Community Immersion in Tarlac

July 7-8, 2018

Barangay O’donell, Capas, Tarlac


Two non-profit organizations merged and had one goal…

Color the world with hope and love. This is the goal of our first organization. Project Bahaghari (Bahaghari means rainbow) is committed to demonstrate God’s love and compassion to the children, youth and elderly especially to those living in isolated areas through different programs and activities. Project Bahaghari volunteers usually visit and immerse on communities with indigenous people to give collected donations. This is a small group with youth members and was founded last March 22, 2014.

Project Pearls was founded way back on August 2010.  It started as a small NGO with only a handful of volunteers, with the aim of helping the poorest of the poor family in the Philippines. Through a Manila-based Belgian photo journalist Sidney Snoeck, Melissa was introduced to a charcoal community in Manila. Families here were living in extreme poverty and this was the first community that Project Pearls helped and supported.

Eight years later, it is now expanded with numerous volunteers, donors, sponsors and partners. This organization also now supporting hundreds of scholars in Bulacan, Manila and Zamboanga. Aside from that, everyday feeding for hundreds of kids in Tondo, Manila is maintained. Project PEARLS means Peace, Education, Aspiration, Respect, Love and Smiles – these are the things that this organization wanted to give through education, empowerment, nutrition, nourishment and healthcare.

These two NGO collaborated for a two-day immersion at an Aeta Community in Capas, Tarlac with the goal of reaching out to these wonderful indigenous people of Sitio Manabayukan.

The said community compose of almost a hundred family.

Both organizations brought some smiles and love in the form of shared time and donations for these families.

Aside from these, Project Pearls was in partnership by another international NGO which is the Memory Project.

Memory Project’s aim was to give kids their portraits to make them happy. Their priceless reactions are these NGO’s strength and will to give every child a happy childhood memory.


Day 0. The Buying of Goods

The journey of this two-day immersion started with the buying of goods. We had some volunteers who bought the needed goods for donation and food for volunteers.

We bought the following a day before our outreach date.

These are donations and gifts care of Project Bahaghari that were bought:

  • Boxes of Noodles
  • Sacks of Rice
  • Boxes of Sardines
  • Prizes for the games
  • Ingredients for the feeding program

Money used for these were the excess funds from the previous immersion last Christmas.


And then these are the donations and gifts care of Project Bahaghari that were bought:

  • Boxes of Cupcakes
  • Boxes of Tetra packed juice
  • Boxes of Biscuits
  • Lollipops


Thank you so much to our dedicated volunteers who took time to go to grocery a day before our immersion.


Aside from these goods, there were also in-kind donations from different individuals and groups such as Alaska powdered milk, pre-loved clothes, shoes, slippers, toys, school supplies and toiletries.


Day 1. First Day of Immersion

Meet up time was at 3 in the morning at the Project Pearls Headquarters. When everyone’s already at the assembly venue, donations were loaded on the two vehicles that will be used.

At four a.m., we’re off to Barangay O’Donell, Capas, Tarlac.

After almost three hours, we reached the house of the Barangay Captain of O’Donell. Thank you so much to Kap Wendel Mercado for accommodating and assisting us.

From Kap’s house, we rented four units of 4X4 vehicles that will take us and all our goods to the mountains of Sitio Manabayukan.


It was an hour of bumpy ride due to rough road.


Upon reaching Sitio Manabayukan, all smiles and waves from the people living there welcomed us.

We assembled and settled on the community’s elementary school and this will serve as our base camp for an overnight stay.

After a brief orientation and assigning of things to do per volunteer, everyone became busy.

Some prepared the food, while some went to the church to repack the donated goods and getting ready for the program proper for the kids.

After all the prepping, the whole team ate for lunch and then we’re ready!

Kids and adults fell in line as claiming stubs for all the gifts were distributed.


Then our program proper started.

While we are having the games, volunteers for the Memory Project were also conducting the taking of pictures of 150 kids. Games and picture-taking were happening simultaneously in two hours.


After that happy two hours, we then properly distributed all the gifts for them.

Each volunteer has an assigned station that families will have to stop by to get the goods.

