Bidding a Thankful Bye

Time in: 8:30 AM


Oh, the last day.

Or at least, officially. Today was spent at the office, and in the morning I finished writing the article on Ashley, as well as finalizing Michelle’s. Ms. Shane gave us feedback on the videos we recently submitted, and most of them needed to be edited some more.

Most of the changes that had to be made were on the subtitles – several word changes and paraphrasing here and there. I also added a part in the videos where we put in a short credit towards the end of the video, per the feedback we received from Ms. Shane and Ms. Hansen, who is one of the foundation’s higher-ups, I believe.

I finished the articles and informed Ms. Shane about them as I worked on the videos, two of which I took over. A while after the noon break, I completed re-editing Marissa’s video.

I delegated the rest of the work on the videos to Grace and Phoebe, so that all of us left the office quite early. We held a discussion with Ms. Shane today about our final requirements, and she told us she’d be available to work with us on them by Friday.

So my last official day at Rise Above Foundation was pretty low-key. Nothing particularly eventful. But I think many of us interns would agree that the time flew by fast and a lot of it was spent interestingly and greatly. One of us mentioned today that it would be a bit mingaw (lonely or quiet) after this internship is over. We silently agreed.

But I believe we’ll get over it. The many encounters and experiences we went through have made up more than enough themselves for their own briefness. They will come to shape part of my perspectives in the future, and help me broaden even more my level of empathy when considering the marginalized.

I will miss some of it, and most surely the kids – the older clever ones in Sambag Dos and the little ones we got to be playmates with in the Family Care Center; even the ones we met for just one time, but whom we learned so much about in those short meetings. They have all helped me to look with more kindness, act with more patience, and think with more willingness to understand.

It has been a summer internship of discoveries, enlightenment, and realization. And it is now officially over.

I thank Rise Above, and you too, dear reader, for staying with me.


Time out: 3:45 PM

Number of hours: 7 hours and 15 minutes


An Almost-Ending

Time in: 8:30 AM


I worked all day today on our last two articles. My group agreed yesterday to meet up at the same spot beside the Mabolo high school at noon, when Megan’s mother usually arrives.

I devoted half of the day to finishing the draft of Michelle’s story. I finished it just before 11 AM so I could prepare for our meetup. When I was ready to go out, I visited our group chat and asked the others if they were on their way yet. But then, they informed me that Grace had already met Megan’s mother yesterday, and had managed to get the clips that we needed to complete the video. I was surprised, especially as I learned more of her night escapade there, but I understood, and told them I would focus instead on finalizing the articles on Michelle and Ashley for the rest of the day.

So that’s what I did. I completed writing Michelle’s after I transcribed parts of their interview and translated them too. At past three I finished the article, with the only thing left for it being a picture or two of Michelle and Ms. Shane’s consultation.

I proceeded to work on Ashley’s story then, but found myself a bit short on something to work with – it was practically three-quarters-finished, lacking only some direct quotations from the interview. I contacted my group, but even at past six the video was still not uploaded, even as I was told it was done, so I did nothing except for the tiniest bit of editing to improve the write-up on Ashley.

Today is the first where I worked a full day out of the office, and today is the last day that fulfills my time period requirement. Today almost seemed like an ordinary hot summer day in the house for me. But of course not really. I’ve got several tasks left to wrap up this internship, and there’s a bit more urgency to finishing all our assignments for us to submit our requirements early, but I personally feel it’s not quite over.

Even so, like I said in our documentary, it’s been a well-spent summer.


Time out: 5:00 PM

Number of hours: 8 hours and 30 minutes


An End Turning Point

Time in: 9:00 AM


I went to the office to finalize my group’s plan to meet with Megan from Mabolo today. While waiting for Ms. Shane and Ms. Aida to finish the request letter for us to present to the school we need to visit, I did some editing on the documentary of Ashley, which still needed a lot of work then.

The morning also held a brief consultation with Ms. Shane on our video of Marissa, where she requested we make a correction in the subtitles, which we obligingly did so. Those of us interns who were there also took the time to discuss possible meeting times and deadlines for our final video documenting our experiences as Rise Above interns. We also were able to report to Ms. Shane about last Saturday’s event, as well as discussions on our final requirements.

As we finalized Marissa’s video according to Ms. Shane’s order, we were given the letter to present. At just around noon, we headed out for Mabolo National High School, which is where Megan is studying.

