The Gift of Happiness

Emotional roller coaster…

I could relate my experience of gift-giving at the Missionaries of Charity in Old Cabalan to the movie Inside Out (it’s okay if you’re not familiar with the movie). It was an evocative experience for me, to be exact; and I had ambivalent feelings about it. I felt five emotions throughout our visit to the place and they’re similar to the movie: there was joy, sadness, fear, disgust, and anger. But still, joy was the dominant emotion after our visit; however, I also felt a bit of disgust and anger.

JOY

Our visit to the Missionaries of Charity left an indelible mark in my heart. We began our trip last December 18, 2015 at 1:30 P.M., a group made up of some members of IROG foundation and a number of LGO employees. Clearly, each one of us carried a high level of enthusiasm and merriment during our trip because of our endless smiles and laughter. But personally, I was looking forward to the smiles of those who will receive our special gifts.

We got there around 2:30 P.M.. We waited first for the sister in-charge of accompanying us at the charity; and then we collected our gifts on a table within the residence. Our gifts included grocery items, such as canned goods, biscuits, as well as tissues and pampers (I can’t give the exact list of all the items we gave to the charity, since most of them are already organized in different plastic bags and others in plastic containers). We then waited for the beneficiaries who were mosty elderly people and some disabled individuals; altogether, there were at least 20 individuals. There were also two sets of tables and chairs inside the charity – one for the elderly and one for the disabled. While waiting for the other people to come outside, we entertained those who were already there. Someone played a guitar and sang. I can’t forget the energy of the old woman in a violet dress (as shown in the picture) who sang along with the girl playing the guitar and the cheerfulness I felt at sensing her aura. It was so rewarding.

When all of them were already present, Sir Ramil started the activity by offering a heartfelt prayer. Right after we asked for God’s guidance, we started doing our grand masterpiece: UNIFIED SINGING. Perhaps, this is one of the traits of LGO that most people find fascinating. We’re not the best singers in town; but we could sing a song that’s worth remembering because of the laughters and smiles we could bring to our audience. Some of the famous Christmas songs we sing to them included “Feliz Navidad” and “Star Ng Pasko”.

Once again, we proved our good reputation in great unified singing because we made each and every one of them happy and gleeful. Some of us also gave our cute headbands to the elderly people as a sign of our care and compassion, which made them smile.
The next thing we did was to prepare the food. We served spaghetti and drinks. We offered our help to guide the elderly get their food and while they ate. One of them was blind; so one of us dedicated all her time in feeding her.

It was “candy time” after that. We gave each of them different kinds of candy, such as marshmallows and jelly ace. They prefered the marshmallows more because of its soft texture and it was easy to swallow. We gave some of the old women plastic bags because they just wanted to keep their candies. And just like the candies, all their smiles were so sweet and melted in our hearts.

After those activities, we stayed there for almost 30 minutes to have a little bonding moment with the elderly people and some of the staff. Everyone decided to go home after a few minutes. Even though the time we spent with them was very short, we had no regrets because we were able to bring home each of their smiles. It was such a joyful experience indeed.

SADNESS

Whenever I looked into the eyes of those people in the charity, I felt a sudden rush of sadness. Were they lonely? Did they miss their family? I think so, because one of the old women was so happy to see one of us and she kept on pointing at her and she seemed so excited. Perhaps, one of her family members looked like our colleague. I felt sad seeing it and I suddenly realized how lucky I am that I have parents and a family to thrive on. Each of us should treasure our family members because family is not just an important thing, it’s EVERYTHING.

But on the brighter side, it seems that the people in the charity already built their second family in the company of each other, because family is not just about blood; sometimes, it’s about who’s there to hold you tight when times are rough. Just the thought of it erased the sadness I felt inside.

FEAR

It’s not just me that felt this emotion. One of my colleagues also said that she was scared of her future because of what we saw in the charity. She suddenly asked me what-if questions about the possible outcomes of our future. She also told me that she was worried when we get older in case we don’t have someone to take care of us. I told her that I was scared, too, but that she needed not to worry too much because we were still young. What we can do today is love our parents dearly and take care of them with all our strength so they won’t feel afraid of their future. Each of us should assure our parents that we will not leave them until the end because the fear we felt after visiting the Missionaries of Charity might also be the same fear that they’re feeling right now, possibly much greater than ours was.

