From the homeless of Manila to the indigenous tribe of Bulacan, we visited an area called Punduhan ng mga Dumagat to check on how it’s people are dealing with this pandemic that has put lives on hold for over a year now.
From the Kabuwelan word for “hubad sa gubat” (naked in the forest), the Dumagats have lived and survived on the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountain for centuries. The Punduhan (translated as “stop over”) was meant to be a temporary shelter for traveling tribes. They now reside in a 10 hectare property overseen by the National Power Corporation, mandated by the Philippine government to provide electricity to rural areas outside of the capital. Hours away from urban life, the Punduhan exemplifies the simplest form of living with the unpaved roads that lead to the community, to the bamboo huts that houses families, and it’s people always happy to welcome visitors.
The Dumagats secluded themselves from modernization, so they don’t fear a virus as much as they fear the scarcity of food, water, clothes or electricity in their daily lives. We handed them masks and reminded them to keep them on properly. Asking them to distance from each other was no easy task since they don’t practice that in their area. Still we handed them bags of clothes and packed meals, all provided by our generous donors from America and local friends. We all sensed those smiles behind the masks, enjoyed the laughter of the children, and love the appreciation in their eyes.
Once again, we would like to say THANK YOU to all the donors and sponsors that made this distribution possible. We have acknowledged you in our social media shoutouts, and even featured in this video. We are nothing without you guys. Thank you for helping us help them.
Spread the word. We are always welcoming new volunteers to join us in our distribution. Sponsors and donors are needed. Send us a message. Maraming salamat!