PASSION turns a person into a victim, or a volunteer. In this time of critics, haters, and sumbungan forums, actions speak louder than viral posts and comments – the world needs more volunteers.
“Better light a candle than curse the darkness”, wise people from different generations would constantly prompt. The volunteers from Cordillera Career Development College cleaned the dirty Pico Creek, while another batch painted some of the Strawberry Farm walls. The King’s College Pageant Candidates offered a day to pick, not the Strawberries, but the tourists wastes. A couple of weeks ago, the Benguet State University Statistics Students Organization joined the STOBOSA repainting Activity with the active Stobosa Women’s Brigade volunteers. Of course, the business people took notice and offered to join – Goldust Creations sponsored the plants at Km.3, and the Pasalubong Vendors and Ice cream vendors at the Strawberry farms replaced the old plants with beautiful blooms. Community volunteerism is contagious when sustained. More than their time and donations, they can take pride that they have the ‘heart’.
Just like any government employee, I would hear comments even slants associated with our work from time to time. Public officers and employees are inherently subject to the taxpayers’ or public’s criticisms. It is a consequence of the job, although I would admit to feeling bad especially if I am judged based on ignorance or sheer emotions – only a few knew about government bureaucracy, funding prioritization, legal limitations, and other work issues like lack of personnel, office politics, and unresponsive traditional systems. A rank and file worker can only do so much. As for me, I employ the modern ‘voluntourism’ (volunteerism + tourism) concept to further our first passion which is community service. As they say, “as long as the heart is in the right direction, there is really nothing to fear”.
As proven in many societies, volunteerism is an expression of love and service for the community and the people. It spreads awareness and inspires a culture of concern and care for the community. That is why they say that volunteers are not paid, not because they are worthless, “but because they are very much priceless”.
Due to some unforeseen conflict of schedule by the PIA-CAR office, the Strawberry Festival Kapihan which was planned on Feb. 21 is moved to another schedule which is yet to be decided by the SF Execomm as of this writing. The other ‘Kapihan” (Coffee Fest), however, will of course push through on Feb. 27-28, 2018. “Inya ngay mangyari ita, padli?”asked a friend in facebook. “Mayka makikape, isu lang maiawis mi…” I would grin. The activity will also center on the coffee growers who will organize themselves for the La Trinidad Coffee Council. Even without hearing the message of support from La Trinidad’s partner line-agencies, we can find comfort in their active participation during our meetings to promote coffee in our town through the said event. From the DA’s support to the coffee farmers, DTI’s assistance into turning coffee into marketable goods, and the DOT’s encompassing role in promoting coffee as a tourism product – the coffee festival holds great promise…perhaps better when celebrated in December?.