February 9-12. San Fabian/Vigan. The volunteers all gathered at Intercon Hotel for a long trip to Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Our first stop was at San Fabian, Pangasinan for a gift giving implementation funded by Ambassador Albert del Rosario and his wife, Gretchen, who coordinated this implementation with his brother, Dr. de Venecia. Upon arrival, we were greeted by Dr. de Venecia and we all took a tour of his clinic where he provides free eye care for the needy and the poor. We distributed gift bags to 200 families and proceeded to Vigan.
We arrived in Vigan, Ilocos Sur just before dark and we all checked in at the Cordillera Inn, a quaint hotel with the famous old Spanish architecture. Vigan has maintained its streets with houses typical of this architecture that makes you feel like you are in a completely different world, particularly beautiful at night. Had our dinner at the hotel and we all headed for a good night sleep.
The following day, we had our gift giving/lunch feeding in the morning for 200 families. We met the coordinators for this implementation-- Fely, Teney and John. All goods were bought locally in Vigan and the coordinators had them all packed and ready for distribution. The volunteers distributed the meals and the gift bags to the children. The meals were prepared by a local volunteer so FTH just paid a minimal amount for the food.
We all had lunch at Cafe Uno before we took a tour of Vigan, visiting several historical churches with amazing architectures, hidden gardens and a tobacco factory. We returned to the Inn for a short rest and we were all excited to ride the calesa to visit a weaving factory, where one can buy blankets, placemats, napkins, etc. Back to the hotel and later in the evening, we decided to walk the streets of Vigan and had our dinner at nearby Matutina Restaurant. More food, more chats and lots of comraderie among the volunteers.
On our last day in Vigan, we rode the bus to go to Ilocos Norte with our tour guides, Cholo and Bong. We went to Badoc, Bataac, Sarrat and Ft. Ilocandia, where we had our lunch at the hotel. Later in the afternoon, we went back to Vigan for our other gift giving/lunch feeding implementation to 200 families at a different barangay. We all headed back to Makati after a very fruitful, rewarding and enjoyable trip.
Volunteers in attendance were Tess, Pablito, Willie, Lottie, Ben, Gloria, Estela, Mario, Bing, Gretchen, Dondi, Roger, Ichu, Percy, Pepito, Joe C., Ernie, Manny, Fely, Boy, Fely P, Chelo and Bob Martinez, Sonny, Milette, Carl, Jeanette and Kara.