Math Time Will Always Be Fun!



Project Pearls After School Program

Helping Land, Tondo, Manila, Philippines

Sunday | July 16, 2017


“Good Mathematics is not about how many answers you know… it’s how you behave when you don’t know.” –Anonymous



For our PEARLS Scholars, studying Math is fun! This may be a hard subject to most of us but there will always be a way to make it light and enjoyable to learn.


This morning in Helping Land courtyard, our PEARLS Kids spent the day learning new knowledge and refreshing their minds of their Math subject with the help of our dedicated volunteers.


After the feeding activity and with their usual seating arrangements, together with the assigned volunteers, our PEARLS Scholars spent two hours of learning.



We would like to express our profound gratitude to our guest volunteers because aside from the mentoring the kids for this day, they also donated learning materials such as white boards, white board markers and erasers. These will surely help us a lot in giving proper lessons to the kids.

Thank you, Ms. Marinelle, Monica and “Kaya Ko”!

Biscuits and chocolates were also given to the kids as take home gifts.

Thank you so much to all our guests and regular volunteers! You are all well-loved and deeply appreciated!



Volunteer-teacher James Abong, one of our regular ASP volunteers shared his experience for today:

“I never expect that I will have this time that I am teaching now Math lessons which are difficult for me way back during my grade school. For me, it was such a great feeling that my handled kids easily get what I am teaching them. I was glad to share some knowledge and techniques to them on how they will solve fast their Math problems. I can also see that they are enjoying our mentoring time and because of this, I am so happy to be their teacher every Sunday morning.”


Thank you, James!







More pictures are on our Facebook page!


Raindrops Art


Project Pearls Brain Booster

Helping Land, Tondo, Manila, Philippines

Saturday | July 15, 2017


“There is a quiet beauty found in nature when the heaven weeps.”




Our Brain Booster Art Activity for this day was inspired by the weather. The Philippines has been enduring a lot of rainy days lately. Therefore, to commemorate our current season, the kids created “Rain Drops.”


Kids were instructed to cut papers in heart shapes, rain drop shapes and long strips. To make clouds, the children used half of a paper plate.


They used their imagination to draw faces on their clouds.


After the given time, the children happily finished and showed off their artworks!



Thank you volunteers for assisting the kids!


We would also like to thank our long-time volunteer, Miss Bing Javier for sponsoring this day’s feeding and Brain Booster.


This was her way of giving back and celebrating her birthday! Thank you so much! Happy happy birthday and we wish for more blessings for you and for your family, Miss Bing!

Thank you also to Mariska Bautista for donating hundreds of shoes for the kids!




Lastly, thank you for your shared time and love volunteers!





More photos are on our Facebook page!


Photo credits: Sidney Snoeck


ASP Time is Math Time!


Project Pearls After School Program

Helping Land, Tondo, Manila, Philippines

July 9, 2017




“Volunteering for today was awesome. It will always be a wonderful experience for me every time I spend my day in Helping Land.”

-Angelo Dayego, ASP volunteer



It’s Math time for today’s After School Program in Helping Land Tondo!

Volunteer-teachers mentored our PEARLS Scholars! The teachers gave reviews to the scholars’ of their math lessons from school.



Our sponsors for this day are Miss Jen Romualdez and her family.

We are grateful that they not only shared their blessings, they also shared their time to be with the kids of Helping Land!




After the feeding activity, non-scholars went home happy as their tummies were filled with a healthy and decent meal.


Our PEARLS Scholars were then told to fall in line again outside the courtyard to attend this day’s After School Program activity.


Before the scholars went in, volunteer-teachers were briefed of what the lessons would be for this Sunday morning.

And it’s Math time! Volunteers were then assigned per grade level. The past two hours were filled again with learning, fun and bonding in one!

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Once again we would like to thank Miss Jen Romualdez and her family for being our guardian angels this morning. They even sponsored our Scholarship Program.

Thank you so much and God bless you!


Another thank you to our regular volunteer-teachers a.k.a. Team ASP! Your tireless love, care and effort for the kids are deeply appreciated! See you next Sunday!



One of our regular volunteer-teachers shared his experience for this day’s activity.

“Volunteering for today was awesome. We did some Math lessons and I was able to handle more than three kids! It will always be a wonderful experience for me every time I spend my day in Helping Land.”

Thank you, Teacher Gelo! See you on more of our outreaches and tutorial sessions.










Written by:

Melissa Villa, Project Pearls Founder and Executive Director


“Sometimes our lives have to be completely shaken up, changed, and rearranged to relocate us to the place we are meant to be.” 


As you all may know, Project PEARLS started as a mother and daughter project with my one and only, Francesca back in 2008 helping one single mom with two daughters.  And in 2010, we were in introduced to the slum community of Ulingan at Tondo, Manila and as they say, the rest is history.  The mother-daughter project is now an international non-profit organization.

