Wednesday, Apr 14

Ormoc villagers get ready for school groundbreaking

April 26, 2019 | Jonas Trinidad

Volunteers adorn the huge “I (love) Tzu Chi” sign with flowers crafted from recyclable PET bottles. They’ve spent the past several days preparing such adornments for what they consider a milestone in Tzu Chi Philippines’ history. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

Story Highlights

  • The Tzu Chi Ormoc Great Love City bristles to life in anticipation of the groundbreaking ceremony for a new school to be built.

  • On April 26, residents and volunteers mobilized to help welcome a milestone in the history of Tzu Chi Philippines. The school is expected to benefit children who can’t go to school because of the distance between their home and the schools.


The entire Ormoc Tzu Chi Great Love City is mobilized in preparation for the upcoming groundbreaking of a new Tzu Chi elementary and high school on April 28.

On April 26, Residents, local Tzu Chi Youth, and volunteers pooled their efforts in setting up the venue for this milestone of the Philippines chapter. The school will be providing children of the Great Love City and adjacent neighborhoods with a school within walking distance.

Villagers tolled under the sweltering day of almost 40 degrees Celsius to complete the tasks given to them. More volunteers from other parts of the country are expected to join in the preparations tomorrow.

Together with her neighbors, Marilou Arciso spend the day planting flowers they crafted out of recycled PET bottles. Under the heat, these recyclable crafts won’t wither while adding flair to the huge “I (love) Tzu Chi” sign they erected days ago.

She and many mothers in the village are elated to know that a school will be built for their children. As of now, school children have to commute back and forth, even if it’s within the same barangay.

“We prepared these flowers for this great event as our way of showing gratitude,” said Arciso.

For fellow resident Conchita Etang, this is her way of repaying the kindness given to her by Tzu Chi.

“My wish is to be able to pay forward everything Tzu Chi has given to me and my family. After Typhoon Urduja [Kai-tak], they helped us a great deal,” said Etang.

Tzu Chi Youth volunteers of Ormoc gather the children to practice the sign language for two Tzu Chi songs to be performed at the ground breaking ceremony. Having only been established following the youth camp late last year, the Tzu Chi Youth of Ormoc has made great strides in helping their community. For youth volunteer Mark Mendoza, children performing at the ceremony is a fitting tribute to the foundation that has provided so much for them.

Overseeing the preparations, Tzu Chi Philippines deputy-CEO Alfredo Li estimates that the school will benefit around a thousand children in the village. From the time the village was established in 2015, Tzu Chi Foundation has been supportive for their future consistently.

“Master Cheng Yen told us to never forget [2013, the year of Typhoon Haiyan]. So we’re making the most out of this land by giving the children here hope,” Li said.

  • Tzu Chi Youth members of Ormoc teach the children the sign language for two Tzu Chi songs they’ll be performing during the ceremony. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The flowers made from recycled PET bottles add flair to the huge sign, plus they won’t wilt under the scorching heat. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • A local volunteer trained four children to deliver their gratitude message to Master Cheng Yen in Chinese. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Despite temperatures of almost 40 degrees Celsius, the volunteers worked diligently to have the work done. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The upcoming school will be a boon to mothers like Marilou Arciso. For her children won’t have to go far to study. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The banner is set up on stage. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Volunteers carefully mark positions on the ground for the ceremony. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Rehearsals for the ceremony lasted well into the afternoon, where children practice their entrance and exit. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】