The following stops were for:

  • Pre-loved clothes, shoes, slippers, bags
  • Toys and Legos for kids
  • Grocery packs (Rice, Noodles, Sardines, Alaska powdered milk)
  • School Supplies
  • Toiletries
  • Rice meal (for feeding)



We hope that they were all happy like us!


At four in the afternoon, we were already done for today’s program! The whole team then went to the river to have some bath time and bonding time as well.

Kids even accompanied us!


Before the sun went down, we were back to our ‘base camp’ and dried up.

While some of the volunteers preparing for dinner, others conducted an interview of families.

Each pair must interview at least four families.

Through this activity, we were able to really immerse with this community. We’ve got to know their personal stories, way of life, struggles and dreams. We felt closer to them.

Then we had our dinner.

After dinner, we had a film showing inside the classroom through a laptop and mini-projector powered by batteries. This community has no electricity and most of them were grateful to us because they have experience watching a film!

We were also glad as we gave them simple joy.

After the film showing was the end of our Day 1.


Day 2. Second Day on Another Community.

After we had our breakfast, we headed to the second community that the Memory Project will took place.

It was at Sitio Binayayan – an hour away from Sitio Manabayukan. This community is nearer the downtown than Sitio Manabayukan.

More than 150 kids were given grocery packs, school supplies and toys after their picture-taking.


The team had lunch after the event and then we’re back at Kap’s house as our vehicle that will take us home were waiting for us there.

We then had a debriefing at NLEX McDonalds. In here, while eating for merienda, each volunteer shared their realizations of the entire trip and everyone attentively listened with each other.

Each one also had the chance to commend their co-volunteers, specially those who stood out for them as best volunteers.

Everyone was grateful, simply happy, hopeful and inspired.

We were tired but surely each one has inspiring stories to tell.

We deeply thank all our 16 volunteers who joined us for this immersion:


Alaine Montemayor

Albert Dayego

Arish Regaspi

Christian Pascua

Danielle Celones

Emily Sagun

Hilary Diaz

Jayr Panagsagan

Jedda Punzalan

Kleo Sanghio

Karen Beblanas

Mitos Penaverde

Monica Aclan

Ron Jason Pascual

Valeria Fabila

Vince Razalan


Special thanks to:

Melissa Villa, founder of Project Pearls for allowing this to happen.

All our donors, partners and sponsors.

Kap Wendel Mercado and family for the hospitality, warm welcome and assistance.

Our drivers, thank you for keeping us safe.


We will surely be back on these communities bringing another set of happiness that they all simply deserve!





We believe that our high school scholars both from Tondo, Manila and Batia, Bulacan had a remarkable summer for this year.

Why we thought of that?

It’s because they had a series of College Campus Tour! It was literally an educational tour for them.

This summer project was an initiative of our After School Program (ASP) team with the aim of inspiring and motivating our scholars to pursue a higher education and get college degrees.

Our scholars went to various universities such as University of Sto. Tomas, Far Eastern University (Tech), University of the Philippines, San Juan De Letran and Mapua University.


First Wave of Tour at the University of Sto. Tomas and Far Eastern University (Tech).

The first campus tour happened last May 11, 2018. Our high scholars from Tondo, Manila and Bulacan were all so excited to see and discover what a college campus looks like. Some of our ASP core members and community volunteers accompanied them.


At 8 in the morning, the group’s first stop was at the University of Sto. Tomas in Manila.


UST officers warmly welcomed our scholars and volunteers.


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They first had a short orientation and discussion of history of the said school.

Scholarship offered was also discussed.


Then they had a tour around the university and the school’s museum as well.





After lunch time, the whole group proceeded at the Far Eastern University (Institute of Technology).

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A brief orientation was also held at the school’s auditorium and then followed by a building tour.

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It was a very inspiring day for our scholars as they were able to meet new people and learned new things.


We deeply thank UST and FEU for accommodating our scholars!




The Second Wave. University of the Philippines – Diliman.



It was on the 30th of May 2018 when our high school scholars from Bulacan and Tondo, Manila had a Campus Tour at University of the Philippines-Diliman.




Special thanks to our very own Project Pearls’ Programs Manager Monica Aclan, also a UP graduate, for leading and hosting today’s University tour, together with our After School Program volunteers.

