When In Manila, ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. If it sounds familiar, its something that came from former US President John F. Kennedy which is a statement not only applicable to the United States of America but to our own beloved country as well.
In a time when most of us Filipinos would grumble at how corrupt our government system is, how poor the nation is, and how many oppressed & depressed people there are – a book like this comes along that can wake us up from this complaining mode and take a second look at what we can do ourselves to make this country we live in a better place.
When you think about the Peace Corps, the first thing that comes into mind is nobility, service and … greatness of spirit.
Today I met an American who is much as well a Filipino like many of us – he is Hans Groot, a Peace Corps volunteer who came to the country back in the 1960s, has taken root in our country because of the deep and lasting impression this service made upon him and is the editor-in-chief of this book. He compiled various Peace Corps stories of volunteers, Filipinos who hosted them and people who became their friends along the way.
What exactly does a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines do? They help in the social and economic development of our country – as aides to education, fisheries, health education, agriculture, nutrition, coastal resource management – and so on.
As you flip through the pages of this book, you will find out more about the 50 years they were here and some memories from the 8,000 volunteers who have served in our country.
Aaron S. Williams (Peace Corps Director, Washington DC) graced the event at the UP Executive House with various ambassadors and dignitaries to commemorate this milestone.
It was an afternoon of getting to know more about the organization, the work the volunteers did (some examples are the Bohol Deaf Academy, Palawan Conservation Corps, Soil & Water Conservation, Mindanao State University) and some post service ventures like the Peace Corps Alumni Foundation for Philippines Development (PCAFPD), The Hobbit House, HELP foundation, Bantai Civet Story to name a few.
Also got to see a few of their scholars who are leading successful lives – who by being served by the Peace Corps, now allows to serve the Philippines themselves.
There is a lot more to find out about this book as you get hooked on the passion for service other people had for our country. When in Manila, this coffeetable book makes you think – 8,000 volunteers have braved our country and served it – as an individual how could this book inspire you to leave the Philippines in a little better shape than how we found it?
There’s only one way to find out.
Ask not…Huwag Mo Nang Itanong
The First 50 Years of Peace Corps in the Philippines
Edited by Hans C. Groot, PhD
Available online for ordering at https://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2504993