SELLING candles, walking through streets, building houses for the poor and interacting with farmers may not be one’s idea of a fun activity on a trip to a different country, but that certainly was not the case for Cebu’s visitors recently.
For the past weeks, several Dutch youth made friends with Cebuano youth, fostered relationships with their host families, learned how to be farmers, and explored and discovered Cebu in an exciting and interactive way.
Twelve Dutch youth delegates accompanied by four adult leaders were in Cebu from July to August for a three-week youth exchange and immersion program for this year’s run of the Pinoy-Dutch on eXplore (PiDex 2018).
Since the group arrived, they have been busy with activities with Cebuano youth leaders, and government and civil society leaders. It was a whole new experience not only for them but also for the Filipino counterparts whom they interacted with.
PiDex 2018 is a three-week immersion program in Cebu for Dutch youth aimed at promoting knowledge sharing and cross-cultural understanding, people-to-people connection, and development service. For a number of days, activities were prepared for them to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of culture, history and the people of Cebu. Delegates got a taste of living with foster families during their stay.
“It’s an experience I am truly grateful for. I have done so many awesome things. I met so many wonderful and kind people—the volunteers, the host families and the children. I learned from them. They learned from me, and we will definitely not forget each other,” said Nathalie Amann, a Dutch youth delegate.
A simple program with their host families and Cebu youth counterparts welcomed the Dutch visitors at Casa Gorordo Museum. The delegates visited several institutions, such as the Casa Gorordo Museum, Basílica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebú, Magellan’s Cross, Jose Rizal Museum, and Museo Sugbo as part of their culture and heritage tour.
These activities were made possible with the help of the Culture and Heritage Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI-CHU) and the Department of Tourism 7.
They also participated in the Cebu Urban Quest and Social Discovery Walk facilitated by the 2Xplore Outdoor Classroom and YMX5 alumni to provide an experiential and interactive way of introducing the visitors to Cebu City. They walked through various areas of downtown and uptown Cebu City, including the Carbon Public Market, Pasil Fish Market, and Taboan Public Market, and rode Cebu’s public utility vehicles and the “tartanilla.”
The delegates also explored and immersed with Cebu’s locals and different government and social welfare institutions.
The delegates also went to the Gawad Kalinga in Barangay Maguikay, Mandaue City, where they helped prepare for the construction of one of the houses. The delegates were hosted by residents in the area for three days.
“I think it’s a very good experience to be immersed with the people who lived there. I learned many things from them. I am inspired,” said Jesse Hoogeveen, a Dutch delegate.
The delegates also got to visit the project sites of the YMX5 alumni. The GetInvolvedNOW volunteers of Cebu Institute of Technology University shared their story to the delegates. The Dutch youth also went to Barangay Kamagayan and helped in the collection of their garbage. A football game with the kids of Kamagayan Football Club was held after.
Delegates returned to their home country last Aug. 12 with an experience they will never forget.
PiDex is organized by the Governance and Linkages Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi-G&L) with its partners, the Vriendschapsband Haarlemmermeer Cebu from Netherlands, the City of Cebu, Philippines, the Central Visayas Network of NGOs, and Young Minds on eXplore 5.
[The Governance and Linkages Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi-G&L) seeks to foster responsive institutions and an engaged citizenry through awards and recognition, good governance and leadership development programs, and active linkages and platforms of engagement and collaboration.]