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This tour would not also be possible without the valuable assistance of Prof. Tex Gabo from CSWCD, and Ms. Merselle Montes from Bulwagan ng Dangal.

We are also very grateful to Prof. Toym Imao for giving our scholars an inspiring and eye-opening tour of his exhibit, “Super Robot – Suffer Reboot”.

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Our scholars are definitely getting more excited for college!



The Last Wave. Colegio De San Juan De Letran and Mapua University in Manila.





And then last June 30, 2018 we had the third and last wave of our Campus Tour for our high school scholars this year.

Our scholars from Helping Land, Tondo and Batia, Bulacan enjoyed this day’s campus tours which both can be found inside the well-known and historical Intramuros, Manila.

The first stop was the Colegio De San Juan De Letran.


We deeply thank Ms. Grace Bernadette Tee, the Community Organizer of Letran under Center for Community Development for accommodating our scholars and volunteers.

Thank you so much Sir Carlo from Office of the Alumni for leading the orientation, courses and scholarship offered.



Thank you also to Ms. Margaret Bueno, alumna of Letran BS Education Major in Mathematics for the inspirational message.



And then for the afternoon trip, our scholars went to Mapua University.


Thank you so much Ms. Katrina Mae Lantin, the Admissions Officer of Mapua for the warm welcome and accommodation.

We also thank Ms. Jennica Gidoc, the Mapua Career and Information Officer for leading the orientation, courses offered and scholarships.

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We also deeply thanked all our community volunteers aka volunteer nanays and ASP core team for accompanying our scholars all throughout the series of our tours.

We can guarantee that our aim which was to motivate and inspire our scholars to continue their education and to dream higher was really attained!

Help us build their futures and let’s be the bridge to their dreams.


To sponsor a scholar, click here:


Thank you so much Wilma Divine Dimailig, one of our ASP core members for all the great photos!




MY NEW YORK TRIP with HerStory


March 2017 and March 2018

Written by: Lilibeth Sucion


If my life were a book, my entire trip to New York would be one of its most exciting chapters. I consider this trip as one of my life’s most precious treasures and – even a few months later – my heart continues to be overwhelmed with gratitude for my few days and nights in New York City. During my entire stay there, countless smiles and greetings such as Good morning! and Have a nice day! welcomed me every day by different wonderful girls from all over the world.



During the Global HerStory Summit last March 2017, we participated in thrilling activities! We also had the opportunity to have fun exploring the city and see its breathtaking views. Even though the weather was cold, I had a great time enjoying the snow.





Last March 2018, I was again given the opportunity to be a part of the HerStory and UN- Commission on the Status of Women (UN-CSW62) event. We showcased our community action plans together with Kenya and Nepal HerStory delegates. I was glad to meet my friend Mordecai Thomas again whom I became close to from last year’s HerStory Summit. Mordecai is from Kenya. She has grown a lot and became more beautiful! We spent time together getting ready for our presentations for our so-called “big day,” at the UN-CSW event. We also had an event with ambassadors from different countries. It was truly unforgettable.



Not only did I enjoy reconnecting with Mordecai, I enjoyed learning from all the girls I met during the entire trip. Having fun with all of these wonderful girls during the entire trip proved that language is not a barrier in gaining new good friends!


Photo from Peachy


We shared with each other our different cultures, traditions, and way of life. We also shared how each of us have our own little ways to make our communities better. We all face a lot of problems in our communities that can feel overwhelming, yet somehow, we are all creating solutions through our very on initiatives.


The HerStory Summit and the UN- CSW62 event has made me realize that age and life statuses are not the basis of inspiring other people.


I am so grateful that despite the hardships I have been through, I was fortunate that there were people who reached out and guided me. Although I was going through a lot, I was able to continue my studies, have nice clothes to wear, and I can be close to my loved ones while having a proper education. Project PEARLS has helped me reach my dreams and I will forever be grateful.

Who would have thought that a little girl living in a slum would step on the land of New York City? A few years ago, the only thing my family would think of was how to survive our daily lives. I was raised packing charcoal and picking nails in exchange for small amounts of money. My environment was a sea of garbage. Here I am now—a girl chosen to represent the Philippines for a global gathering: the HerStory Summit and UN – CSW!

Describing me as happy is an understatement. I am grateful for this opportunity and I am incredibly proud that I was able to share my own story to the world.


