The Official Publication of Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health - Philippines

  • Youth for Health

    VYLH-Philippines is a network of pro-active, service-oriented youth leaders and youth organizations linked by the common interest of volunteerism and public service, to improve birth outcomes through advocacy.

  • Promoting Volunteerism

    VYLH-Philippines is a network of pro-active, service-oriented youth leaders and youth organizations linked by the common interest of volunteerism and public service, to improve birth outcomes through advocacy.

  • A Culture of Concern and Commitment

    VYLH-Philippines is a network of pro-active, service-oriented youth leaders and youth organizations linked by the common interest of volunteerism and public service, to improve birth outcomes through advocacy.

  • Moving towards the Communities

    VYLH-Philippines is a network of pro-active, service-oriented youth leaders and youth organizations linked by the common interest of volunteerism and public service, to improve birth outcomes through advocacy.

  • Glocal and Proud to be Filipino

    VYLH-Philippines is a network of pro-active, service-oriented youth leaders and youth organizations linked by the common interest of volunteerism and public service, to improve birth outcomes through advocacy.

On Being A Volunteer: A Test of Passion

Written by Jane Alcomendras
University of San Carlos, Cebu (Alumna), Batch K4

I'm Jane G. Alcomendras, a registered nurse and a proud volunteer youth leader for health. Last 2010, it was my second year of serving the Student Body of the College of Nursing in the University of San Carlos-Talamban Campus. It was also my first year to be part of the Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health (VYLH)-Philippines. At that time, I was so pleased to be invited to attend the VYLH-Philippines Visayas Island-Wide Camp because out of the entire studentry of the University – I was one of the two who were given the opportunity to attend the said camp.

As a delegate, I was reluctant at first and I was not so into talking that much. Fortunately, my teammates were euphoric while the facilitators and advisers were jaunty and convivial. I really can’t help myself but to go with the tide. And from there, the organization brought me out from my shell and it had a lot to do with who and where I am today.

Experiences, Insights and Sacrifices

First, as a student leader who is vying to be one of the Top Outstanding Leaders in the University, it wouldn’t be possible for me to be nominated and make my walk up to the stage without having VYLH-Philippines as one of my extra-curricular activities/organizations.

Second, in my previous profession as Public Health Nurse, I can really say that I’ve been a very productive as a volunteer youth leader (VYL) and advocate of the VYLH-Philippines’s advocacies- NBS awareness, Folic Acid Supplementation campaign and support for rare disease patients. I believe my previous job provided an avenue for the advocacy since the community-based setting allowed me to deal with people from all walks of life.  I was also even requested to take part in the Local Health Board meeting together with the city officials and other department heads to speak about the importance of having newborn screening in our city hospital and BEMONC (Basic Emergency Obstetrics and Newborn Care) facility. Though being a public health nurse requires a lot of work to do (e.g. paper works, reporting, etc.) and I’m an hour and a half away from Cebu City, I really manage my time to attend or get involve with the activities locally organized by the network and its partners such as the Reunion of Saved Babies, Family Forum for Children with Rare Disorders and the like, because I care and I love the things I that do. I even let my peers and co-employees get involved with our advocacies. My experiences with VYLH-Philippines and with other organizations also became instrumental for me to get invitations to be a resource speaker with regard to health and safety. I also got invited to be a facilitator in a team building of one of the biggest company in Mandaue City. These made me believed that “experience is really a great teacher”.

So much with the achievements, let me say that being in this organization is so horrible- it made me cry twice. The first time was during the K4 camp when they announced that I can no longer continue being in the group because of the “what I did last night” incident while the second time was when I decided to stop from my work just to attend the Third National Congress last November 2013. So ironic isn’t it? 

But here’s the story behind those epic scenes. The first scene is a VYLH-Philippines’ tradition – it’s for you to know and for me to find out, while the second happened when I had my brief call center experience. Unfortunately, the company won’t allow me to take a leave because I’m still on the training phase. To end my dilemma, I decided to quit and join the Congress. It’s just a matter of choice and I chose to be with my VYLH-Philippines family. These are the reasons why it’s horrible being in this organization- horribly amazing, horribly exciting, and horribly worth keeping.

