About FLAG

My photo
Educate, Enrich and Empower underprivileged girls in the Philippines

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The boy who swam to school

With all the time I have these days, I am able to explore (watch TV) the programs back home (Philippines).  I enjoy food shows, travels and culture.  Most interesting and heart breaking shows are documentaries on children around the country who are missing the opportunity to go to school.
One story about this boy who lives in Cagayan near the area where Sendong , the typhoon that  took the lives of many due to landslides and floods.  His small village was not hardly hit but it destroyed his only way to get to school - rope attached from one rock to another above the river. Built by his grandfather, this rope has a wooden cable car where he can sit and pull to cross the river.

SO WHAT DID HE DO?? HE SWAM.   After swimming for about 45 minutes, it will take him about 2 hours to walk up to mountains to reach the only school in his village. Unbelievable! ( how often do our kids whine because they didn't want to go to school?)

Friends, I am simply sending a message to all of us how blessed we are.  We feel stress because we are not able to keep up with life or (the Joneses). These stories and images changed my life, how I live it. Although I will never meet this boy ever in my life, these images I will never forget.  
Thank you for stopping by,
On behalf of the F.L.A.G team
Like us on facebook.com/flagphilippines
Follow us on twitter.com/flagphil

Friday, January 27, 2012

Angel from Utah

With the big change that happened last week (getting laid off) I felt a bit sad because of the uncertain future. During this time I have been chatting my mommy blogger Becky Jane (www.riseaboveyourlimits.blogspot.com) about sending books for our girls back home.  Can you believe it? At the time of sadness and uncertainty, this angel from Utah delivered 4 boxes of books for our girls? Incredible!

It amazes me how the universe responds to one’s circumstances.  In the midst of my self-pity, finger pointing, what if’s blah blah blah. Here’s Becky Jane packing up 4 boxes of books for the underprivileged girls in the Philippines.
Jobs will be there, might not be as good as what I had before, but I know I will be okay.  For there are people like Becky Jane (whom I have not met) has a big heart and extended her support to girls thousands and thousands of miles away.

Becky Jane, thank you, thank you on behalf of the F.L.A.G girls. We appreciate all your support and prayers. 
Thank you for stopping by,

On behalf of the F.L.A.G team
Follow us on twitter.com/flagphil
LIKE us on facebook.com/flagphilippines

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Letting go

I have been working since I was 14 years old. Like most of you, I have worked at McDonald's, retail stores and other part time jobs. At 22 years old, I started a full time job at the largest Telecom company here in Canada (sorry folks can't say who ) . My oldest son Patrick was just under 2 years old. I never left.

The day has come and I'm no longer working for this company. Last week, I was let go. Here's the exact words (what I can remember from the 30 second conversation ) , "Monica, the company has made some changes and decided your role as an Account Manager is no longer needed, I'm sorry to say we have to let you go".

I don't know what to say but I started feeling an out of body experience. There were signs of relief, anger, sadness, eagerness, happiness and excitement going through my mind.

Do you mean to say no more Blackberry messages? No more waking up at 6 a.m? No more running to the train station sweating so I don't miss my train and have to wait for another half hour? No more subway train rides at rush hour where I am face to face with someone who has not brush their teeth or taken a shower that morning? No more shopping during lunch hour ? No more breakfast dates with my friends and colleagues? No more team events, sporting events, possible travels, client lunches at the company's expense?

I would have loved to celebrate my 20 years next year on which I get an extra vacation day (whoppee!). But part of me wanted this to happen. I can only look ahead on what's to come and the possibilities of what I can do. Here's a quote that I can live by and relevant to my circumstances:

 "We all have a choice—we're not victims of our lives, we're not victims of our circumstances. We can consciously choose to focus on the good stuff and it makes a big difference."
         Cheers to the next 20 years ! The next chapter begins now.
Sunrise in Manila, Philippines

Thank you for stopping by,



Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why invest in women?

