Gawad Kalinga in Cabug

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By Luci Lizares

Thursday, July 3, 2014

CESAR Torrecarion and his wife Nanette have been the couple that oversees the Gawad Kalinga (GK) site in Barangay Cabug in Bacolod City. All GK sites work in tandem with the Couples for Christ. There are about 35 homes—some donated by doctors and others by well-meaning donors in the GK Cabug.

Cesar, getting wind that the Women In Travel has been donating langka (jackfruit) trees to the different GK sites, requested that if GK Cabug could likewise be extended this donation. So on the Feast of Our Lady of the Immaculate Heart of Mary last Saturday, we set out to do some tree-planting.

The Women in Travel has been into this project for the longest time as evidenced by the trees, which are now tall and fruit-bearing in the different sites. Why langka? We are often asked. Langka is both a fruit and a vegetable and the beneficiaries can use it either way for nourishment.


Furthermore, when langka trees grow, they have a very lush crown and can give both beauty and shade to the homes.

Surprisingly, Cabug is just a short distance from the city. We arrived there in less than 20 minutes. Bob Magalona, one of the pillars of GK Negros, came, and Cesar and Nanette prepared a short program. They even had a tarpaulin welcoming us, which was very endearing. Fr. Javier came too as requested by Cesar to bless the trees but Father said that they did not need blessing because they are part of God’s creation but he did so, anyway.

When we were planting the seedlings, Fr. Javier blessed the ground I was planting on and I told him, “Father I think I need the holy water more than the earth does.” Father Javier was so kind to bless me indeed! I always get this euphoric feeling when holy water is doused on me. It is like a special blessing!

We were four members who could make it that day. Despite a storm threatening, we had beautiful weather which enabled Maite Elordi, Nena Rosello and Baby Luzuriaga and myself to get on with our task. I was impressed with Nena who was so good with the “pala.” She looked like a pro. Baby, on the other hand, must have a green thumb because she felt that they dug too deep and wanted the soil to be elevated so that seedling does not suffocate. Maite, a good friend of Fr. Javier who assists him with his projects and charities, seemed to be a seasoned agriculturist likewise.

This project of planting langka seedlings have brought us to many GK sites north and south of Bacolod City all the way to Escalante. It is very gratifying when the beneficiaries would point out the trees to us and how they have partaken with its produce.

While we were there to extend our little donation, the homeowners prepared some sweet corn and kamoteng kahoy for us. They were so tasty and sweet and organic. It was such a pleasure eating them especially since I haven’t had kamoteng kahoy in years and even when we asked if we could have some sugar to dip them, they brought out some brown rice. How truly healthy!

It was a lovely day in GK Cabug. I really applaud these couples and volunteers who have helped in the community development of the Gawad Kalinga.

GK is not a relocation site. It is a community that has been set up for the poorest of the poor who can avail of shelter through the participation of their sweat equity.

Many hearts have been overflowed with gratitude for this God-inspired program of Tony Meloto. This has been duplicated not only all over the Philippine archipelago but many countries abroad which has earned Tony a well-deserved Ramon Magsaysay award.

The GK sites have many needs. In GK Cabug, there is no electrification or water system yet. The children have no school. If there is any way you feel you can contribute your time or your treasure, please do not hesitate to do so. We are never too poor to give! So we thank you in advance!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 03, 2014.


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