In 2015, I scratched off one important item from my bucket list - volunteering!

It took me a really long time to do this one. While I was still in China, I've already thought about visiting an orphanage once I get back to the Philippines. And when I lived and worked in Baguio, I was finally able to do it!

I looked up orphanages near my area and I came across one that houses abandoned and abused kids and babies. I've only tried volunteering for a few months but I've learned a lot from those times. Though it really breaks my heart to see the kids, I had to try my best to put on a brave face and not show them how much I want to cry for them. They made it easy for me though because most of them are really cheerful and energetic. You won't see a tiny ray of self-pity! I kinda miss playing with them and feeding them. Even though I was trained to deal with gangsters (read: high school students!) during my internship in college, I was given a chance to teach younger students as well in my previous classroom teaching jobs. So, I figured I would be able to handle looking after young kids at an orphanage as well. Turns out, I was right!

Going to that place was quite challenging. It literally was an uphill climb since Baguio is made up of hills and mountains. I used to go there on my days off. The last time I was there was a few days before I moved back to Manila. I donated most of my clothes since I cannot bring them all back to the city. And I sold a few 'grownup' clothes to my former co-workers in Baguio! (Hi, Baguio peeps! I miss you guys!)

Anyway, so, today I'd like to share with you about a few things I've learned from that experience.

#1 It somehow cures depression

Depression is more than just feeling sad. Man, it's SO much more than that! Depression is not feeling anything at all. You don't care about anything at all. Your heart and mind are pretty much empty. Based on my real-life experience and from the insane amount of articles that I have read, volunteering is one of the best natural ways to reconnect with life. When you give your time to someone, you make a choice to give something that you can never take back. From there, you can gradually start to feel like you are living again - that you are back on track. You don't focus on yourself when you volunteer, you focus on what you can give. It will eventually make you feel selfless. It will give you a totally different perspective in life. You will understand the word 'compassion'. You know that phrase that 'normal' people usually say when you tell them you feel a bit depressed...

"Snap out of it!

I used to hate that phrase, but, you know what I realized? Somehow, it really is just a matter of strong will and deep motivation. You have to have that WILL to SNAP OUT OF IT and you can absolutely do that by volunteering. You have to admit that you need humans and not chemicals to cure you. There's an in-explainable feeling after you do something good to other humans without expecting anything in return. When that magical feeling starts flowing within your body, that's when you start to heal! 

#2 It makes you feel grateful

Once you realize how fortunate you are compared to the kids in the shelter, you will have a deeper sense of gratitude. You will have a new found respect for life itself. You only have your mom? Those kids have none! You hate your dad? Most of those kids never even met their dads and probably never will. Those kids I looked after were all rescued because they were abandoned or abused!

Life can get suckier, but most of the time, it doesn't! And you'll learn to be grateful that despite everything that you have been through - physical ailments, mental fatigue, financial crises, social humiliation (insert your kind of sh*t here). Why? BECAUSE YOU ARE STILL ALIVE AND SURVIVING! You have even lived long enough to read this! Can you imagine how great that is??? Sure, sh*ts come and go, you'd probably never run out of that as long as you live, but that doesn't mean that you'll have to be defeated by it. You go through pain, discomfort, trials, challenges, hurdles - whatever you call it, and you come out alive EVERY SINGLE TIME! There maybe times when you might feel like you've had a near-death experience or like you 'almost lost it', but can you take a moment to realize that you didn't? 

Since I've done that volunteering and after realizing how fortunate I actually am, I've been doing this exercise wherein I'd write down 3 things that made me happy or things I am grateful for by the end of the day - every day. It really helps me a lot to keep track of the good stuff, no matter how exhausted I am when I hit the sack. It makes me look forward to the next day. It makes me feel that life can only get better if I believe it will.

Every time I leave that shelter, I say these words under my breath "No matter how crazy my family is, at least I know who they are and where to find them, just in case I need them."