We didn’t go into the school upon arriving, but instead went straight ahead to the front of the police station nearby, which was, according to Ms. Aida, where Megan’s mother sets up a stand to sell snacks and a few drinks every afternoon.

We arrived there to find two women selling similar goods, and asked them about Megan’s mother, giving them her name. They knew her, telling us she sets up her stand right next to them, and that she usually came with her daughter, but that she hadn’t come yet.

We waited there, sitting beside the two women in front of the police, in the early afternoon July heat, right beside the main highway. At around 1:30, when neither Megan nor her mom had come, we decided to go into the school to see if Megan had come in.

We walked to the night department’s principal’s office, where we were welcomed and informed that Megan’s classes began at twelve, and that her free period would start at 3:45 PM, when they could call Megan in to meet us. With our meeting with Megan still a couple of hours away, we agreed to go into the SM mall, which was also a short walk away, so Phoebe could have her lunch as we wait for the time.

While in SM, we worked on the video featuring Ashley, where I put in the usual text and subtitles, and did a little trimming before we noticed it was only five minutes to our scheduled meeting time.

When we returned to the school, they told us Megan didn’t come in to school today. We were disappointed for a moment, until the lady attending to us added that she saw Megan beside the school selling at her mom’s usual post. We thanked the lady and then took our time to get a few B-roll clips of scenes in the school, climbing up a building and standing in the middle of their multipurpose courts, a crowd of students bustling around us with activity.

When we were satisfied, we proceeded to walk back out to the police station front by the school, asked the women from before about Megan, and confirmed that it was the little girl sat hunched over behind a small table covered in rows of packaged chips, cookies, and candy. Upon hearing her name, she looked and sat upright immediately, and we introduced ourselves.

We briefed her about our purpose and she reacted understandingly. Diving right into the interview, we asked her questions about her family, why she was the one selling and not her mother, why she was absent from school today, where her mother was, et cetera. Amidst all our questions, we had to take care that we didn’t too extensively interrupt the work she was focused on, and made sure she was able to attend to her customers while responding comfortably to our questions.

She had a small voice at first, but in time she seemed to open up more, volunteering information that provided more context and insight into her circumstances as we went on, the way many people who open up to strangers for the first time do.

There were the occasional challenges of filming and recording her in time so that the background sounds of passing vehicles weren’t too obtrusive, having to request passersby whose attention we caught with the filming to not talk loudly as we were interviewing, and to not crowd in around Megan’s little stall.

When most of the information and scenes we needed were acquired and shot, Grace filmed me for my part in our intern documentary. It didn’t take too long, and when we came back to sit by Megan’s stand, with the camera and recorder off, I asked Megan some filler questions that lingered in my mind during the recorded interview. She was opening up to me bit by bit and more each time, and during this we learned about impactful details we didn’t dig deeper into during the initial probings. These were things like how she sometimes spent the night in that space by the highway when she was too tired to go home, and how her parents never got married.

I talked to Megan like this for well near an hour, and the other two shot her telling those parts of her story to the camera in between pauses in the conversation. There was a lot to know about the young and her family, and I thought it was important that we see to it that the story is put together well.

I soon decided I was finished for the day. It was just a few minutes before six then, so I agreed with my group on when and where to meet tomorrow. Then, I went ahead of them, bidding Megan thanks and goodbye.

Sometimes there are days that really do seem like any other, but from early on you feel something nagging that it holds a turning point you didn’t necessarily expect. Megan is the last child assigned for us to cover, and she was honestly a joy to learn about.


Time out: 6:00 PM

Number of hours: Nine


Satisfying Gladness

Time in: 8:30 AM


I arrived at Robinsons Fuente this morning just before 8 AM to meet up with Phoebe so we could go to the community center together. Our team’s assembly time was 8:30 AM, so we would have enough time to arrive by then.

Except Phoebe and I departed from Fuente Osmeña just before half past eight, so that we got to the center in Sambag Dos a little before 9 AM. When we got there, we saw a few little boys standing around by the gate, peeking inside before taking note of our arrival and greeting us. One of them we’d already met before, but the others we just met. They all still took to us quite comfortably all the same. Upon seeing them idling by outside the center, we asked them what they were doing there. They replied by telling us they were waiting to get inside. We asked, “Why? What’s inside?” They responded, “There’s going to be a party.” (In Bisaya, of course.)

