On Monday 30 September, 16 students from the Class of 2020 joined Dr Carvalho and old girls Michaela Munasinghe (Class of 2017) and Isabel Patiño (Class of 2012) for the adventure of a lifetime in the annual Philippines Service Project. The excited group gave up their Term 3 holidays, leading up to their final year of school, and traveled to the region of Batangas where they spent 12 days serving the local community.

During our time in the Philippines, we built a science laboratory and painted sections of the Balete Family Farm School, completing a project started by the first Tangara group seven years ago. The group also took part in teaching First Aid to local students and community health workers and visiting the poorest families in the region to deliver care packages.

We also visited a local orphanage, bringing the children a special Jollibee lunch and playing against them in volleyball and basketball! It was such a beautiful moment saying the Rosary with the boys, that despite all the language barriers we had encountered, were united in prayer.

The group also helped at a party for the 50 young boys and girls ‘Cancer Warriors’, who were either recovering from or undergoing cancer treatment. Speaking to the families who underwent such suffering with a smile and having the opportunity to give them gifts and bring some happiness into their day was incredibly rewarding.

Later on in the week, we visited our sister school Woodrose in Manila, meeting up with some girls from Tangara’s previous cultural exchange and joining their morning classes. Following our reunion, both grades were able to bring donations to one of Manila's public Hospital, where the Woodrose girls assisted as translators, allowing us to converse with the patients. It was a deeply moving experience.

I would like to thank each participant: Larissa, Amy W, Amy H, Madisen, Andrea, Teresa, Olivia, Hannah, Marina V, Miriam, Catherine, Armani, Annique, Monica and Elysia. It was such a pleasure to share the experience with you all and I am so glad we can tackle the challenges ahead together.

We would like to thank Dr Carvalho, Isabel and Michaela for accompanying us on the trip and making it truly unforgettable.

Written by Jasmine Aitken (Class of 2020)