Half of the first batch of Tzu Ching from Leyte who attended the 19th Still Thought Youth Life Camp in Ormoc City will go to Taiwan for the annual Winter Camp in mid-December.
Among the lessons taught during the two-day camp, filial piety left the deepest impact among the youths. They shared their insights before their fellow youths with tears in their eyes, some expressing their love before their parents.
After two days of enriching their spirits, the first batch of Tzu Ching from Leyte emerges anew.
113 youths from Ormoc and Kananga Great Love Villages were inducted as Tzu Ching after attending the 19th Tzu Chi Youth Still Thoughts Life Camp. 51 of them will join the Taiwan Winter Camp in mid-December. Their acceptance of the uniforms, as well as a copy of Jing Si aphorisms comes with new responsibilities in the lifelong mission of spreading the seeds love to fellow human beings.
Vegetarianism as a way of life for Tzu Chi members was introduced on the second day of the camp. Participants are urged to cut back on meat consumption for health reasons as well as to lessen the contribution to global warming.
Listening to the lecture on vegetarianism remind Jamalyn Abatte of a pig her family used to raise which she fed and bath like a pet only to see it get slaughtered when the time came.
“We shouldn’t kill animals because they too have life. We should take care of them because we won’t know what we’ll become in reincarnation,” said Abatte from Ormoc Great Love City.
Other topics tackled include the story of Dharma Master Cheng Yen and how she founded Tzu Chi in 1966.
A delegation of 14 Tzu Chi scholars from Cebu shared their experience in Tzu Chi activities for the past year with participants of the camp.
“This is a chance for [the scholars] to share what they do in Cebu, as well as learn from Ormoc youth. Since we’re all one big family, we should learn and grow together,” explains Cebu Tzu Chi volunteer Marietta Uy who leads the delegation.
The lesson on filial piety from the first day, however, leaves the most prominent mark among the participants. This is evidenced by some of them sharing their insights before the program’s end.
“I know everyone has learned a lot, especially from the first day. The videos depicting the love of parents were really touching. While they’re still with us, we should show them our love,” says Sandrane Pepito from Ormoc.
“We should take care of our parents because they have sacrificed and given everything for us,” says Joan Trigosa, also from Ormoc.
That night, at the Ormoc Great Love City, the camp ends with a bonfire. The local youth band, all 57 members who are now Tzu Ching, plays the Tzu Chi song “Children of the Earth” for their fellow Tzu Ching and residents of the village. After which, the Tzu Ching run to the volunteers and give them a hug as gratitude for their hard work over the course of the camp.
"A lot of work still lies ahead of us. But as long as we follow the teachings of Master Cheng Yen, we won't be led astray,” Tzu Chi Philippines deputy-CEO Alfredo Li gives his closing remarks.
Tzu Ching siblings
Ormoc youth member Jayson Suco and his sister Jaycel were tasked to keep over a hundred energetic youths in line, he also served as emcee for the duration of the camp. Both of them are determined to follow their father, Tzu Chi volunteer Juanito Suco, in his footsteps. The camp gave them the chance to express how much they love their parents.
“Our parents are always there to take care of us. Let’s give back by taking care of them because their love for us is endless. There will be times that we will be far from them, but we are always there in their hearts.” Jayson shares.
“Because of Tzu Chi, I have learned to show my love to my father. I can now say ‘Papa, I love you’ easily.’” Jaycel tells her parents, with the entire camp as a witness.
“As I’m getting older, I can pass the torch of helping others to my two children. So I’m very grateful to Tzu Chi and to Master Cheng Yen,” Juanito says.
On the last day of the camp, the Flores family celebrated the birthday of their father Lude with a heartfelt exchange of emotions. “Happy birthday, Pa. Sorry for not listening to you and just doing our way. I am really sorry and thank you for everything,” greets his son Ariel.
“Even though you don’t listen to us sometimes, we still love you,” replies his mother Rosita, a Tzu Chi volunteer.
“I am so happy that my children are now certified Tzu Ching and can join the youth camp in Taiwan. I am really grateful to Master Cheng Yen and to all the volunteers,” Lude remarks.