DISGUST & ANGER

I’m totally shocked when I heard that all of the elderly people we met at the charity were abandoned by their families. I couldn’t help myself but to be upset. Children should love and take care of their parents, not leave them behind helpless. Whatever reasons they had, it’s still wrong to abandon a loved one. Will you abandon a family member just because they did something wrong to you? Remember that you’ve done bad things to them, too. I will never understand a man who abandons his family.

No wonder the eyes of those old people had some sadness and loneliness in them. Some of us take our life and our family for granted and fail to appreciate and acknowledge their presence in our life. Only when we lose it do we realize its true worth.

To the one reading this: Promise yourself that you’ll never abandon your parents or a family member with all your life, because the pain of being left behind is worse than being stabbed a hundred times.

On the other hand, I’m glad that we were able to bring joy to those people with our special gifts and presentation. There’s no gift more precious than THE GIFT OF HAPPINESS they gave us on that day. It was like an advanced Christmas gift.

May God bless us all.

“Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” – David Ogden Stiers

MEMORIES OF FOREVER

“Sadness…

Joy…

Anticipation…

… All these mixed feelings I’m having while writing this piece; they’re all imponderable.”

I firmly believe that death is not the opposite of life but a part of it.

It has been a year since Sir Joel, or Boss Owe, became one of God’s angels. I’m sure that he is guiding us from above and continually making sure that his presence is always felt by us.

The first time I saw Boss Owe, I felt this sudden rush of fear through my veins. I was so scared because he looked so strict. When he was in the office, I could not even type a word. (I could be exaggerating; but that’s what I really felt back then.) But after witnessing Boss Owe’s great kindness towards other people and his employees, everything changed. He suddenly became my idol. He was very kind-hearted and was always concerned of his employees’ welfare. Even though the time I spent with Boss Owe was short, I’m certain that his beliefs and principles are already written in the deepest parts of my heart. He is one of those few people I really adore because of his accomplishments as a successful businessman and his personal mark as a survivor of life’s greatest challenges.

Please bear with me as I recount two different events which occurred on September 16, 2015. First, LGO employees went that day to the Divine Mercy Memorial Park to give something special for Boss Owe. Second, Ma’am Rose, her son, Ate Roselle and Ate Charlotte decided to go to the San Marcelino Hospital to give special gifts to some newborn-babies on behalf of the IROG Foundation.

Jar of love letters (LGO employees at Divine Mercy)

It was during that morning of September 16 that each one of us wrote a special love-letter to Boss Owe. The papers we used were of different colors and we all put them in a “jar of love-letters”. What we had was such a colorful jar which made us really proud and happy.

We left the office around 1:30 P.M. for the Divine Mercy where Boss Owe had been laid to rest. Everyone did not mind the scorching heat of the day because our minds were filled with the thought of visiting Boss Owe once again. Also, we were so eager to give Boss Owe our special gifts.

Once we got there, most of us hesitated from reading our letters in front of Boss Owe (we believed he was there with us) and everyone else. But after a while, Kuya Ryan started to give his heartfelt message to Boss Owe and we felt a rush of sadness in every word he said. And before he became too emotional, he ended his message with a smile and told a simple joke to lighten up the mood. After Kuya Ryan, it was Ms. Faye, Mayeth, and Kuya Dong who read their own heartfelt special messages for Boss Owe.

Then, after filling our “jar of love letters”, we sang Superman by Five for Fighting for Boss Owe (I’d heard from my office-mates that it was a very special song, being one of Boss Owe’s favorite songs). We didn’t have any musical instruments with us but simply hoped that our “golden” voices will make our “special number” worth doing. Haha! And again, all of us felt hesitant to start our presentation. I don’t remember how many “Okay guys, this is it; be ready in 3, 2, 1…*awkward silence*….” moments we went through. After each awkward-silence moment, we would all burst into laughter! I could imagine Boss Owe laughing at us and doing a face-palm, because we have always been that way during unified singing. But as we stood and sang by Boss Owe’s graveside, I knew that each one of us left a simple promise. A promise that he will never be forgotten and his beliefs and deeds in life will always be remembered.