On staying and passing the torch

I can still remember during the Third National Congress when we had our games and sharing sessions, one fellow VYL asked me, “Jane, if VYLH would be the answer, what would be the question?” and without second thought, I was able to say “Bakit ako nandito?” (Why am I here?) . And yes, that was perfectly my very honest answer because of the experience I had before the congress. 

I don’t know why I got stuck with this organization- I don’t get paid. I just give IEC materials to people and promote our advocacies. There are times when I even spent money for my transportation whenever I go to the city to attend network’s events - but I just can’t resist it. I love the things I do in this organization. That’s why I am called a volunteer – I do things in my free will. I am doing things without coercion.

Now that I am one of the elders in the group, I am now passing the challenge to you guys- to be the salt and light for a healthier nation, and to keep the fire burning.

So, this is my story with VYLH-Philippines. What’s yours?

Jane G. Alcomendras is a Registered Nurse and alumna of the University of San Carlos – Talamban Campus. She became a member of VYLH-Philippines after joining the Visayas Island-wide Camp which is one of the K4 Camps in 2010. At present, Jane is an Executive/Company Nurse at Mastercraft Philippines, Inc.


VYLH-PHL spearheads youth leaders' orientation in Ilocos

Written by Roland Alcantara
Originally Published Newborn Screening 
May-June 2014 Issue

To empower the youth in advocating maternal and child health,the Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health (VYLH)–Philippines North Luzon Cluster in collaboration with the Department of Health-Regional Office (DOH-RO) Ilocos and Newborn Screening Center–Central Luzon, conducted a VYLH Orientation to 50 youth leaders at the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University College of Nursing and Midwifery in La Union, May 16.

Since 2009, VYLH Philippines has widened its network of proactive young leaders to promote infant health, particularly on issues concerning folic acid awareness, newborn screening promotion, and the plight of Filipinos with orphan disorders.The Network promotes its vision through promotional and educational activities in different local communities.

The VYLH Orientation was composed of a series of discussion centering on volunteerism and membership, child and maternal health campaigns, and action planning. Among the invited resource speakers were Roland Alcantara, Project Development Officer of Newborn Screening Center–Central Luzon; Mary Michelle Lewis, DOH-RO Ilocos Nurse Coordinator; Marie Kris Lacuata, DOH-RO Ilocos Nurse Coordinator; and Robin Albinto, VYLH Coordinator for Ilocos and Central Luzon.

NCR-South welcomes Batch E4 Volunteers

Written by Christine Querubin
NCR-South Luzon Cluster

Fifty eight new members were added to the roster of volunteers in the VYLH-Philippines NCR-South Luzon cluster during the Volunteer Orientation on May 3, 2014 at the Lara Hall, UP Manila. Participants from Cavite, Batangas, Los BaƱos, Quezon City and Manila joined the whole day gathering featuring talks on volunteerism, newborn screening, folic acid supplementation, and rare diseases. 

Dr. April Berboso, NCR-South Luzon Cluster Adviser, gave a video message welcoming the new batch of members to the organization. This was followed by team building activities and games aimed to acquaint the new members with existing volunteers.

Mr. Jasper Jover, former VYLH-Philippines Mindanao Secretariat gave a lecture on volunteerism and Christine Querubin, NCR-South Cluster Coordinator oriented the participants about the organization and gave an overview of its core advocacies. Separate talks on Newborn Screening, Expanded Newborn Screening, and Folic Acid Supplementation were handled by Ms. Hermes Pascua, Newborn Screening Coordinator for the Center for Health and Development-NCR, and Ms. Marian Cuenca, VYLH- Philippines NCR-South Secretariat, respectively.