To all my fellow girls, my advice for you is this:

There are times in our lives in which situations have us feeling low. There will be struggles, suffering, and pain. We may feel weak. But do not give up. Instead of giving up, turn those problems into your inspiration to be braver.

Never lose hope. As many people say, where there is darkness, there will always be light. Someday soon, all of our hardships will be worth it.


I want to thank all the people who gave me the privilege to attend the HerStory Summit in New York City and experience this once in a lifetime event.

Thank you so much LitWorld , Global GLOW and HerStory for providing everything for the trip! From the food, accommodation, exciting activities and for boosting my confidence with all the cheers and most importantly, the trust and opportunity you have given me. I am forever grateful for this experience. To Pam Allyn, Kylie Schuyler and my entire Litworld , GLOW and HerStory families, thank you very much !


To my entire Project PEARLS family, thank you so much for inspiring girls like me. Thank you for helping me live my dreams. Because of Project PEARLS, I was able to aim high and dream even higher because I believe I will find ways to reach it.

To Ms. Melissa Villa, thank you for being my second mom. You are also a mother to hundreds of kids in need. Thank you so much for making us feel important and loved with your undying love, care, and support for all of us. Saying “thank you” will never be enough but we promise that we will give back by helping our own community and helping those who are in need with the best we can. We also pledge to finish our studies.

To Tita Marian and Tito Bob, thank you for choosing me as your scholar. I hope that you’ll never get tired of helping me with my studies and reaching out to others in need like me. Throughout the years – from grade school to now, in my senior year of high school—you were always there to support me. My grades may not be as high but you chose to support me and never give up on me. I promise to finish my education and to not disappoint you.

To Tita Cathy Baculi— thank you for always reminding me to pray and pray even harder during my tough times.

Thank you Ate Karen for molding me. You are such a good influence for us scholars. Thank you for boosting our confidence that we can use at school and every time I meet new people. You are such a big sister for all of us. Even though we don’t see each other as often, I know that you love me and the other LitGirls and we love you too!

Lastly, thank you to Tita Peachy Abellon. Every time I try to say thank you in person, I tend to get shy and lost for words. I’ve had the chance to spend more time with her during the New York trip, I can proudly say that she’s the best mom to her kids, wife to her husband, and a great Big Sister or Tita to all the kids/scholars of Project PEARLS including its volunteers and staff. I look up to her with so much love and respect. Thank you Tita Peachy for teaching me how to be practical in life, for giving me inspiration, and for always reminding me to be good, do good, and never waste this opportunity that was given to me.

Photo from Peachy (1)



Photo credits to:  Litworld, Global Glow and Herstory

Celebrating Father’s Day at Helping Land, Tondo


June 16, 2018 | Saturday

Helping Land, Tondo, Manila, Philippines


“One of the greatest titles in the world is parent, and one of the biggest blessing in the world is to have parents to call mom and dad.”

-Jim DeMint









Whatever term we use to call our Fathers, we honour all of them for this day’s Brain Booster Activity in Helping Land.


Kids showed their creativity in making special cards for their fathers.



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Some kids also made cards for their mothers who lovingly embrace the role of both mom and dad in their families. We were extra touched by our children’s recognition, appreciation and gratitude to their single mom this Father’s Day!


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And we in Project Pearls will always be hats off to all the parents whether mom or dad or guardians who take the full responsibility to bravely face the hardness of life just to establish, to protect and to take care – by all means their own families.



We deeply thank all our volunteers for today and also our anonymous sponsor for sharing her birthday blessings to the children of Helping Land.




To all individuals who live as a strong foundation of every family, Happy Father’s Day!


Scholarship Awarding in Bulacan (2018-2019)


June 9, 2018 | Saturday

Batia, Bulacan, Philippines


“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

-Malcolm X
For a short recap, last week, we had the distribution of School supplies and awarding of scholarship certificates for our scholars in Helping Land, Tondo, Manila.

And this day was for our Bulacan Scholars’ turn.

As early as 8 in the morning, hundreds of scholars were already and properly lined up according to their grade level inside the St. Martha covered court.


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Some of the parents were also there to accompany their little ones and they were also excited!


This morning started with a hearty meal for everyone!