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Photos by Sidney Snoeck

In 2013, I quit my full-time job at St. Luke’s Church in San Francisco as having two full-time jobs in two different countries in different time zones, took a toll on my health, my marriage, my family, my jobs and my life in general.  We became a one-income family.  We downsized, moved and made lots of personal sacrifices.  But with these material sacrifices, we gained a whole lot more than money can buy. And we are very blessed and very grateful.


For 7 years in this Project PEARLS journey, I trusted my faith and fate. 


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Photo by Sidney Snoeck





This July, my husband and I are moving to Seoul, South Korea.

He accepted a job as a CFO for Seoul Foreign School.   And once again, our family has to make lots of personal sacrifices but this time, it’s not financial but emotional.  We will be thousands of miles away from our children and grandchildren here in San Francisco Bay Area.   But I will be closer to Manila; closer to our Project PEARLS mission and communities.

My daughter and co-founder, Francesca will be managing our US operations and she will be supported by our Board of Directors and Advisory Council.  I will also be traveling back to US every now and to touch base with our partners and supporters.


Francesca and I at the slums of Helping Land in Tondo, Manila.


The best for our PEARLS children and communities and for Project PEARLS is yet to come! And we thank you all for the continued support and generosity.

Please follow us on Facebook: and

On Instagram and Twitter: @projectpearls

And please check our various programs, updates and continuous PEARLS journey on our website:


Thank you.

Maraming Salamat.



Baby Sidney

baby sidney and family

Today is Baby Sidney’s 2nd Birthday and we couldn’t be so happier !  Happy Birthday our Baby Sidney!

Baby Sidney

Read his story below:


This is Baby Sidney, born in the slums of Helping Land; delivered by an unlicensed midwife. Baby Sidney was used as a collateral for the midwife’s fees, that if the mother can’t pay the 3500 pesos, midwife can take the baby away and most likely, he will be sold.

It is always easy for us all to be judgmental and question why the poor keep having children when they cannot afford to feed them all.

But the truth is, we really don’t know their personal struggles and sacrifices.

Many of us do not know there are violent cases against mothers when they refused to be in bed with their husbands. And when they refused, some fathers turn into their own daughters. There are (violent) incest cases that you and I cannot even imagine.

The truth is, the poorest have very poor knowledge of family planning; their church will label them as sinners for the use of contraceptives.

The truth is even though it’s already a Philippine law to guarantee universal access to methods on contraception, fertility control, sexual education, and maternal care, there are still groups out there that make this access difficult and almost impossible for them.

The truth is, most if not all politicians do not respect their basic human rights that keep them poorest and ignorant.

So who are we to judge?

These children have no choice but to live in poverty. Yes, these children are the responsibilities of their parents but we all have a responsibility to humanity and sadly that responsibility becomes a choice – should we help or should we turn our backs?

For Project PEARLS, we cannot look at these children’s eyes and see how desperate their situation is without wanting to help.

Join us. Volunteer. Advocate. Share.



Project Pearls

Helping Land, Tondo, Manila, Philippines

June 24, 2017




“A Volunteer is a Love in Motion.”




This Saturday morning in Helping Land, Tondo was extra special because we celebrated the birthday of our ever dearest Kuya Juan! Kids went to our feeding courtyard wearing their best attire because it was party time!!!

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After the feeding, the children actively participated in parlor games. Special prizes were given to winners.


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As a way of appreciating Kuya Juan’s everyday presence in their lives, some of the kids had a dance performance for our birthday celebrant.



Good job, kids! Such cuties!




Everyone was also treated with a magic show!

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Before they went home, everyone was given Makati fish crackers, Alaska condensed creamers, fortified rice-soy meals, backpacks, toys and clothes.

Thank you so much to our donors!

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And, another thank you to all our volunteers who were behind this successful event.


Lastly, but definitely not the least, thank you so much for the love, Kuya Juan!




Thank you for waking up early in the morning to cook and feed these hundreds of children every day. We pray and hope that you’ll always have an energized body and a sound mind to keep you going. Thank you for being a blessing to all of us!

Project Pearls will not be where it is now without your tireless dedication and personal sacrifices.



And here a little message from our beloved birthday celebrant:

“Thank you so much to all the people who attended my birthday celebration. I’m amazed with all the kids and their parents and co-volunteers who joined me this day. Thank you also to my sister, Melissa who supports me all through out. She’s always been there for me and I hope that God will always guide us. May we surpassed all the trials and problems that will come along our way. Hugs for everyone and One Love!”

-Kuya Juan


Happy happy birthday Kuya Juan! We all love you!


It’s Quiz Bee Time!



Project Pearls After School Program

June 18, 2017

Helping Land, Tondo, Manila, Philippines



There are various ways to enjoy learning while having so much fun!




For this day’s After School Program Activity in Helping Land, it was Quiz Bee Time!

Our PEARLS scholars became so competitive because of the prizes waiting for them to be won.



We would like to express our deep gratitude to Teacher Daniel Delos Santos for all the gifts he donated such as mugs, shirts, pens, power bank, LED lamp shade and a lot more!

Thank you so much for your generosity!



