Sacred Heart College, Lucena City
Sacred Heart College, Lucena City
Sacred Heart College, Lucena City

Bayanihan comes alive through Pabahay Program: Community organizing in Brgy. Landfill

The value of unity and closeness is best exhibited in the practice of Bayanihan, one of the unique features of Philippine culture.

The term Bayanihan means helping one’s neighbor to make a difficult task less demanding. It can be seen in various literatures and paintings as a group of men transporting a bahay-kubo, the traditional Filipino house, on their shoulders. The act is a demonstration of a community spirit, a venerable display of commonality and teamwork, qualities that are now threatened towards extinction.

Such feats are now uncommon, except in the remote Barangay in Landfill, Lucena City. The Bayanihan spirit was made alive through plans of rebuilding houses for its indigents.

How Barangay Landfill was chosen
It was a product of research of 3rd year Social Work students through affiliate Emma Resty. The students discovered that there was no Day Care Center in Brgy. Landfill, thus, a community-organizing program was initiated to put one. However, towards the end of the plan and due to lack of resources and requirements to establish the said Day Care Center, the plan was terminated.

But the spirit of this group did not weaken. They continued to get a glimpse of how poor the area was and how great the needs of the community were. They visited residents and engaged in conversations, participated in community activities, and stayed with them all throughout the program. They were determined to extend help to the Barangay in whatever it took them.

Through these, they finally had a resolve to use the area for the Day Care Center as a hall, (now called Hermana Hall), where community outreach programs like values formation and child development activities were held. The hall also becomes a venue for meetings of the Sikap group, an assembly of Barangay Landfill indigents.

The Sikap group, through community organizing and with the help of the Community Outreach Program Office of Sacred Heart College, identifies programs and projects for Landfill to put to use their group’s savings. One of the projects identified was to rebuild a house for a family.

House rebuilt for a family
When a recent storm hovers over Lucena City, a small family in Brgy Landfill loses their house. The eagerness of the Sikap group to help the family restore the house posed a great challenge. But because the group was already organized and with a fund sufficient to buy materials to put up a decent house, they nonetheless decided with the immediacy of the matter. With the help of the Community Outreach Program office of SHC, the Barangay officials and the indigents of Brgy. Landfill, the plan to help the family was put to reality.

The amount collected for the Sikap group was enough to buy simple materials to restore the house of one family. The rebuilding was done last July and was finished a month after. Little by little, and without the help of external agencies, the Bayanihan spirit was clearly seen in the said act. From planning, purchasing, and until the house was complete, the community members of Landfill did not lose hope to help this one family in getting a new house. The beneficiary extended their gratitude to all those who helped them in giving them their new abode.

A ribbon-cutting activity was held last September and the whole Barangay celebrated with a feast where the families in Landfill prepared and shared foods. There was also an attempt to establish their own Barangay fiesta on that day.

More Bayanihan in the future
With the success of the first rebuilding, the Sikap group through Sacred Heart College COP office plans to build one house per month. It has been common practice that small problems in society are ignored or blamed to the government’s incompetence. But in Barangay Landfill, people have taken responsibility for their community, proving that with unity, they are able solve problems that affect them. With their own hands and the spirit of Bayanihan, they have accomplished goals that at first seemed impossible, but made possible through the help of one another. (News: H. Nanad, Photos: Meredith Dango)