It’s Sunday night (Jan 2) here in the Philippines, and I’ve been having a fantastic time catching up with my family before getting started on the Gawad Kalinga project. I’m staying with Tita Badette, Tito Bong, Jovic, Gelo and Bea, and we celebrated New Years with my Tito Eddie, Tita Ving and Robert. I thought the end of the world was coming, but it was just the hundreds of illegal firecrackers going off all over the city. And of course, we ate tons of amazing food. Yum.
I got some more concrete details about the project plan, and below is my schedule for this week.
Monday, Jan 3
Meet with GK National Office folks to get more background on the organization. We are possibly meeting at a farm in Valenzuela.
Tuesday, Jan 4
Meeting with the team that runs the Center for Social Innovation (CSI, catchy, huh?), including GK Founder Tony Meloto, at Ateneo de Manila University (one of the top universities in the Philippines). They’re going to give me an orientation on CSI, and then in the evening, I’ll get to meet some of the entrepreneurs from the program.
Wednesday & Thursday, Jan 5-6
We are heading to check out some GK farms/villages in north Bulacan, which is a provincial area just north of Manila.
Over the weekend
I’m spending the weekend in Bacolod, which is about an hour and a half flight away in Western Visayas. This is the target location for the next expansion of CSI, so it’s important that we check this out. They speak Visayan there, so that should be interesting since I don’t speak Visayan and I’ve never been there. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve been to northern Bulacan either.
In between the work, I’m also trying to get together with a few other relatives and family friends. So far the trip has been great (thanks to my family here), and the rest of it should be quite an adventure.