Delivering hope to new beginnings

Boss Owe was a person who was truly devoted to his principles in life. That is why it is not surprising that we admire his strength of character. I just joined the company last year and I witnessed how Boss Owe’s positive attitude influenced each and every one of us. Yes, there were challenges that came; but we knew that Boss Owe was always around to guide us; and if we can hear him now, he might be telling us to never give up and to ever stay positive.

Boss Owe also greatly valued the life of every person; that is why on the same day of September 16, Ma’am Rose (Boss Owe’s loving wife), as well as their son, Ate Roselle and Ate Lot, paid a visit to the San Marcelino Hospital to give newborn-babies some of their basic needs, such as baby bottles, blankets, diapers, milk and stuffed toys. Almost 20 infants received those special gifts prepared by the IROG Foundation. And for every bag handed out to the parents of the babies, we got back the refreshing sense of fulfillment and great satisfaction for all the efforts we put into the preparations. It felt really good to see all their smiles and to hear all their “thank you’s”. It was truly a delightful opportunity to be part of the gift-giving.

Seeing those innocent babies gave me that wonderfully rare feeling, as if those tiny angels were telling me that life is such a precious gift we must cherish at every moment. Babies are the cutest creatures on Earth! And just looking at them made us giggle like kids again.

The day we lost Boss Owe, we felt our own life had ended, too, because of so much grief. But Boss Owe had taught us many things, including the lesson that “no matter what life brings you, keep on moving forward and stay positive”. So now, we face each day with hope and happy memories to help us on our way. Even though he is no longer here with us, his influence continues to guide us and his presence remains as real and as strong as the memories he gave us.

The life of a person might end, but his memories do not; because when someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a great treasure you would always want to hold in your heart. The laughter, the smiles and all the fun we shared with Boss Owe are incomparable. They are memories of forever. They will never die because they live within our hearts, bringing strength and comfort.

Lupang Pangako Community Service 2015

Lupang Pangako. It’s the area at the top of a mountain in Brgy. Amungan, Iba, Zambales where the Aetas affected by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991 were relocated. It was almost a two-hour journey from Subic where the office and most of IROG Foundation’s volunteers are based. To say that the road to Sitio Lupang Pangako was not easily accessible would be an absolute understatement. However, that didn’t take away the fun of the road trip from us.

The counterintuitive notion of “the more you give, the more you receive” had been proven true once again.

A documentary video by Logicgateone Corporation

Mind On Board 2015 Chess Tournament

Chess Tournament Poster

The Chess Tournament is an Isabelita Rosueta Organization Project in Memory of Joel “Owe” Castillo, the Chairman of the charitable institution for children and the needy.

Around 26 chess enthusiasts in different ages gathered last April 12, 2015 for the pre-elimination round. Geared with their respective strategies for the board game, only the Top 16 was chosen during the elimination round. The competition was a long run event in screening the most dynamic players leading for the Top 2 best players; Mr. Alfredo Bivas and Mr. Khruschev Tolentino.

chessplayers

The championship round was a best of 3 game. During the first round the game seems so fast as each player exchanges their moves and as time goes by, the air was filled with intensity as they seriously focused on their target. The mind boggling game ended with a checkmate by Mr. Tolentino followed by a surrendered game in the second round in favor of Mr. Tolentino leading him to be declared as the champion last May 16, 2015.

The event was supported by the dedicated LGO Staff and IROG Volunteers. And as we always said “It is not about winning but it is on how you play the game.”

chessimg1

Jpeg

Jpeg

Lupang Pangako Community Service

It was barely past eight when our bus finally reached the last leg of the trip — the tricky path up the mountain. But instead of a typical camping trip, we had planned on something more meaningful that Friday morning.

lupangpangako

Our mission: To give some school supplies to elementary school pupils, and let them have some fun playing games while we’re at it.

