2012 IYF Volunteers Korean Camp: Exchange of hearts in the midst of nature’s wonders

The Philippines is a paradise for many foreign tourists. In spite of some high-risk security issues against the country, it has been the first choice to visit by most nationalities because of its amazing works of nature and the hospitality of its people.

At all times, we Filipinos are ready to provide them our warmest reception and our most pleasant smiles. We are always all set in giving our visitors the best Philippine experience of their lives. Some may not notice, but more foreigners go to the Philippines not just to become plain visitors but to become tourists with a purpose – to share their hearts by exploring our very own national treasures and at the same time, to educate us with their more than a hundred-year-old culture.

The IYF Volunteers Korean Camp 2012 (January 24-28, 2012)

The International Youth Fellowship (IYF) is the organization behind the annual World Camp in many countries with an aim to promote the world of the heart to the youth. They also dispatch students in different parts of the globe to explore other cultures and to be engaged in volunteer works for them to share their hearts to the more needy people.

This year, the IYF chose to hold the Korean Camp in the municipality of Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija, 171 kilometers northeast of Manila, the Philippine capital. There were over 50 students from Korea who served as overseas volunteers for a week of cultural exhibition and exchange, and more fun within the Philippine soil.

These volunteers experienced an amazing journey during the Korean Camp. They have learned the simplicity of Filipino rural life; tasted different one-of-a-kind Filipino dishes; and fell in love with the sceneries of our natural resources.

The most important of all is not their personal enjoyment, but the fulfillment of the IYF spirit – that is their mission to share knowledge to others by showcasing the Korean culture to the Filipino people. They brought joy to the residents of a mountain tribe and provide learning to students in the said province.

For every night, students presented their respective group reporting and performances about their experiences on the activities they have made. Of course, the day won’t be complete without the mind lecture of IYF Philippines President Abraham Nam to guide them in their everyday student life.

It was very pleasing to see these volunteers happy with what they did during the Korean Camp. The IYF spirit has been fulfilled by these young people who opened their hearts to the people they had encountered. Thus, their experiences became significant and valuable memories for them to share to the youth of Korea and to the entire world.

DAY 1. The volunteers arrived at 6:00pm at the IYF branch in Barangay Bagong Sikat where they stayed during the camp. The opening program was started at 8:00pm and it was attended by the residents of Bagong Sikat and some members of the IYF Philippines, headed by its president, Pastor Abraham Nam.

DAY 2. They went to the onion farm in the morning to experience picking grass. These grasses must be removed from the field because the soil nutrients needed by the onion crops were absorbed by them. Meanwhile, some of the volunteers took a ride in a water buffalo (carabao o kalabaw in Tagalog) and experienced riding a tricycle from the farm going back to the IYF branch. They became even more excited when they rode the famous Philippine jeepney and sat on top of it to enjoy the full view of the farm.

In the afternoon, they visited the Dupinga River to meet the Dumagat tribe. The volunteers prepared a small program with fun-filled activities to bring happiness to the tribe members, especially the young ones. This activity was featured in “On Call”, a public service program of Manila-based news channel GMA News TV.

DAY 3. They went to Hilario E. Hermosa High School in Barangay Siclong, Laur, Nueva Ecija to bring a whole-day Korean experience for its students. The volunteers prepared a small program before lunchtime to give entertainment for the youth. In the afternoon, volunteers were divided into groups to teach different aspects of Korean culture. They taught students to speak basic Korean words and expressions, to share the taste of some of the most famous Korean dishes; to show the beauty of various Korean customs; and to feel the excitement behind Korea’s traditional games.

The IYF Philippines and the school administration have also signed a memorandum of agreement to signal the full participation and support of Hermosa High School in every IYF activities in the province.

DAY 4. The volunteers went to Wesleyan University-Philippines Elementary Campus in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija for another whole-day Korean experience for its students. Like in Hermosa High School, the students were divided into groups and led by IYF guides to take them to a tour in different classrooms where volunteers set up their respective Korean cultural lessons and activities.

After their activity in Wesleyan, the volunteers went to the nearest shopping mall in Cabanatuan to buy some unique Filipino stuff as gifts for their loved ones when they go back to Korea. Some of them bought “halo-halo” in a fast food chain because their Philippine food experience won’t be complete without this popular snack.

DAY 5. The volunteers went on a pre-summer swimming escapade to Dingalan Bay, Aurora province. This bonding completed their best Philippine experience before leaving the Philippines for the 2012 IYF World Camp Thailand.

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