The Dumagats, Indigenous People of General Nakar, Quezon Province in the Philippines, were the first beneficiaries of the PATA Philippines LPU-Manila Student Chapter’s recent Outreach Program.
An independent community living in the mountain areas of the province, the Dumagats have been, for the past few years, adopted by the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU)-Manila Campus for their Community Extension Program, providing them with simple dwellings, classrooms, a library, and clean, functional kitchens. The female members of the community have been taught various forms of livelihood for their daily sustenance, while the male members have been kept busy building different physical structures from materials donated by the university.
A total of 15 officers and members of the LPU-Manila Student Chapter decided to join the 2-day Outreach to General Nakar, which required an 8-hour land trip, passing through dirt roads, driving through rugged terrain along 10 lakes and crossing a river known to be treacherous during the rainy season.
The students, garbed in their PATA shirts, cooked and served a sumptuous meal for their hosts, gathered rocks and stones needed to fortify several structures in the community, planted fruits and vegetables, which are the Dumagats’ main source of livelihood, and distributed slippers to the children who consider such footwear a luxury, as they do not have access to any form of merchandise, being in an area that is geographically detached from any business enterprise.
Of course, the students also took time out to take a dip in the refreshing, cool, crystal clear, flowing river nearby, to recharge themselves and be ready for the long trip back home. Led by their Chairman Jopo Gian Delloro, the Student Chapter officers and members who made the visit were Jed Genobili, Kerwin Baldazo, Renz Mendoza, Dana Lopez, Raizel Dacay, Shwetha Rubi, Charlon Valdez, Rachel Prendol, Nick Dogelio, James de la Paz, Jackie Quite, Philip Lorrence Quanico, Patryck Jusay, and Jaypee Chavez. PATA Philippines Liaison Officers Aubrey Guinto also joined the group as she wanted to share in this unique fulfilling experience of reaching out to a community of Indigenous People.