The Batch E4 members also worked on their action plans for the year by region, city and school. The organizational orientation and advocacy talks were held in the morning while action planning and commitment rituals were afternoon sessions. Photos and organizational videos over the years havealso been shared to the new members in between sessions.

IHG Genetic Nurse Ms.  Aster Lyn Sur, VYLH-Philippines National Secretariat, lead the symbolic pledge of commitment. Selected representatives from VYLH-Philippines NCR-South Batch E4 also shared their insights as the newest members of the organization during the closing ceremony.

Photo credit: Odellaine Mendoza (Pioneer)

VYLH-Philippines Programs recognized as Outstanding Health Awareness Project

Written by Robin Charles O. Ramos
VYLH-Philippines Mindanao, K4

The Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is an annual international gathering of young volunteers spearheaded by Youth Service America (YSA). The event is conducted every April and is celebrated in more than 135 countries. It is dedicated to children and the youth and is claimed to be the largest service event in the world, since its establishment in 1988. For four years now, the Voice of the Youth Network (VOTY) is the chosen campaign partner in the Philippines.

In celebration of this year’s GYSD, the VOTY Network launched its first ever youth-led award giving body― the VOTY Awards. The citation is created to recognize deserving young individuals and youth-led and youth-serving organizations in the country that provide positive social change and share the same passion in serving the Filipino youth.

The Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health-Philippines (VYLH-Philippines) is a recipient of one of the prestigious awards given during the VOTY Network Kabataan Night 4: The Youth Revolution. This is a trademark activity where over 300 youth and youth organizations showcased their talents through literary-musical variety shows and various performing arts. It was held on May 4, 2014 at Mabuhay Restop, Rizal Park, Manila City. The three health advocacies of VYLH-Philippines are applauded by the VOTY Network as one of the Outstanding Health Awareness Projects of the year.

VYLH-Philippines' Programs recognized as one of the
Outstanding Health Awareness Projects of the Year

VYLH-Philippines is a network of more than 100 youth organizations in universities and communities nationwide. The main goal of the organization is to create a network of youth leaders and youth organizations in schools and communities in the Philippines who will champion in increasing public awareness on existing health programs, and on the significance of healthy lifestyle at an early age. 

The Network engages in three flagship advocacies namely: increasing awareness among women in their reproductive age on the significance of folic acid supplementation in the prevention of birth defects; increasing public awareness in saving babies from mental retardation and death through newborn screening; and lobbying public support for the urgent passage of the Rare Disease Act - an act addressing the needs of patients with rare orphan disorders.

The recognition received by the VYLH-Philippines is an inspiration in fostering strong partnerships with other youth-led and youth-serving organizations, as well as, advancing its advocacy to train young leaders, empowering them for health and improving birth outcomes through advocacy. This achievement is also joined by the recently concluded youth leaders’ orientations in CAR, NCR, Southern Tagalog and Central Visayas. 

Robin Charles Ramos is a Master in  Business Administration graduate of the Cor Jesu College  in Digos City, Davao del Sur. He is also an alumnus of  South Philippine  Adventist College where he completed his degree in Business Administration. Robin  became affiliated to the network during the 2010 Mindanao Island-wide Youth Camp.

Photo Credit: Romer Guerbo
Editor: Christine Queribin, Ryan Pascual

VYLH-Philippines Central Visayas Camp 2014: Educating Future Health Warriors

Written by Pellan Rhey Capuyan
Foundation University, Negros Oriental, Batch E4

On May 10, 2014, around 10 o’clock in the morning, bright smiles and positive looks of the members of Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health - Philippines (VYLH-Philippines) welcomed my first day in the alluring Intosan Resort in Danao City, Cebu. Long hours of "self- improving" and "educating seminars" as well as the sets of activities for this camp were held in the said resort.

