Article by Fe Esperanza Trampe (@fehnstagram)
It takes at least eight hours of nonstop driving to get to the town of Casiguran in Aurora Province. To step foot on the land where the Casiguran Dumagats reside would take another hour or so by boat. To see a smile on the face of a child from this indigenous tribe? Well, that’s just priceless.
Photo taken from Pink Women On Fire‘s official Facebook page.
The long road from the chaos that is Manila will feel like nothing more than a tricycle ride out onto the main road once you catch a glimpse of dozens of kids waving at you with only the biggest smiles on their faces, though. No wonder the volunteers of Pink Women On Fire can weather through mountains and rivers, and still have so much to give.
Pink Women On Fire founder Ms. Jenniferlee “Jean” Navarro
What started out as a simple outreach program at Pink Women On Fire founder Jean Navarro’s barangay has grown into a full-blown non-governmental organization that is slowly ticking off all the provinces of the Philippines as they meet with the many different indigenous peoples of the country.
An Aeta Boy from Pink Women On Fire‘s visit to Sitio Tarukan in Tarlac. Photo taken from Pink Women On Fire‘s official Facebook page
They have trekked the mountains of Tarlac to share meals with Aetas, and have flown as far as Batanes to chat with the Ivatans. With their determination, there’s no stopping them from circling all 7,107 islands of the Philippines.
An Ivatan boy that Pink Women On Fire met on their trip to Batanes last year.
For the month of August, they ticked off yet another community and destination on their list. Coming straight from their respective day jobs, Jean and the crew turned their cheek on the multiple typhoon signal warnings and went on with the show. They packed their bags and dozens of boxes worth of food and giveaways, and headed straight for Aurora.
With not much time on their hands, the Pink Women On Fire team did the best they could do within an afternoon. They gave away snacks. They danced, played games, and even put on a puppet show. There was no doubt about it: Polgas and Dodong Daga were definitely the highlights of the day. They had the entire audience going crazy.
After everything was said and done, there was only one thing left to do: all the volunteers put a stop to what they were doing and gave gift bags to the many kids in attendance. There were hygiene kits, coloring books, and balloons for everyone. Each and every kid definitely had a smile on their face upon receiving these tokens from their Ates and Kuyas.
It was an afternoon that went by in a blur, a frenzy of music and laughter. Jean made one thing clear to everyone before having to say goodbye. The Pink Women On Fire team is simply sharing what they have to the community, just as the community shared what they have to the volunteers. Just one look around the village center and it was already very clear. The Casiguran Dumagats are very blessed to have such a beautiful environment that sustains them and a loving community that cares for every single one of them.
Some of the many coconut trees around the village
Carabaos that help the Casiguran Dumagats with their everyday lives
The Casiguran Dumagat Chief as he welcomed the volunteers of Pink Women On Fire
The team from Pink Women On Fire had less than 24 hours to spend with their newfound friends. Most of their time that weekend was spent traveling, trying to get as much sleep on the ride to and from Aurora after a whole week at the work they’ll jump right back into once they get back. It was surely a terribly tiring, draining, and exhausting feat for all of them. Ask any Pink Women On Fire volunteer, though. It’s a struggle they’ll willingly do all over again.
If these men and women don’t inspire you, perhaps nothing will. They take the word outreach, and go far, far beyond that. They go where others do not dare to venture out to. They reach the unreachable, one child at a time.
Pink Women On Fire
West Rembo, Makati
Facebook: Pink Women On Fire Corp.