*** I’m not writing this for the purpose of solicitation, but we do accept donations, monetary or in kind, for medical missions. 100% of the Money will be used to buy medicines (I can guarantee that because my uncle is the one buying medicine) and any relief goods, clothing, food, school supplies, will also be distributed. Prayers are also asked for and appreciated.

This weekend I accompanied Uncle Nene on his medical mission to Bicol Province. Mayon volcano, the beautiful perfect cone, erupted last month and is threatening to erupt soon again. As a result, people living close to the volcano have been evacuated. Our group went there to provide free medical, dental and optical services to the poor people there. We treated almost 2,000 people in 2 days.

Bicol is a really really long drive from Manila, about 12 hours.

On the way. Quezon national forest, a forest in the mountains. Notice how windy this road is. At all hours of hte day, especailly at night, tehre are people, mostly children, who signal the cars and help them avoid the edges and potholes in hopes that the drivers will throw a few coins at them.


Rest stop for lunch








Riding in the back of the truck with the medicine

You didn’t think we’d make it the entire way without at least 1 flat tire, did you?

The Church that houses the image of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, Patroness of Bicol.



Ina

The original image of La Virgen de Peñafrancia comes from Spain, but when it was brought here a local carver made the new image of dark complexion with Filipino features.


That night we slept at Dra. Felipe’s (the organization president and our distant relative)house. A teeny vacation house. We basically laid foam everywhere and slept like refugees haha. Talk about an ice breaker


Early the next morning heading to the site

Our drivers. Doesnt Mang Tino (with the loosey) look kinda like my dad?

Our site the first day was in the hardcore boonies. It was actually right at the foot of Mt. Mayon.

And that’s the cone

Those are clouds, but on non-cloudy days you can see smoke from the top. The picture of it at night wouldn’t come out, but at night it’s really dark and you can just see red at the top peak.

Going to the site. No paved roads here. But there are little shacks. Yes, people live there.


Lava Rocks

And finally at the site. We got there around 8:15 AM and there was already a line. So many kids, and so cute! It was really incredible to see so many people, their faces could easily blend in with our New York barkada, they coudl be my relatives, yet to know that they were really and truly poor. Most of their infirmities had really simple causes…most often a lack of potable drinking water. Unlike in the US, the state here does not have standards as for the cleanliness of tap water. In fact,t he state doesn’t even provide everyone with fresh water, a lot of people get their water from private pumps or by buying water from deliver services. Imagine, these people’s illnesses can be cured just by having clean water to drink.




Doctors checking out the patients








We don’t have the capacity to give fillings or anythign like that, so our dental services basically consist of pulling infected teeth.

Uncle Nene giving out medicine

Pediatrics










And now it’s Culture shock time! The bathroom of this house is an outdoor stall with a tin door and a hole in the ground. This is why Filipinos have excellent quads.
















And then it began to rain, but people still needed their medicine



These were teh 2 cutest girls ever! Sisters, aged 9 and 7. The older one is named Krystal.


And these are the slippers they wore. kawawa naman.


When we were finished the barangay squad took over the cleanup, but not before some kids got a chance to play in the garbage

And more views of Mayon