LAST Saturday, we finally started the GK build of the Lizares-Du Village so generously donated by Benjamin and Carmela Lizares Du. It took some time in the making with campaign and elections because the GK project works in tandem with the government, as well as the beneficiaries and many more entities. The GAWAD KALINGA PROJECT is the testimony that the bayanihan spirit is alive and here!!!

Government helps in the infrastructure side (roads etc) as well as many other support systems (basketball courts etc). There is the sweat equity of the beneficiaries (old and future recipients) and of course the donors and let us not forget the volunteers who willingly give their time and effort. There is the GK team and the Couples for CHRIST who are the moving spirit of the Gawad Kalinga homes.

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Although the country is going through many challenges and even our personal lives have daily struggles, we can always find time and effort to give whatever we can be it time and effort to share in community development. So in perfect sync, all these contributory factors build not merely homes but lives as well.

A short program kicked off the event with the Mayor, Doc Eric Saratan expressing his gratitude and sustaining support to the GK project. What Mayor will refuse homes for his homeless constituents? The GK project has helped many in Talisay. Initiated by then Mayor Anthony Lizares, so many have been given shelter, a home to be specific. Anna Balcells through donations from across the globe, Spain in particular, she has established the Alberto Balcells Village Homes and the number is growing with more donations coming in.

Another generous soul has also donated a school which has now chairs and blackboards. Kindness and love abounds when we open our hearts to love for our less fortunate!!!

The building of the homes started around 8:30 with no less than the Mayor getting a hoe and dug the ground. Lizares cousins formed an assembly line to transport hollow blocks from one end to another. The mother beneficiaries were very involved in this while the husbands provided part of the team of skilled workers. Marissa Lizares was very happy to give part of herself in this endeavor and said that while she cannot donate homes, she can verily give her sweat and indeed she did. Paul Lizares, who is a director in CENECO, was most helpful in facilitating the installation of the perimeter lights within the area. Angie and Tita Merle made their presence felt with Tita Merle making suggestions. Adjie Lizares, President of the Efigenio-Enrica Foundation, was likewise there to give his time. Michael Poblador in his tank tops looked very much ready for heavy work and was very thankful to be part of the project. My sons, Spitzie, Luigi and Andre likewise were part of the assembly line and I was proud watching them give of themselves to truly something worthwhile. Just recovering from my neck arthritis, I relegated my task to taking pictures, fearing that any lifting would injure my recuperating bones. But from the sidelines, watching the bayanihan spirit so alive was so heartwarming and I thank GOD that I am witnessing and chronicling this!!!

The think tank men, Amelito Lizares (who is the team leader of the GK for this project), Ricky, Butch and many others huddled together planning more strategies to hasten and make the build more efficient.

After the stocking of the blocks, skilled work was now required and the volunteers knew it was time for them to stand aside. A wrong placement in the foundation might just risk the knocking down of the house.

While many expressed regrets that they couldn't make it last Saturday because of engagements and appointments, after posting the pictures in Facebook, many cousins have expressed enthusiasm and desire to be part of the team. The Lizares-Du Village Homes in Talisay is ongoing and anyone is welcome to help.

We thank Tito Ben and Tita Cami for their selfless donation. Most of us do not have this capacity but we go out of the box and comfort zones and give a part of ourselves for love of community, neighbor and most especially GOD. In the end, the gratifying feeling erases the toil and the sweat and in fact awakens awareness in the soul that says............ Is there anything else I can do?