#3 It improves your interpersonal skills

One thing that most of my friends can testify is that I am usually not the first one to say 'HELLO'. I'm a pretty hard (nut) case to crack - like literally! If I am not doing my job, you would rarely hear me talk. Seriously! If I am not interested about something, you won't hear me making comments at all. I only blabber when the subject falls under the category of skincare/makeup, anime, food, past life, Paulo Coelho books, Taylor Swift, music, blogging/writing, photography or country life. It's retarded, I know! But volunteering changed that retarded habit of mine. I know that it will be very weird and awkward if I'd go there and ask if I can help with anything WITHOUT ACTUALLY TALKING TO ANYONE. The truth is, I want to talk - I want to be able to express my opinion and share what I have learned about life. I just can't always find the right people to talk to because I feel like most people don't get me. They don't understand what I like and what I don't like. I'm too lazy to explain too! I'm also not fond of fitting in just so I would feel secure. I know what I can and what I cannot do, I don't need anyone to point them out to me. I know myself better than anyone else...or so I thought!

Now, I've been saying this a lot in my blog and I think I'll never get tired of saying it because it is the truth but - I'm an inborn introvert. Yes, I was raised by extroverts, so, obviously I know the 'norms' and basic steps to getting along with people. I know that I SHOULD shake people's hands when I meet them for the first time, I know that I SHOULD make eye contact when I talk to humans and I know that I SHOULD blend in and try not to stand out. But, do I want to do all these things? My natural instinct always says NO! However, this world is dominated by extroverted people and if you don't catch up, you're as good as dead!

So, in an attempt to gradually hone my interpersonal skills (a.k.a getting things done while getting along with others), I marched in there, introduced myself and I let them know about my intentions. I told them that that was the first time in my life to have a lot of spare time despite having a full-time job. And since I am mountains away from my family and friends, I would like to donate my time to the kids. I actually sent them an email first before I went there. (Also because I feel like I'm much better with written words!)

The thing about volunteering is that it would open you up to a whole new world. You would meet people from different walks of life, you will learn different ways of living and different perspectives. You will learn how to listen and respond. You can observe the world all you want and make yourself believe that that is enough for survival, but let me tell you that nothing beats verbal communication. In this time and age, it is very important to master the art of voicing out our thoughts whether it's for our job, for our friends, family or even for strangers. We are way past the stone age - nonverbal cues are extinct! Nonverbal communication won't work especially now that almost everyone is spending long hours in front of a mobile phone screen or computer, so, the only way to get what we want is to have the guts to ask for it. We will never get what we want in life if we would never learn how to verbalize it. 

I still have this dream inside me to be a full-time volunteer in case I make a very good fortune in the future. Volunteering has taught me things I've never learned from school or any formal training. That was the first time in my life I felt like I was being selfless and just grateful for everything I have. I want to live like that; I want to experience more of that! 

Now that I'm back in the city, I'm somehow back to the rat race - I'm back to working to make ends meet. I am back to chasing after time, but unlike in my early twenties, now I found a better way to sort out my priorities. I have a better understanding of what matters most. My dreams have become clearer. I am learning to let go of things that are not meant for me, and I'm starting to hold on to things that would help me grow. I could have written more but I chose to just share the top three things I've learned about donating my time. I really hope I could someday join a feeding/outreach program or maybe visit a home for the elderly as well. 

Have you tried volunteering too? How did you feel about it? If you haven't, would you consider trying it too? 


  1. ❤️❤️❤️ I kind of understand the feeling, sharing time, money, or maybe just a simple conversation of encouragement/ positivity to an orphan or your neighbors or anyone technically feels so good.


    1. Thank you for the comment once again! Volunteering makes me feel like 'human' somehow. :)

  2. Arcee, Ardeen, and I have tried it. Have you heard about Project Pearl Foundation? It's in Tondo. We were able to feed and play with less fortunate kids in Tondo. I felt so lucky and blessed that I have a family who could provide me everything I need. Actually, medyo may pagka-maarte ako when it comes to street children. As in di ko lang kaya yung smell and a little scared of what they could do to me. But, no, a big BUT, when I saw their "smile", that priceless smile when we gave them food, I was able to embrace and take a picture with them. That's a big thing for me. So, I admire those people who can find time to share with less fortunate people.

    1. Yeah, I think I saw your photos that time! :D You guys were so lucky to have the time to do that. Never tried this in Manila...hihihi! Take me with you one time!


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