On Tzu Chi Philippines’ 24th founding anniversary, Tzu Chi volunteers flocked to Jing Si Hall on the morning of November 8. Many were inspired by the compassion that defines the foundation and believe that more will be touched in the years to come.
On this day, Tzu Chi Philippines turns 24.
November 8 marked the 24th founding anniversary of the Tzu Chi Philippines Foundation. In light of this auspicious day, nearly 200 Tzu Chi volunteers and Livelihood Training Program students attended the morning assembly at Jing Si (Still Thoughts) Hall. The event was celebrated with a chanting of the sutra in the predawn hours as well as the “Three Steps, One Bow” pilgrimage at sunrise.
Dharma Master Cheng Yen was bestowed with the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Social Service in 1991, the event lead to the establishment of the Tzu Chi chapter here in Manila headed by Mrs. Linda Chua with a group of local Chinese, Mrs. Linda Chua eventually became the first CEO of Tzu Chi Philippines. Since then, the Tzu Chi mission of Charity; Medicine; Education and Humanity was able to reached different places of the Philippines with liaison offices at Cebu; Zamboanga; Tacloban and Bohol.
The current CEO, Henry Yuñez thanked Dharma Master Cheng Yen and past CEOs for molding the chapter into its current state. He said: “On this 24th year of Tzu Chi in the Philippines, we have to thank Master Cheng Yen for founding Tzu Chi. I also have the past CEOs to thank for their efforts over the years. They’re responsible for shaping Tzu Chi to what it is today.”
Tzu Chi volunteer Carmen Sy regret missing Tzu Chi’s first medical mission in Baguio City. But she was inspired by the foundation’s deeds and the principles. She joined the foundation along with a few family members years later and are active in the foundation’s activities.
Wang Yuli, who has been a volunteer for five years is a diligent disciple of Master Cheng Yen, she enjoys the work her does with the volunteers which provides her with positive energy. “Every time I join a Tzu Chi activity, I feel so happy. In so doing, it fills my mind and body with positive energy. After all, I have to inspire myself before inspiring the people around me,” said Wang, who watches the teachings of Master Cheng Yen through DaAi TV, the foundation’s global media network.
Long road ahead
Much work lies ahead for Tzu Chi Philippines, especially with Master Cheng Yen’s wishes for the chapter.
“Master Cheng Yen gave us a direction, which is to attain the goal of a million donors. She wishes that we exert all efforts to bring peace and tranquility to the Philippines. I hope we can achieve Master’s goal for us as early as possible,” Yuñez said.
As disasters comes in stronger strength and frequency, Tzu Chi Philippines will have to be prepared for the eventuality. Aside from a million donors, the chapter must also inspire more volunteers (or living bodhisattvas) to join the foundation in order to help those in need.
The chapter’s volunteer boom came in 2009, following the onslaught of Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana), which left much of Metro Manila and nearby provinces under tons of mud and water. The foundation’s cleanup drive that followed not only helped in the recovery of affected communities but also inspired many locals to become living bodhisattvas as well.
Among them is Heidi Hina, who joined Tzu Chi a year after Ondoy. Her mundane life as a housewife changed when she started working as a volunteer. Today, she and her husband are full-time commissioner and Faith Corp at their community in Barangay Malanday, Marikina City.
And she has a promise to uphold.
“Since becoming a volunteer, I made a promise to volunteer as long as my body can still move and can respond to any call from the foundation,” said Hina.