Students from 15 different universities in Taiwan, professors, and delegates went for a tour around Tzu Chi Great Love Campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila and the San Lorenzo Ruiz covered court in Navotas City on September 4.
The educational tour of the 25-student delegation is part of the International Youth Ambassador Program, a global program that aims to expose youths to the life and culture of other countries. In this case, the program is initiated through the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented by Chen Chi-chia, the program’s director.
“This will benefit our students. On the other hand, when we have interaction with the local students, we can share Taiwanese experiences in different areas to those local students so we can consider this is a beneficial program for the students exchange and culture exchange,” says Chen.
Tzu Chi Foundation is one of their destinations for their five-day tour in Philippines, which started on September 2. Students are selected through a rigorous process and underwent instruction for four weeks. They are comprised of youths with exceptional skills in arts and foreign language.
They visited the newly constructed Eye Center in the Great Love Campus where they saw state-of-the-art equipment to be used for future eye patients. Soon, they toured the recycling center and got their hands-on experience in sorting plastic bottles.
“I think I learn a lot. We meet some people that have a similar act with us so we can share the same views and the same viewpoints with them. Today, this kind of event I think we can give our love and give our concern to all those people who are in need in the Philippines. I think that was very important since we are here to help and share the Taiwan’s love to the Philippines’ people, so I think that was the goal that we want to achieve on this program,” says Cheng Yu-en from National Taiwan Normal University.
Students also enjoyed a ride in a boat made out of plastic bottles. They appreciated the volunteers’ effort in making a useable product from simple bottles. Their last stop is at the Cherish Blessings Charity Store, which sells donated clothes, toys, bags, shoes, and other articles for the benefit of the foundation’s beneficiaries.
“Today, we’re actually involved in this charity. It feels very useful to us because in Taiwan we could actually join this kind of activity and we are very grateful and to join this part. I’m sure when we go back in Taiwan I will bring happiness to the people and do some more in the society and to do better,” says Lo Chih-hao from Yuan Ze University.
The tour at Tzu Chi also paved way for the students to showcase their talents as a way of thanking the foundation for accommodating them. A group of students danced, two played musical instruments, one did a trick on diabolo (Chinese yo-yo), and the rest danced near the end.
“I feel very grateful that we have this opportunity here and so far I feel that the people here in the Philippines are hospitable and very friendly. I hope the students can build a bridge between the two countries and in the near future the students and the people here in the Philippines can really share the same love together so it was a great trip so far,” says Chen Shu-chuan, the program’s deputy-director and associate professor at Asia University in Taiwan.
That afternoon, the students headed to San Lorenzo Ruiz covered court in Navotas City for Tzu Chi’s rice relief distribution. They assisted the volunteers in the distribution of 10-kilo bags of rice to 52 indigent families and sang their own rendition of Freddie Aguilar’s Anak in near-perfect Tagalog.
A volunteer explains to the Taiwanese students the proper usage of a touch screen monitor in the newly-built Eye Center at the Tzu Chi Great Love Campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Students observe the facilities inside the Eye Clinic. It has state-of-the-art equipment to be used for the benefit of future eye patients. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Tzu Chi Philippines deputy-CEO James Chua explains to the students the process of recycling used plastic materials and turning it into useful products. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
The recycling volunteers show the proper way of sorting recyclables. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Su Yu-ting, a student from Ming Chuan University, inspects a plastic bottle. She and her fellow students learn the importance of recycling during the tour at the recycling center. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Students help the recycling volunteers flatten the bottles. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Removing the bottle labels is one of the things that the students were able to experience at the recycling center. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
A student from National Taiwan Normal University, Lan Ke-yun, tries to eat an unripe okra. Volunteers grow their own food inside the Great Love Campus. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Tzu Chi Philippines deputy-CEO James Chua explains the health benefits of okra. Eating vegetables would not only benefit our body but also lessen the killings of animals for human consumption. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
The students ride in the boat made out of used plastic bottles. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Lai Ying-chieh, a student from National Cheng Chi University, plays a violin from the Cherish Blessing Charity Store. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Five students perform a traditional dance from Taiwan. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Students from National Chung Cheng University and National Taiwan University of Sports play native musical instruments. One is a Guzheng, a plucked string instrument which is believed to have a 2,500-year history. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Liu Shou-hsiang from Tamkang University does a trick with a diabolo or Chinese yo-yo. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
The students perform a modern dance at the closing part of the program. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
The Taiwanese visitors together with the rice recipients from Navotas City. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
A volunteer introduces the students to the rice recipients. They also performed the song Anak by Freddie Aguilar in near-perfect Tagalog, which touched the residents’ hearts. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
A rice recipient prays fervently at the closing part of the rice distribution program. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】