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Writers, reporters invited to tell Tzu Chi’s Philippine story

November 07, 2019 | Jonas Trinidad

Media guests stand outside the Tzu Chi Eye Clinic, with Tzu Chi Philippines deputy-CEO Alfredo Li giving the tour. The November 7 press conference included a tour of the Tzu Chi Great Love Campus that gave an insight into what the organization does for the people in need. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

Story Highlights

  • In commemoration of Tzu Chi Philippines’ 25th founding anniversary, the organization invited media people from various print and broadcast companies to share its story with them.

  • The event coincided with the official launch of “A Mission of Love,” written by journalist Alya Honasan. The full-length book details Tzu Chi’s endeavors over years of relieving suffering across the Philippines.

 

As Tzu Chi Philippines turns 25, writers and reporters from print and broadcast were invited to tell its tale to the country.

Twenty-seven media representatives came to the Tzu Chi Great Love Campus on November 7 for a press conference. The activity aims to tell the foundation’s success story since the Philippine chapter was set up in 1994. The guests hail from mainstream newspapers such as the Philippine Daily Inquirer, broadcast stations like ABS-CBN, and even food and lifestyle bloggers.

The story of Tzu Chi Philippines can be traced back the time when volunteer 1st CEO Linda Chua told Dharma Master Cheng Yen that she would bring Tzu Chi to the country 25 years ago. It held its first relief mission in Mindoro in 1995, which was then struck by a magnitude-7.1 earthquake. Since then, it had organized many humanitarian endeavors across the country, not to miss one opportunity to help those in suffering.

The media guests were given a tour of the Great Love Campus, namely the Tzu Chi Eye Clinic and Livelihood Training Center. Before the program proper, guests were treated to a lunch stylized like the iconic night markets of Taiwan. This auspicious date also launched journalist Alya Honasan new book “A Mission of Love”, which detailed Tzu Chi foundation’s 25 years of existence here in the Philippines.

“I was amazed at the things [Tzu Chi does] and the things that they have, really top of the line. And it’s all for charity,” said Tabitha Cariaga, producer for ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC).

“I’m glad that I came because I only know about Tzu Chi in Tacloban. I learned how a great organization it is, a volunteer organization that’s very rare. I’m amazed how people can give their time and effort to something much higher than we all are,” said Mickey Fenix, lifestyle columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

From skeptic to supporter

Like many people, Honasan once took the organization’s advocacies and accolades with a grain of salt. All that changed when she met Dharma Master Cheng Yen in Taiwan. She had been a follower of the Master’s teachings since that day.

“You know how you meet a spiritual leader like a priest or nun? They have a certain aura from their goodness. [Master Cheng Yen’s] presence is so strong that when she looks at you there’s this very deep understanding. It’s like she can read you,” she remarked.

“I understood what the people in Tzu Chi were telling me back then. [Master Cheng Yen] really looks into your heart,” she added.

With assistance from Tzu Chi volunteers, Ms. Honasan was able to get a better glimpse of the foundation and the spiritual force behind its humanitarian effort. As a veteran writer, she was able to tell the story of how Tzu Chi Foundation started in Taiwan, what this organization has been doing in the Philippines for the past 25 years in her new book

“They keep telling me to train to become a [Tzu Chi] volunteer. Of course, my time as a writer is preventing me from doing so, but it’s something I’d love to do,” said Honasan, currently a writer and editor for various publications.

  • Guests arrived as early as 9:00 a.m. for the event. Most are writers for various local and national dailies, including lifestyle bloggers. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Being reporters, they start looking for a story. Deputy CEO Alfredo LI (right) entertains a reporter’s questions. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • A cameraman for a Filipino-Chinese TV station films a Machine Operation Course student hard at work. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Tzu Chi Philippines CEO Henry Yuñez gives his opening remarks. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Alya Honasan shares her story of how Tzu Chi had changed her life. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • A media guest takes a look at Honasan’s new book. Every visitor received a free copy. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Alya Honasan (center), the author of “A Mission of Love,” together with Tzu Chi Philippines volunteers and executives. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • A guest gets his copy of the book autographed. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】