The Official Publication of Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health - Philippines

A Moment To Remember

Written by Christine Querubin*

This post is a story about a series of events that happened in one unforgettable day in the eyes of a volunteer.

It’s March 24, 2012. I woke up around 3:30 and was uber excited to join and meet the participants for the Reach for the Sky 2, a project of the group Photography with a Difference (PWD). 

05:27am- A Long Day Ahead

Our rendezvous was at the Megamall Bus stop where I got to meet the all-hyped up kids excited for what awaits them as the sun rises today.

Ate Yon from the Philippine Society for Orphan Disorders Inc. (PSOD) oriented me about my task as a volunteer for PSOD, a beneficiary organization in the event. I would be one of the marshals who would accompany the six beneficiaries from their organization as they are about to experience their very first plane ride and “reach for the sky.”

07:22am- It’s a Celebration!

We finally arrived at Pampanga, only a few more minutes and we’re at the Angeles City Flying Club. I am unaware of what exactly awaits me together with the 42 beneficiaries of Reach for the Sky’s second year but I am most certain that the kids from the Philippine Society for Orphan Disorders Inc., KYTHE Foundation, AD/HD Society of the Philippines, Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines Inc., Autism Society Philippines, the Parent Council for the Welfare of the Hearing Impaired Children Inc., and the Parent Advocates for the Visually Impaired Children together with their parents and guardians are all excited for the gathering.

What welcomed us at the venue was something big! A giant hot air balloon was waiting to have a picture with everyone. Then there came a crowd of photographers with their DSLRs equipped with telephoto zoom lenses accompanied by news patrollers and cameramen from the various news media outlets. It was a very cheerful 20 minutes of smiling for the cameras. Everyone had their pictures taken either for news coverage, sponsors’ documentation or personal keepsake. I plead guilty for the latter.

At that moment I knew this day was going to be great and it did. I felt like a kid spending her first time at an amazing new world featuring an enormous hot air balloon and rows of ultralight planes painted with various colors and designs.

It was like spending your very first time at an amusement park. I had butterflies in my tummy with everything I saw. The venue was all set like a children’s birthday party. The stage was ornamented with blue and white balloons surrounded by various food stalls with free popcorn, hotdog, and ice cream. There was also a face painting area as well as a photo booth.

Say hello to my red ultralight plane. *wishful thinking haha*

01:59pm- Let’s Reach for the Sky!

This is it! This is the most awaited part of the day. The main reason why this event was created was to let persons with special needs experience how it feels like to ride a plane and literally as the event title suggests “reach for the sky.” I get to marshal Angel and Rose Anne, two participants from PSOD as they board the Philippine Air Force helicopter and become the first batch of helicopter riders.

As the kids were on their flight, one thing I am most certain about, more than the excitement emanating from the smiles and laughter of the participants is the even more excited parents and guardians who have come and shared this wonderful event with them.

The best part of it all is that every moment was documented by the Canon team. The joy of every participant’s once-in-a-lifetime experience was captured in photos which would forever be a tangible reflection of optimism amidst life’s everyday challenges.

03:18pm- Surprise! Surprise!

The people behind the cause surely know how to make every moment count.  The rest of the day was filled with various enjoyable activities. There was a magic show that wowed both kids and their parents; the dance showdown allowed the kids to show off their dancing skills; while others were equally excited by the bubble show. Some of the beneficiaries also enjoyed swimming at the venue’s kiddie pool.

During the closing ceremony, a lot of give-aways from the generous event sponsors were distributed. There was also a surprise visit from Jollibee. This collected huge smiles and genuine laughter from everyone which was a suitable way to end the day.

Big Smiles with Angelo, Rose Anne and John Lloyd
Happy time with Angel, Cyril and Pauline

04:25pm- Thank you and Goodbye

As the bus started leaving, two boys with angelic voices sang “The Prayer” and suddenly tears started to crowd my eyes. The whole day was so surreal that I just could not contain the happiness inside anymore. I am so happy for being able to experience “Reach for the Sky” and at the same time I’m sad because it’s over but nonetheless I am grateful because volunteering made this possible. Now I can attest that truly, when we help others, we actually help ourselves.

This post is about appreciating God’s gifts by meeting amazingly courageous people who find joy in helping others. Indeed, let us be grateful for all of our blessings.

These people showed me how to live life to the fullest. 
From left: Ate Tess, Kuya Rey, Ate Joy and Ate Yon from PSOD.

*Christine Querubin finished her BS Mass Communications degree in ADZU last 2011. At present, she is taking Spanish classes at the Instituto Cervantes de Manila. She became affiliated to VYLH-Philippines as a representative of her university to the 2010 VYLH-Philippines Mindanao Island-wide Camp.

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