactly what this society needs after the devastation of 2 and a half years ago.

Only 1 day left in Tacloban before our long journey home.

Freeza signing off

Philippines News Posted on Fri, February 19, 2016 15:47:45

Well here we are, the students are all in bed 11-30 with a 5-30 get up time for tomorrow before we start our 30 plus hour trip home. Today was just an absolutely wonderful day. We had 2 great opening ceremonies at the two playgrounds followed by highly emotional play times with the kids. The Tolosa school site was particularly amazing because it was like a carnival with all the parents and locals in the school to witness the handing out of ‘Shoe box ‘gifts for every child. These are boxes we shipped out last year, donations collected by the rotary club of UK from children in the UK to a child of a similar age in the Philippines. I have been part of these hand out sessions before but this time more than ever I was aware of how much it means when a child who has nothing gets a gift of a few toys, sweets soap, toothpaste etc. It was like Christmas but so much more magical. How often do we see our sons daughters and Grandchildren open so many presents at Christmas and dismiss each one without a second thought. I sat and watched so many children open the box and treasure these small gifts way above their financial value. This community is just beginning to emerge from one of the worst natural disasters of modern times. They are doing this with an amazing sense of optimism and positivity, they appreciate any help they can get but when it is given they show so much gratitude.

Your sons and daughters have worked so hard. They have made such a difference to the lives of 2 communities. They have done it with such care and consideration for these people it is lovely to witness. They have experienced so much, learned so much about the people here but mostly about them selves. They came for a life changing experience and they have had that.

They have done themselves and you proud. We leave tomorrow with heavy hearts. As I said today in my very short thank you to the Tolosa school today. “when we reach the UK it will be 2 degrees we will be cold on the outside but our hearts will be filled with warmth for the memories we lave behind”

It has been awesome.

Good night and thank you so much to the students who have given me so much joy over the last 2 weeks.


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