Aid in Bantayan: Tough; Kids smiling: Priceless | Inquirer News

Aid in Bantayan: Tough; Kids smiling: Priceless

By: - Correspondent / @carlagomezINQ
/ 11:29 PM December 14, 2013

CHILDREN in Bantayan Island having fun with their favorite donations—balls given by Bantayan 3500 volunteers. EDWIN VICENCIO/CONTRIBUTOR

BACOLOD CITY—The rewards of helping cannot be underestimated or measured but these are quickly felt, according to a group of volunteers who went on an aid mission in a Cebu area that was hit by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

“The smiles on the faces of the children were priceless. They made our Christmas,” said Anne Ledesma, one of 35 volunteers belonging to a group called


Bantayan 3500, who went on an aid mission in Bantayan Island, Cebu province, one of the areas left in ruins by Yolanda.


Bantayan 3500, a group of volunteers from this city that decided to continue helping Bantayan after an initial visit to the island, gave Christmas gifts and cheered more than 3,000 children in one of Cebu’s remotest areas.

What the volunteers saw in Bantayan impressed them— books and notebooks being dried on rooftops. From that scene, a single message was sent out clearly—that the people of the island value education so much, no matter what.

“We were moved by the sight,” said Bebol Carreon, another volunteer. “So we wanted to give school supplies to each child,” she said.

It was not an easy journey for the volunteers. They left this city at midnight on December 11, arrived in Sagay City at 2 a.m. to catch a boat and arrived in Bantayan at past 4 a.m. on Dec. 12.

In Bantayan, they split up into seven groups and took smaller boats to seven islets—Moamboc, Hilotongan, Botigues, Doong, Luyong Baybay, Lipayran, and Mambacayao—to deliver their gifts.

Each of the children received a backpack with crayons, drawing books, pencils, paper, notebooks, stickers and towelettes, Carreon said.


The school supplies were donated by the volunteers’ friends in Negros Occidental province, Australia, the United States, Germany and France. The backpacks came from German friends in Munich, she said.

Seventy teachers were also given bags with manila paper, sponge pads, art and construction papers, sharpeners, scotch and masking tape, chalk, blackboard eraser, ball pens, marker pens, highlighters, correction fluid, crayons, glue, ruler, scissors, puncher, stapler, staple remover, folders and fasteners.

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The biggest hit among the children were basketballs, volleyballs and beach balls, Carreon said.

TAGS: Bantayan, Cebu, Children, Regions

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