the mission

doing ‘something’ for the poor in the philippines was some friends’ idea that came into fruition through father sunny castillo. fr sunny is a catholic priest of the diocese of joliet in illinois. he partnered with project pearls, an organization that offers outreach programs for poor children at helping land and ulingan, two slum communities in tondo, manila.

helping land sits on a dumpsite where filth and stench are a way of life. main livelihood here is trash scavenging.

helping land photo credit: aileen siroy

helping land
photo credit: aileen siroy

nearby is ulingan, a closed landfill known for charcoal making. air is thick with smoke at ulingan. everything is coated with soot. people of all ages, adults and kids, work in the charcoal factory. extreme poverty prevails in both communities.

ulingan

ulingan

my husband and i, fr jo sia, martin lopez, aileen siroy, and several others are fortunate to have joined father sunny in this mission. nothing prepared me for this. for a while i stood back in a corner holding back tears. though my heart many times broke into pieces, i thank God for being there for the children. for amidst the filth and stench, the toxic smoke and soot, hunger and disease – joy from their hearts filled the air. they were happy. they were grateful. they smiled and giggled. and as i silently prayed for them that morning, i knew God was in the face in each of the children.

thank you to those who helped, contributed, donated, supported and prayed for this mission. i pray and hope that God continue to inspire us – to do ‘something’ and more – for every child deserves a better place.

for fr sunny’s blog on the mission, please click here – Project Pearls Mission: Helping Land

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11 Responses to the mission

  1. bebs1 says:

    Oh boy that Ulingan looks like it came out of a Bollywood movie the name of which I couldn’t recall. They have nothing so every little thing means a lot.

  2. Vivien says:

    This is so heartbreaking, the people living in extreme poverty, extreme condition, yet the smiles on their faces, grateful for the food, the toys is so heartwarming. God Bless them…and everyone with Pearls Mission, Helping Land.

  3. ventisqueras says:

    che Dio benedica te e tutti coloro che si adoperano per aiutare questa popolazione così provata, c’è tanto spreco nel mondo ed è molto triste pensare quanta gente ha bisogno di aiuto, i nostri padri cattolici delle missioni fanno quello che possono ed è nostro preciso dovere aiutarli
    Grazie mia cara per le toccanti fotografie e per la dura realtà che ci hai fatto conoscere
    un grandissimo abbraccio, con tanto affetto
    may God bless you and all who are working to help this population so proven, there is so much waste in the world and it is very sad to think how many people need help, our Catholic mission fathers do what they can and it is our duty to help them
    Thanks dear for the touching photographs and for the harsh reality that we did know
    a huge hug, with much love

    • lolaWi says:

      thank you so much Ventis. it’s an unfortunate reality and i know this is huge and deep-rooted. but any help no matter how small, i hope, can make a difference. God bless.

  4. fathersunny says:

    Thanks, Tita Wilma. God bless the children…

  5. restlessjo says:

    Those conditions are unbelievable, LolaWi. How can our world encompass scenes like this? So happy that you were there to bring a little joy.

    • lolaWi says:

      i’ve never seen poverty as this one, Jo. and it is very real. it took me a long time to process. now i know that anyone can make a difference. i’m glad to be able to share this with you. 🙂

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