IT was a beautiful morning as I joined a busload of volunteers trekking from Sitio Campuestohan, passing through a village, a narrow trench, a small stream, and onwards to a small clearing at the Upper Caliban-Imbang Watershed in the upland portion of Talisay City.
We were there to plant seedlings and later held a medical mission at the nearby village. The weather cooperated, the villagers were excited, and the volunteers were equally thrilled to serve.
Another day, I went without project partners to Barangay Minoyan in Murcia to bring wheelchairs to two beneficiaries. There were also moments when we had to visit charity foundations to turnover medical equipment.
During my 14 months serving at the Dr. Pablo O. Torre Foundation Inc.(DPOTFI) I have gone to places that made me appreciate not only the beauty of our province but also the goodwill of our kasimanwas.
My stay at the DPOTFI may be brief and minuscule, compared to its 27 years of history, given the length of time that other staff members, volunteers and board of directors have devoted to the mission and values of the Foundation.
This write-up may be two years’ late, but as DPOTFI embarks on its 21st Dr. Pablo O. Torre Memorial Golf Tournament this month, honoring its former Chairman and President, the late Dr. Hector Torre, it brings me back to the times I have seen students, doctors, medical practitioners, office workers, teachers, government employees, religious people, business executives, firemen, policemen, husbands, wives and children come together on different occasions to serve those who are in need.
The Foundation’s mandate of promoting total human development through education, health consciousness and physical well-being, environmental awareness, and self-reliance among the underprivileged and needy Negrenses is carried out for almost three decades now, and it still continues to this day.
This mandate is summed up in DPOTFI’s programs, called W.A.V.E.S. – Wellness & Health, Aid & Relief, Vicinities & Environment, Education & Learning, and Special Projects.
All these are a way of continuing the legacy that was started by Dr. Pablo O. Torre himself, known to many who have encountered him as Daddy POT. Because of his good works when he was alive, his family decided to put up the Foundation in his name to ensure that the sectors he served during his time still get the help they need.
During my brief stint at DPOTFI, I had the opportunity to work with young deserving students, called the Society of Pablo O. Torre Scholars or Spots. With them, we helped clean-up Barangay 5, assisted in medical missions around Bacolod City, in Victorias City, Binalbagan, Murcia, and different areas in the province, distributed donations, and planted trees. Looking at their fervor, one cannot be happier to know that these future leaders understand the value of service, compassion, integrity, responsiveness, respect for human dignity, and concern for the environment, some of the core values of DPOTFI.
It was also a pleasure working with institutions like the Dr. Pablo O. Torre Memorial Hospital, Riverside College, partner barangays, corporations and other foundations.
Moreover, the Foundation has brought me to places that my travels have never brought me before – the realities of our society, both good and bad, and our capability to work together for a common goal.
Once again, the memory of me and other volunteers visiting the various orphanages and homes for the aged fill my thoughts. I recall the smiles and joys of the elderly, and the children as they saw us entering their compounds.
And I hope for more people to have a reason to smile as DPOTFI continue doing its mission to the communities, and individuals it serves.
All photos are by this author. Claire Marie Algarme blogs at http://firsttimetravels.com. Follow her as @firsttimetravel on Twitter and Instagram and like her Facebook page First-time Travels blog.