The introduction of officers, orientation of the goal of the organization, and lots of energizers formally commenced the first day. The seminar on the first day was from 1pm to 6pm. It taught us the importance of having newborn screening for every newborn, having enough folic acid supplementation for all especially women, and helping individuals with rare diseases. After which the participants were implicitly taught of camaraderie in a group dinner and the camp's team building activities. The agenda for the day ended at 11 pm through a solemn commitment ritual. The night was perfectly suited for the participants as they internalize the lessons learnt that day.

The cup wasn’t full yet for the craving minds and hearts of the future catalysts-of-change and youth leaders in communities! The second day featured the seminar on action plan development and the talk by the National Program Adviser, Dr. Carmencita Padilla. But of course, the camp was also not all about seminars. Fun spiced up the event too! Different leaders showcased their hidden talents. These were followed by the cultural presentations of leaders across the Central Visayan islands and provinces, such as Cebu, Negros Oriental, Siquijor and Bohol. The second day was concluded by giving sort of “Kalog Awards” to different leaders for individuality or uniqueness as observed by the facilitators during the two- day camp. This was followed by picture taking of course! Definitely, it was a day full of very memorable experiences.

The camp will always be a part of me. I will always look back to it, not the camp per se but the things that I learned and the people behind the continuous success of the organization. To name a few, they are Dr. Carmencita Padilla - National Adviser, VYLH-Philippines; Dr. J Edgar Winston Posecion - Unit Head, NSC- Visayas, VYLH Visayas Cluster Adviser; Dr. Barbra Charina Cavan - Visayas Cluster Adviser; Ms. Lyn Sur, RN - VYLH - Philippines. National Secretariat; and Mr. Emmanual Enriquez, RN - President of VYLH – Philippines.

To the senior volunteers who stayed active despite their hectic schedule, like Kuya Jp, Floyd, Steven, Lime, Ate Jane, Leah, Salima, Karen, Choko and the rest who also served as facilitators during the camp -- thank you! There are so many active volunteer youth leaders whose passion to serve humanitiy keeps on burning. Pardon me for those who were not mentioned. 

Similarly, I have been very grateful that I was able to join with the rest of the youth leaders because of the following who made it possible: my Clinical Instructor Ma'am Ivy Cornelia, Dean Nenita P. Tayko, administrators of Foundation University (FU), and the rest of the supportive individuals.

Indeed, the two-day camp taught me a lot of things. It gave me so much learning and realization. I can say that it renewed and made me more equipped with Skills, Knowledge and Attitude (SKA) of what a true leader should be. I will continue to be an effective leader and will keep the passion burning inside me until such time every individual will take a move in advocating for better health of Filipinos.

Pellan Rhey Capuyan is a Senior Nursing student at Foundation University in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. He is also the current President of the Foundation Universities Association of Student Nurses. He is one of the newest VYLs added to VYLH-Philippines roster after the 2014 Central Visayas Camp.

Insights from the Central Visayas Regional Camp

Written by Melorens Dumas1 and Gilbert Domingo2
1University of Cebu, Batch E4, 2Silliman University, Batch E4
Updated 29 May 2014

Melorens Dumas
Joining the VYLH two-day camp held last May 10-11, 2014 at Intosan Resort, Danao,Cebu made a great impact in my life as a teenager. I met new people not only from Cebu but from different parts of Central Visayas (Region 7) and the whole Philippines. 

It’s rare for a student to have an advocacy but the network, VYLH-Philippines, never failed to persuade us. I found out that it’s not only for students who are in the medical or scientific field but it’s for everyone, every individual, who is after for a healthier society. I am really into joining different leadership seminars, both  local or national, but the VYLH-Philippines' Camp is one of the best leadership conferences that I’ve ever joined in. This one’s unusual, it’s really new! My heart was overwhelmed in knowing the fact that I’m of of the luckiest youth who was able to be a part of the network’s advocacy. 

The First day was of course the so called “Awkward Day”, although the other groups of delegates were already intact. Still, it was productive! The lecture of the advocacies filled our interested minds with more awareness about what’s happening around us. How in that very moment, a teenaage mother is giving birth. And how in that very minute, a dreadful defects can destroy a newborn’s life - if not prevented or detected.