And then we finally proceeded with the distribution of scholarship certificates.



We have a total of 395 scholars in Bulacan for this Academic year 2018-2019!

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And we are beyond grateful to all our partners, donors and sponsors for making this possible.

We are still accepting sponsor. Click this link to find out how:


Thank you as well to all our volunteers and staffs who were behind the hard works!


More photos are on our official Facebook page:

Summer Program Final Presentation Day and School Supplies Distribution

June 3, 2018 | Sunday

Helping Land, Tondo, Manila, Philippines


We have a double special event for this day!

It was the final presentation of Kids who attended the Summer Program and then the distribution of School Supplies and awarding of certificates for our Scholars in Helping Land, Tondo.

For the first part of this day’s event, the kids showcased their talents!

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Thank you so much to all our mentors who motivated, inspired and enhanced the kids’ talent to dance, sing, act and draw or paint.

We also gave some special awards and simple token of appreciation for kids who stand out on these workshops.

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Great job kids!

We felt so proud that the kids’ summer break was spent well-meaningly.


After the presentation and distribution of packed food, scholars patiently lined up for the distribution of uniforms, school supplies and scholarship certificate.

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Thank you so much to all our donors, partners and sponsors for giving the gift of education to these hopeful youngsters! They are one step nearer in reaching their dreams and one step away from poverty.


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School year officially starts and we are back on our tutorial sessions for the After School Program. This program aims to help and guide our scholars with their school major subjects and enhance their academic performance in school.

Scholars are required to attend our mentoring program in Helping Land courtyard every Sunday morning for their own benefits. In this way, they will also be able to develop their social skills. We are also promoting leadership, teamwork and basic GMRC.

For the first quarter of this academic year, we will focus on the Math Subject which most of the students are struggling with. Lessons that will be tackled are aligned with the books accredited by the Department of Education and were just currently published.

And to measure the scholar’s improvement, we will provide a Pre-Test and Post-Test.

Pre-test will be held next week before the lesson proper starts and Post-test will be by September after discussing all the lessons plotted in the module.

Thank you so much to all our ever hardworking volunteers especially to the ASP core volunteers and scholarship committee for putting the best effort in planning and executing all of these!


Join us! Be a volunteer-teacher for a day!




To volunteer, please sign up here:


Thank you!




More photos for this day’s event are on our official Facebook page:

Summer Program in Helping Land Week 4


May 27, 2018 | Sunday

Helping Land, Tondo, Manila, Philippines



Our Summer Workshop at Helping Land is almost over!

Next week, the kids will be presenting what they have learned for the past weeks.

And we are so excited!

We deeply thank all our mentor-volunteers for sharing their time and talents to these eager-to-learn kids!


But before the kids’ general practice, a special birthday celebration was held first.

It’s the 4th birthday celebration of Eekshitha!




Her family sponsored this day’s feeding.

And we are so grateful to the whole family as they chose to celebrate Eekshitha’s special day with the kids of Helping Land.




We had a mini-party!


Parlor games were happily joined by the kids and special prizes were given!


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And here came the dancing time…

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And then the feeding…

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Thank you so much volunteers for all the assistance needed!



Then here came our general practice for the different workshops.


Acting Workshop

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Voice Workshop




Dance Workshop

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While the kids for the Art Workshop made their final masterpiece.

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We can’t wait for the final presentation of each group next Sunday!

Again, thank you so much to our sponsors for today and to all our volunteers!




More photos are on our official Facebook page:







Summer Workshop Week 3

May 20, 2018 | Sunday

Helping Land, Tondo, Manila



And for this day’s outreach, we are on our third week for the Summer Program in Helping Land, Tondo!


As a short recap, last May 6, we officially launched the Summer Program for the kids in Helping Land. For the whole month of May, kids will undergo different workshops such as Singing, Dancing, Acting and Arts!


The main goal of this program is that children will be able to recognize their talents, enhance it and somehow can help them realize what their dreams truly are. We also want the kids develop their social skills.

Before our workshop proper, feeding was held first.


We would like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to Sheila Tracey and her ‘Paper and Pen Project’ for the yearly school supplies for our kids! This is the 7th year that Sheila and her family and friends are sharing their support and generosity to our mission!