Phoebe and I looked at each other. It seems news of our little gathering had gotten around. What’s more, they took it to be a party. Phoebe asked them, “What’s going to be in the party?” “Manghatag og pagkaon,” they answered. (“They’re going to give out food.”) Talk about expectations.

We found when we went inside that we were the only ones to have arrived, and it was well past 8:30 by then. We greeted everyone, including Ms. Adi, whom during our welcome told us she was first informed by Ms. Shane that our call time was 7:30. This was not true in the slightest, and Ms. Adi told us she was relieved we were coming by 8 AM. So was I, even if there was no plan at all in the first place to meet at 7:30.

I waited with Phoebe for the others, who only started arriving at around 9 AM. When there were several of us already present, we started setting up the TV screen and sound system to be used during the program. It was supposed to start at 10 AM, but with a little delay in establishing a connection to the Internet for the video-viewing (most of the videos in the flash drive I brought refused to play). We were only late for several minutes or so, but when we were ready we began the event immediately, officially commencing at nearly 10:30.

We started with a few icebreakers, led by Ate Khyz, and an introductory session, where we introduced ourselves to the children and the kids to us. Twenty children were in attendance, as we requested to invite. Ate Janille hosted the program with Ate Khyz, and it soon came to the video showing. We had five videos to show from the folder I put together on our online drive. After every video, we conducted a little quiz to stimulate the kids’ learning. For each child who correctly answered, we gave them a corresponding prize as well.

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It was around this time that the rest of our team arrived — those who were in charge of the food. They came in the middle of the video viewing. After we showed them the educational clips, we had a few more energizers before we had lunch. For this, we had the kids line up to get their packed lunches and drinks. They all dug in gleefully.

We interns had our lunch break, too. We invited Ms. Adi and the other workers in the center to join, as we had enough food for everyone.

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Lunch break included a short time for rest, but not that the kids needed it. They were so energetic that after they finished and I assisted them in cleaning after the mess some of them left, some of the girls demonstrated gymnastics techniques they knew. It wasn’t anything complex, but they did a straight split, a hand stand (which I prefer to call a headstand for them, they practically stood upside down; it was dangerous), a cartwheel, and something close to a back walkover. Erika, whom you may remember from our first visit there, threatened to do a back flip even, which I flatly prohibited her to do.

Soon the program resumed from the luncheon break, and the next part began, which was the games. The kids played Bring Me, Statue Dance, Musical Chairs, and some more, in which they won prizes too. There was also a dance number from a group of the girls, which we didn’t expect, and a karaoke session for the children. In this, we had fun together with them, singing along, cheering them on, and applauding their performances. The games brought their own fun too, and allowed the children to socialize more with each other, especially with the age gap between some of them; to learn and enjoy themselves at the same time.

Karaoke with their requested favorite songs.

kids musical chairs

Musical chairs was a highlight in the afternoon activities.

After the games we gave them snacks – some sandwiches and jelly. It was around this time that the rain that came during the karaoke singing session returned. Still, we all enjoyed our snacks and talked to the kids about how the event has been for them. They definitely learned something, which they affirmed when I asked them. At first I thought that twenty was quite a good number to host, but when they were all gathered I realized I forgot how small many of them were, and we honestly could have taken maybe some ten more in. Still, the amount of them that came was significant enough, especially since we were seeing them all probably for the last time in a long time too.

The rain didn’t stop for a long time, so that all the kids decided to play in it. A lot us interns were jealous – when was the last time we purposely enjoyed ourselves in the rain after all? But we didn’t have the time or liberty for it – while the children had fun in the rain, we tidied the place and returned some furniture to their original places. We gave out the extra food we had left, and then watched the kids run around and even dance in the pouring rain.

Then one by one, they left. And so did we. We thanked everyone in the center, and said goodbye to the children – they probably didn’t know it would be our last visit in a long time. We left in two groups, and just around 3 PM, the end time for the program.