We were blessed enough to have the chance of listening from very excellent speakers. Later that evening, the Team Building Activity tested our values and attitudes towards dealing with different people and situations. The activity strengthened our relationship and opened our minds to the reality that we are a part of this because we are instruments for change. 

The second and last day of the camp is the happiest yet the saddest part. Seeing the National Program Adviser, Dr. Carmencita "Tita Menchit" Padilla, in person really increased our motivation. I believe she was able to inspire everyone. The Talent Presentation and the Kalog Awards made the most impact on that day's activity. It was full of surprises and laughter. Indeed, it was remarkable. 

Words can’t express on how thankful I am to be a part of the VYLH-Philippines family. They only made me believe in one thing: in order for us to successfully fulfill our life on Earth, we should be a part of history, and the best way to make history is to help others and make them happy. 

Thank you, VYLH-Philippines! Let’s do this!
Gilbert Domingo

The VYLH-Philippines Central Visayas Camp was very memorable. I think it is a rare opportunity to attend an interesting, challenging and exciting youth leaders’ camp.

On our way to Danao, I thought about the many things that could happen in the camp – the new people I would meet, new knowledge that I would obtain, new family that I would value, and all the new things that would make my life different from what I am having right now. At first, I felt a bit awkward even with my co-delegates from Negros Oriental. I feared then that I would be out of place during the camp. But as the camp began, I met different kinds of people from various parts of the region. And as I got to know a bit of their personalities, I figured out how we shared similar characteristics – the traits of being a leader.  That idea made me change my mind about being a fish out of the water.  It made me feel that I am in the right group of people, and that I belong here.

Looking at the perspective of the participants, I could say that the Central Visayas Camp was very successful because all of my fellow youth leaders enjoyed the event. After seeing smiles on their faces on our way home, I am pretty sure that they learned a lot from the camp. Other than the details of the network’s advocacies, our professional lecturers showed us that the field you chose in life doesn’t matter in the advocacy. This made me realize that for as long as anyone has the heart of a volunteer, anyone can make a difference in our country.

To sum it up, I just want to say that I enjoyed the camp so much and I'm looking forward to the next. Thank you, VYLH-Philippines.

Melorens Dumas is the President of the Nursing Student Body Organization (NSBO) of the University of Cebu-Banilad Campus. Gilbert Domingo is an incoming Third Year BS Accountancy student at Silliman University. He was the President of the Duscian Sillimanites for AY 2013-2014. At present, he is the College Representative to the SU University Student Council.

Both of them belong to the latest batch of VYLH-Philippines volunteers. Batch E4 stands for Educate, Empower, Engage, and Experience. 

Message from the National President (12 May 2014)

Passion is defined as a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion compelling, enthusiasm, or desire for anything. The youth certainly possess a lot of energy and passion. It is amazing how a spark can glare as the sun when ignited with passion and commitment. The youth's energy must be utilized properly and purposefully for them to fully grow and achieve their dreams and ambitions.

As we are given the chance to spread our wings and continue to expand the network, it is my sincerest hope that we, the members of VYLH Philippines, will allow others to be educated, empowered, engaged and to experience the things that we had that allowed us to fully grow and reach our goals and ambitions.

May we realize that the true meaning of passion is in the word itself already, that is, to drop "I" that represents one's self and leaving PASS_ON. As we move in the fulfillment of our networks goal, may our diversity and richness in culture and practices bring us to the peak of our success as one family.

My sincerest gratitude and appreciation for all the hard work, efforts, and unending dedication to the organizers of the CAR, NCR-South Luzon Youth Leaders' Orientation and Central Visayas Regional Camp. Our encouragement, hope and support continues for the rest of the regions and their promotion, expansion and growth.

To our new VYLH Batch E4 members, it is an honor and privilege to welcome you all to our growing family. May you be filled with passion and enthusiasm and continue to touch and positively change as many lives as you can.

For everything said and done. Daghang Salamat!
Let’s keep the fire burning.

Christian Emmanuel "Kuya Emman" P. Enriquez RN
VYLH-Philippines National President
2012 - present 

A leap forward: VYLH-Philippines ventures in CAR

Written by Jonah Chaangan
Baguio City, Batch E4

Baguio and Benguet universities sent their delegates for the Baguio City leg of the VYLH-Philippines
North Luzon Cluster Orientation CARavan.
Ready to champion awareness and empowerment, the Volunteer Youth Leader for Health (VYLH)-Philippines North Luzon Cluster recently launched its Youth Leaders’ Orientation Caravan in the Cordillera Administrative Region. After visiting Abra, Benguet, and Apayao early this year, the group still looks forward to continuing the trail to the rest of the region.  

Youth Leaders' Orientation held in Luna, Apayao
The orientation caravan organized by CAR's Center for Health Development (DOH CHD-CAR) aims to increase the participation of the region in VYLH Philippines’s proactive campaign for maternal and child health. A total of 118 youth leaders representing Abra, Benguet, and Apayao joined hands to look into issues concerning Folic Acid Awareness, Newborn Screening, and Orphan Disorders and pledged to be part of the VYLH-Philippines family. Other than being a milestone in creating discourse on VYLH’s core advocacies, the orientation served as an avenue to encourage youth participants to channel their effort in worthwhile causes.

Patterned from previous experiences, the orientation comprised a series of discussions on volunteerism and VYLH membership, child and maternal health campaigns, and action planning. Lectures were coupled with interactive activities ensuring interactions among the participants. Necessary information and insights regarding VYLH-Philippines and its advocacies were provided by the invited speakers namely Aster Lynn Sur, RN of the Institute of Human Genetics-National Institutes of Health (IHG-NIH), UP Manila; Francia Bartolata, Ryan Pascual, Rufus Adducul, and Edbert Jasper Jover, RN of VYLH-Philippines NCR-South Luzon; and VYLH-Philippines North Luzon Cluster Secretariat Roland Alcantara, RN of Newborn Screening Center – Central Luzon (NSC-CL). Baguio City youth leaders Crissa Sikki (Saint Louis University), Safrone Dicam (Benguet State University), Jonah Chaangan (UP Baguio), Keith Dakimas, and Sheema (University of Baguio) assisted the group.

Youth Leaders Orientation held in Bangued, Abra

Youth leaders were also asked to develop their own action plans for their respective schools and communities.  This planning session addresses the question “what can I do to advocate as a youth?” Thorough review and consolidation of these plans are still ongoing, as these plans can contribute to the overall health campaign in the region, and the country.

The advocacy trail started in Abra last March 31, 2014, followed by a recent visit in Baguio City and Apayao on April 14 and 22 respectively. Over 46 youth participants were oriented in Abra, 26 in Baguio, and 46 in Apayao. They will be listed as affiliated volunteer youth leaders (VYLs) along with 19 Baguio City student leaders who joined VYLH-Philippines in October 2013.

The recent success of the caravan was made possible through the collaboration of the DOH CHD-CAR, IHG-NIH, NSC-Central Luzon, VYLH-Philippines NCR-South Luzon volunteers, and Baguio City Youth leaders. Regional NBS Program Manager Dr. Virginia Narcisio and NBS Nurse Coordinator Joyce Rillorta represented CHD-CAR.

Acknowledgements VYLH-Philippines would like to thank the Center for Health Development - CAR, the Provincial Capitol of Abra, and the Municipality of Luna, Apayao for hosting the orientation of new volunteer youth leaders. Agyamanak unay! 

Mr. Jonah Chaangan is a senior BA Communication student at the University of the Philippines Baguio. He joined the network in April 2014 and was listed as member of the batch E4 (Educate, Empower, Engage, Experience). 

Top Posts

Recent Posts

Recent Posts Widget