When the kids’ tummies got full, they were then ready to fill their minds with new knowledge.


Everyone was so eager to answer all our trivia questions!



But before that, kids were clustered into three groups: The Team PakBet (Grade 1-3), Team Yey (Grade 4-6) and Team Wonder Pets (high school scholars).

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Each group prepared a cheer for a mini-competition and the Team Wonderpets won via unanimous decision!


Congrats, High Schoolers!





The real battle then finally begun.


Trivia questions were asked according to their grade level. The first one who gives the correct answer would move to the next round.



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In the end, we had two winners per team. Congratulations to our grand winners!




Don’t worry! Each scholar still earned a consolation prize. At the end of the day, what matters is the bonding they had as well as the experience and the knowledge they gained for this day’s activity.

It was another day of fun and learning.

Thank you for the tireless love, volunteers!


Celebrating Father’s Day in Helping Land


Project Pearls Brain Booster

June 17, 2017



“A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.”

-Ziad K. Abdelnour



For this fine Saturday morning at Helping Land, our Project Pearls kids made paper medals for their fathers!

Right after the feeding, we taught the kids how to make a paper medal. We simply taught them how to put the pieces together but their bright creativity designed them!


Such wonderful artists!


Thank you volunteers for assisting our kids.



These medals served as special gifts for their hardworking fathers.


When they were done creating the masterpieces, some kids ran home to get their fathers and awarded them with their very special medals. We couldn’t be any prouder and more touched by their love.

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Happy Father’s Day to all hardworking fathers who are making an honest living in the dumpsites.  Our salute and utmost respect to all of you.


Thank you LBC EXPRESS for sponsoring this day’s food and activities!

And our hats off to our amazing PEARLS volunteers who tirelessly giving out their time and talents!



Photos by: Jay-r Cardenas Panagsagan & Monica Aclan



Project Pearls After School Program

June 11, 2017
Helping Land, Tondo, Manila


Jamaica Gueta, one of our volunteers shared her experience for this day’s After School Program Activity:


“As a volunteer, I appreciate what the kids did today. They created letters or cards for our fellow Filipinos that are currently in Marawi City risking their lives.

Most of the kids are fully aware of the rage happening in our country and most of their letters I have read are full of encouragement and concerns in its context.

It was full of hope and love and care that somehow can help our great soldiers.

I was so glad to see that all of us are being united in tough times like this. I pray that peace shall reign not only in Marawi but to our whole nation as well.”


(As a volunteer na appreciate ko ang pinagawang activity sa mga bata, yun ay ang  pagsusulat ng simpleng liham para sa matatapang nating kababayan na kasalukuyang nasa Marawi City ngayon. Karamihan sa mga bata ay mulat ang mata sa kaguluhang nangyayari sa nasabing lugar at dahil dun karamihan sa nabasa kong liham ay naglalaman ng mga mensahe na alam kong tutulonh up ang  kahit papaano magkaroon ng pag-asa at lakas ang magigiting nating sundalo. Nakakatuwang isipin na sa ano mang  edad, mapabata manand o matanda sa panahon na ito ay nagkakaisa tayo. Panalangin ko na sana ay maging  maayos na ang lugar ng Marawi at ng buong bansa.)


Thank you, Jam! We are also praying what you hope for our country. PEACE.



These cards created by the kids will be delivered in Marawi City in Mindanao.

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Our soldiers are the modern day heroes as they strive hard and bet their lives to maintain the peace of our country. A snappiest salute for all of them!

Thank you for assisting the kids, volunteers!









Celebrating Independence Day in Helping Land


Project Pearls Brain Booster

June 10, 2017

Helping Land, Tondo, Manila, Philippines


“Dr. Jose Rizal is my favorite hero because he was so intelligent and I want to be like him.”

-Sam, Project Pearls Scholar



For this day in Helping Land, Tondo, Manila, we commemorated the Philippine’s Independence Day.



After the feeding, a short video was played for the kids to watched. In this flick, it showed some of our heroes and how they fought for our country’s freedom.


Drawing portraits of national heroes was our children’s main activity in this day of celebrating the Philippine In. Children created either a blue or red mosaic on the back of their artwork.

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One of our PEALS Scholars drew Jose Rizal. We asked her why Jose Rizal is her favorite hero.

“Matalino po kasi siya. Gusto ko rin maging katulad niya.” (Dr. Jose Rizal is my favorite hero because he was so intelligent and I want to be like him.)




As we consolidated their artwork, we turned it into a mosaic of the Philippine flag!



Congratulations kids for the masterpieces well done!




Our feeding sponsor for this day was the hardworking people behind United Marine Training Center. Thank you so much for sharing your blessings and for being with us this rainy Saturday!



And of course thank you so much to our everyday heroes a.k.a. our volunteers!



We would also like to greet Teacher Marianne Reyes, our long-time volunteer, a happy, happy birthday! As a way of sharing of her birthday blessings, she distributed burgers and chocolates for the kids!

IMG_9737Thank you everyone! We can all be heroes through our own little ways.