Some people ask why invest on women? or the girls from the Philippines.  I don't like to call it as a 'investment' - we are not making money from these girls and their mothers.  We are investing in their future so we can stop the cycle of poverty, ignorance and lack of education.  Do we care? Or should we continue to live in a bubble?

Infographic from :   USAID www.usaid.gov

99% - of maternal deaths each year occur  in developing countries. ( Philippines is in this category)

1- 5 girls in developing countries who enroll in primary school never finish. I don't think these girls asked to be born in this country. Imagine YOU being in this situation??

How  can I not give them a chance? They deserve a chance , it was not their fault.

Jessel is turning 13 this year, we have given her a chance not to be part of that 7 ..
1 in 7 girls will marry befory they are 15 in developing countries.  You are lucky it's not your niece, daughter, friend.. but what about how her? Does she deserve that? 
Girls who stay in school for seven years or more years, marry four years  later and have two fewer children.

One day, they will become somebody.. I just wish I can do more .

It brings us great joy knowing we can make a difference even with just these 23 girls. I hope you can share the blessings you have to make a difference in someone's life.

Thank you for stopping by,


On behalf of the F.L.A.G team

Follow us on twitter.com/flagphil

Like us on facebook.com/flagphilippines

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I remember what we did last summer ..

Summer in the Philippines starts in March and also our  Graduation Month.

We are doing our countdown towards Graduation Day in March.  I can't wait to see them and hear their stories since the last time I was there.  I have been asking myself what would they want for graduation and for Summer Break.

This is what our F.L.A.G girls did last summer !

Irysh fell asleep on our way there. They don't know where we are going it was  SURPRISE!

POOL PARTY! - none of the kids have ever seen a swimming pool!

No one can swim, so they were just in the smaller pool ( supposed to be the hot tub)
We have a big surprise for them when we go home, I can't wait to see their faces when they see where we are going next ! Stay Tuned!

Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again,
Follow us on twitter.com/flagphil
Visit us www.flagphil.com

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy Birthday Rey!

Who is Rey??

Rey is our executve director who runs the operations of F.L.A.G on a daily basis.  He is celebrating his birthday today and knowing him he will not make a big deal out of it and it will be all about his family and friends.  The first time we met Rey in 2010, we are very much inspired by his humility, devotion to God and simplicity.  We felt that God sent this person to us to pursue our vision.  We are now entering our second year and he is still with us. 

He is the most unselfish, humble, kind being  and I could go on and on.  When I think I am so stressed out, upset about stuff. I think of Rey and what he could be doing. Which consist of searching for girls on the streets,  visiting parents of our girls wondering why they didn't go to school that day.  He will give his last cent to someone knowing it will change that person's life that day. That's REY!

Brother Rey, thank you for your devotion to the cause and your unselfish commitment to all the girls and their families.  F.L.A.G will not be the same without you. CHEERS TO YOU GOOD HEALTH, LONG LIFE AND PEACE, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Thank you for stopping by,

The F.L.A.G Team
Visit our website: www.flagphil.com
Follow us on twitter.com/flagphil
LIKE us on facebook.com/flagphilippines

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 - new beginnings

When a new year begins, Jon and I are very excited because the countdown begins when we get to see our F.L.A.G family once again.  We lost some girls and we gained more.  All 23 of them.  I am especially excited to meet our new girls, talk to the the moms who started their own businesses. 

Our teacher, our director, teaching assistant and our chef - they are the pillars of our school who look after these girls all year round.  I admire them for being humble, unselfish and dedicated. 
Without them, our school will not function on a daily basis.  The success of F.L.A.G is because of them. 

What we hope for 2012 is to have more girls to support and educate.  In 2012, we will begin focusing on fundraising and raising more awareness for our cause.  100% of all your donations are for the operations of our school, teachers and food.  Today, 100% of those costs are funded by my husband and I.  We will never change a thing.  

Rey  - our director

Rochelle ( left ) teaching assistant, Rose ( middle) our teacher, Sister Dory ( right) our chef

Thank you for stopping by,

The F.L.A.G team
Follow us on twitter.com/flagphil
LIKE us on facebook.com/flagphilippines