THANK YOU SO MUCH Sheila Tracey, mom Mae De Leon and friends from Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air!


We also thank you for joining us this morning!

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After the feeding, courtyard was then divided into four parts for the different workshops.


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We wholeheartedly thank all our mentors for today:


  • Kuya Ian of Husay Talents for being our Acting mentor;
  • Ate Jam for the Art Workshop;
  • Miss Ramonne Rodriguez for heading the voice workshop;
  • And Kuya Arish for leading the Dance workshop.


This won’t be possible without your help and sparing some of your time just to teach the kids.

Thank you so much!


And to all our volunteers, a salute to you all!



Summer Program in Tondo, Manila (Week 1)


May 6, 2018 | Sunday

Helping Land, Tondo, Manila, Philippines



We officially launched our Summer Program at Helping Land, Tondo, Manila!



In this month-long program, kids will be able to discover and enhance their talents as they will be joining various workshops like Singing, Dancing, Acting and Arts.

We believe that learning is not confined within the four walls of classroom. We partnered with different individuals and organizations to help the kids realize their full potential, cultivate their deep sense of social awareness and strong desire to make positive changes in their communities.

Somehow, they will also realize that through their own talents, they can make a change one step at a time.


After the usual feeding program, we divided the whole courtyard into four groups.

We had the Arts’ Corner.

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And then the Acting Workshop’s corner.

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We also had the Dance Workshop corner.

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Lastly, we also had some space for the Singing Workshop.

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We thank all our invited guest mentors who took time to share their talents with the kids:

For Arts – Jamaica Gueta and Iris Hyacinth Alonso

For Acting Workshop – Husay Talents and Ate Camille Buen, one of our ASP core volunteers

For Dancing – Powerstroke from FEU and Kuya Arish, one of our ASP volunteers

For Singing – Ms. Ramonne Rodriguez and Ate Wilma, one of our ASP core volunteers


We would also like to thank the following group/individuals:


– Kim and Julio of Room Service International Program for sponsoring this day’s feeding!

– U.S. Embassy employees for joining us this morning

– Cirrus Global Services, Inc for donating art materials and school supplies

– UST Alpha Delta Mu Sorority for the Tuli / Medical Mission held at our PEARLS Health Clinic


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Lastly, thank you so much volunteers!




Happy Summer!


More photos are on our Facebook page:

Celebrating Mother’s Day in Batia, Bulacan


May 5, 2018 |Saturday

Batia, Bulacan, Philippines


“All the forces on this planet, will never beat that of a mother’s love.” 
― Elle Smith, The Way Back Home




For this Saturday morning in Batia, Bulacan, we had the pre-celebration of Mother’s Day!

Kids and moms were gathered at the covered court of St. Martha to have a simple celebration with us.

The day started with a feeding. Thank you so much Bacolod Chicken Inasal for the delicious meals!


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After the feeding, we then explained to the kids of what the Brain Booster Activity for this day will be.

They will paint the canvas pouch given to them and this will serve as a gift for their mothers.

For preschoolers, we then instructed them to do a simple Thank You card for their ‘Mamas’.

Art materials were evenly distributed among the kids. Thank you so much volunteers for the guidance and assistance!


After an hour, kids were able to create colorful canvas bags and amazing Thank You cards for their moms!



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Great job, kids! (As usual!)

Before all the people went home, our founder, Melissa Villa, gave some special gifts for Moms. This is her way of sharing her birthday blessings and saying thank you for all the outstanding moms. Most of the mothers who received the gifts are Project PEARLS community volunteers and LitMoms.

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Happy birthday, Founder! Happy Mother’s Day also! You are a mother to the hundreds of kids. Thank you so much for being a blessing not just to Francesca – your only daughter, also not just to kids in need, but to all your friends and co-volunteers who look up to you as a second mom.


Surely, being a mother is the most noble work in this world. Mother’s love will always be pure, unconditional and we couldn’t trade it for anything.


Their sacrifices are all worth it for us, their kids, have a better life.


We deeply salute all the mothers! You deserve to be treated as a queen once in a while – or even the whole year round because you all deserve it.


To all the women (or even men) who stand as a great light for every home, Happy Mother’s Day!





More photos are on our Facebook page: