People nowadays are quickly damaging the only planet we can live in—the Earth. They disregard how irresponsible waste disposal, and cutting trees, among other activities are destroying our environment and affecting everyone’s welfare. The future will be a worse time to live in if today’s youth do not learn the importance of protecting the environment.
On September 29, 2017, a total of 139 students and 13 teachers from Kingsville Advanced System in Tayug-Umingan, Pangasinan visited the Tzu Chi Great Love Campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila as a part of their one-day study tour in the city. Their visit to Tzu Chi aims to expose the students to the recycling activities of the foundation. Kingsville is also a staunch advocate of environment protection.
After over three hours of travel, the visitors’ exhaustion turned into excitement as Tzu Chi volunteers welcomed them with songs and smiling faces. Prior to starting with the tour, the guests were gathered for a 30-minute program where Tzu Chi volunteers discussed the history and missions of the foundation.
“We let them have a tour here to continue the work of Master Cheng Yen which is to reach out to people. This is a big blessing because it’s our chance to impart and share the mission of Tzu Chi Philippines [with them],” says Tzu Chi volunteer Mary Ann Bermudo.
It was the first time for most of the students to come across Tzu Chi and learn how its founder, Dharma Master Cheng Yen, and Tzu Chi volunteers’ love and compassion have been spreading across the world for over 50 years.
As the volunteers discuss about Tzu Chi’s environmental protection efforts, they showed the Jing Si Multipurpose Foldable Bed to the students. Made with Polypropylene (PP), a special food-grade plastic, the bed will not irritate a baby’s skin. It can also be configured as a bed or bench. For its top quality, it won the Red Dot Award in Germany in 2014.
The volunteers let some of the students try sitting in the award-winning foldable bed.
As their tour continued, the students also learned how simple polyethylene terephthalate or PET bottles are turned into more useful things like blankets and clothes through a modern technology in Tzu Chi’s headquarters in Taiwan.
“[After the tour] I learned more about recycling and the importance of the things we usually discard. I used to think that plastic bottles can only be used for school projects or in other ways. But now I see that it can be used to make fabric. It inspired me and my classmates to make costumes of recycled material to also show our care for the environment,” says Grade 8 student Jehan Romero.
The tour was made possible through the coordination of Tzu Chi volunteers and teachers from Kingsville.
“I think education is a very powerful tool and nowadays, schools are just creating intelligent monsters here in the society, so if education is deeply rooted in values and character formation like what this [Tzu Chi] foundation is teaching, then this world may be a better place,” says Kingsville school head Mark Lester Angeles.
Students were able to enjoy a short tour of Tzu Chi’s Housing fabrication area, Recycling Center, and Eye Clinic. They also personally witnessed how the volunteers do recycling activities.
Apart from the students, those who were part of the tour also brought home wealth of inspiration from the visit.
Melanie Nogueras, tour operator from Kharmela Euenis Travel and Tours, had heard about Tzu Chi’s mission of saving the environment and helping disaster victims through local news reports. She was particularly touched by Tzu Chi’s sincere and quick response for the Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) victims in 2013.
During the tour, she gained a deeper understanding of Tzu Chi.
“I can see the respect, love, sharing; and I learned recycling and how to cherish the things we have. Children should really learn these things,” shares Nogueras.
“What I saw here is concern for others. We are also giving our best to give them [students] lifelong education. If there will be something like this in our place they will be educated well with these morals and values that we’re giving them,” adds Angeles.
An unforgettable tour and experience at Tzu Chi’s mission complex was already planted in the students’ and teacher’s hearts. May this develop into love and care for the environment as well as for humanity’s welfare.
Tzu Chi volunteer Mary Ann Bermudo instructs the other volunteers with their song number before the arrival of the students. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
The visitors arrive at 10:15 in the morning. They travelled for more than three hours from Pangasinan to Manila. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
A total of 139 students and 13 teachers visit Tzu Chi Great Love Campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila for their study tour. Some of their other destinations are the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex, University of the Philippines Diliman, and Batasang Pambansa. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Mark Lester Angeles, school head, introduces Kingsville Advanced School to the volunteers. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Tzu Chi volunteers facilitate a short program introducing the history and missions of the foundation. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Students are able to see and touch a thermal blanket made out of used plastic materials. A volunteer also explains to them how a high class technology from Taiwan is able to make useful things out of PET bottles. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
A volunteer demonstrates the different usage of the foldable bed from Taiwan. It can change into a bed and chair. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
A grade eight student, Jehan Romero, tries to sit on the foldable bed. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
These students get coin banks and said to bring it back to the foundation once filled with their donations. 【Photo by
Rico Balid, a Tzu Chi volunteer, shares how a fabricated house for calamity victims are made. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
One of the students tries to use a machine for the houses’ materials. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Students get the chance to tour around the newly constructed Eye Clinic and see the equipment for checkup and operation inside. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】