Our destination: Lupang Pangako. It’s the area at the top of a mountain in Brgy. Amungan, Iba, Zambales where the Aetas affected by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991 were relocated. It was almost a two-hour journey from Subic where the office and most of IROG Foundation’s volunteers are based. To say that the road to Sitio Lupang Pangako was not easily accessible would be an absolute understatement. However, that didn’t take away the fun of the road trip from us. (Though I suspect our bus driver and his sidekick would say otherwise.)

flour game combine

Thankfully, the children still looked excited when we got to the school, even with our rather late arrival. And with kids being kids, it was not hard getting them all fired up for outdoor games. They had fun playing, especially in the Flour Game where they had to puff on a bowl of flour to find an item buried underneath without using their hands. You can just imagine the racket that would ensue when five kids were to do this simultaneously on the same bowl! Yep, hilarious chaos. The boys’ team found it so amusing to have flour-faces that they were laughing at each other even after the game.

Another really fun game was the Fish Race where they had to make the paper fish travel around an obstacle by fanning it with a folder. Somebody commented that perhaps by the time the game ends, that paper fish will be no more. True enough, halfway through the game, the “fish” was barely recognizable in its crumpled form. But what really cracked people up were those kids who were seriously trying to ‘fan’ the paper fish but were, humorously enough, only hitting sand.

They also had turns playing Calamansi Relay and Ball Relay. You could tell there was unmistakable competitiveness between the teams when by the end of each game the winning team would jump around and do victory shouts — talk about unlimited energy!

ballrelay combi

We also gave out trinkets and small toys that seemed to be greatly appreciated by them. In fact, you’d hardly see any pupils who were not sporting either a colorful hairband or a pair of sunglasses.

Their teachers were also commendable for their dedication in their job, especially because they’re working way out of their comfort zones. It’s not easy teaching hyperactive children to line up properly even for a food distribution, but with a little help, the team managed it.

snacks1During break time, we couldn’t help but smile when every kid said a “thank you” while we handed them snacks. After everyone got their share, there were still some leftovers so we decided to give seconds to some of the kids nearby. It proved to be a bad call on our part because we totally got mobbed by the rest of the kids in a matter of seconds! (It’s a real funny scene where our pleads of “hold on” were lost on their “me too”. I see now we should have asked them to line up again for seconds. Lesson learned.)

While eating their snacks, for some reason, we noticed the kids were all gathering in the middle of the field. I was still trying to figure it out when some of the lively boys suddenly went on an impromptu dance showdown! (Like I said, unlimited energy.)

We managed to have small talks with some of them, albeit limited to what-is-your-name and how-old-are-you kind of conversations. But just as some were too shy to talk, you could tell they love the camera as they gamely smiled and waved.

It’s a real blessing to see them enjoying themselves like all kids should.

Somehow, the counterintuitive notion of “the more you give, the more you receive” had been proven true once again. Because as our bus started to leave the school that afternoon, I can’t help but think we’ve already received our reward: 200 smiling faces.

IROG Summer Camp 2014: Now Happening till May 21

summer1

 
The Isabelita Rosueta (IROG) Foundation recently launched another community outreach program through an educational/recreational Summer Camp at the LogicGateOne Compound, a medium-sized farm-office compound also called “Green”, in Sto. Tomas, Subic, Zambales. This month-long Summer Camp will last from April 21 to May 21, with daily programs from 8:30 AM to 12 NN except Saturdays.

The camp aims to provide local students with introductory and refresher courses in such subjects as Basic English, Basic Math, Basic Science, Arts, Reading Comprehension and Computer Basic Training, aside from conducting sports activities and Bible discussions. The program offers free, well-rounded opportunities for students in their scholastic, emotional, cultural and spiritual development.

IROG has targeted about 118 participants as the beneficiaries of this youth-enhancement project in order to engage students during the long, hot and what they call boring school summer vacation and to fill in any gaps they may have in their past and future academic training.

Through this intensive summer program, parents and guardians will find IROG’s Summer Camp 2014 not just an educational treasure trove but also a source of personal growth for our youth. IROG has proven once more its dedication and foresight in helping develop Subic and Zambales and the nation-at-large through transforming its citizens into highly-aware and well-balanced individuals.

Come and see for yourself what the future leaders of our land are doing at IROG’s Summer Camp 2014!