In many ways, I’m glad we held the event we did today. For probably the last time, I got to see some faces whose lives I was lucky to have learned the stories behind. I saw the the two girls whose story was the first we covered, and I even met Dona for the first time, a meeting which was long overdue. She wasn’t anything we expected – I personally had an impression from the stories her grandmother shared that she was somehow reserved, wasn’t good at asserting herself, and maybe a little quiet. But she wasn’t at all – she was sociable, attentive, and polite. She managed to win at least two prizes from the games, which says she knows well how to assert herself, and she was the best dressed in our group in attendance today – she wore a lovely pink dress that I would bet she usually wears for Sundays, and she walked and talked in it with a kind of dignity that wasn’t pompous but also not what you’re used to come from a child.

I’m glad to have seen they were doing fine, at least in the best way they could, and we’re looking well. Even in the little games we organized for them, the girls we knew about showed promising ability with an active disposition to participate and contribute. They could go far if supported well and right, as with the rest of the kids, and like all kids really.

We left the community center with the rain still pouring, and we were all quite exhausted, but the rain dampened not a single hope I have for those kids.


Time out: 3:15 PM

Number of hours: 6 hours and 45 minutes


Halfway Planning

Time in: 8:30 AM


Today was originally fieldwork day in Mabolo. My group’s plan was to meet up at around 11 AM to noon and head up to Mabolo Elementary School and ask about our girl, who was named Megan, and possibly meet her. I woke up quite early, and when we’d conversed through our group chat about the plan, I started to work on other tasks while waiting for 11 AM.

I continued my search for more informational videos on junk food and healthy eating for tomorrow’s event. I download some more of them, jotted down a few possible questions, and uploaded them onto a folder I created for the program on Google Drive.

While waiting for the videos to finish copying in the folder, I took the liberty of starting a write-up on Michelle. Our footage of their interview was practically unusable without its audio, so a feature article was the best thing to go on with if we intend to put out Michelle’s story, which we do.

I focused my attention alternately between writing the draft and looking for any more videos to show on Saturday. When it was past eleven, Phoebe and Grace informed me that they were on their way, so I prepared to head out too. With this, I was unable to finish the draft I just started on, but I managed to upload the rest of the junk food videos.

We met up at Mabolo Elementary School just a little bit after twelve. When I arrived, Grace had already gone for the principal’s office, so I waited by the entrance gate with Phoebe. Grace returned not a long while later, telling us the school couldn’t provide us with the information we needed immediately, with thousands of student profiles in store, and only her name as our own identification of her. Moreover, the school lacked a computer system that stored all possible data of its students, which was hardly efficient.

We ended up leaving the school with no interview or no meeting with Megan achieved. It was a disappointment, with Grace having bothered to bring her DSLR camera, plus the fact that Ms. Shane only provided us with the children’s names – no age, no addresses, not even their grade level, something that should have come up with us having to visit their school and all.

Nonetheless, we still had somewhere to go after the school. We had a prearranged meeting with Ate Niza and Ate Jude at the SM City Cebu mall – for collection of our money contributions, and confirmation of a few details about the preparations. They were in the mall’s food court, and we successfully met up and exchanged what needed to be. They both left soon after meeting with us.

We took a lunch break at the food court, but mostly for Phoebe, since I already had lunch before I went out. After that we went inside Krispy Kreme, and sat ourselves at a table to continue editing a video.

This one was of Ashley’s – a main highlight from our Inayawan trip. The sequence was over five minutes long when I took over the editing, so I trimmed some parts of it after some playbacks. I also worked on the video’s subtitles, of course. This time, though, they weren’t the only text I had to create and work into the short documentary; we also needed to incoporate a text narrative to put the video together. So with composing a documentary text, making subtitles, and applying some modifications to the sequence as I worked along, my afternoon was full and busy with post-production editing.

I achieved the task, but only a little over halfway by the time it was half past five. By then, I let the other two check the editing work I did ad go over the project so far. While doing this, they suddenly had to leave for UP to claim the MOA we left to the legal office for notarization. I was about to go as well, so we went out the donut shop together.

I can’t say today went accordingly, because it didn’t, and I’m still disappointed. But the progress I acquired today wasn’t disappointing, so that’s good. We’ll see if tomorrow will be too.


Time out: 5:30 PM

Number of hours: Nine


Still Moving Forward

Time in: 7:40 AM

A busy day starts early, and I was definitely early today. When I arrived, it was still only Ate Khyz who had come in. I spent my time waiting for my group to arrive calculating the hours I’ve achieved so far, and it wasn’t long after that Phoebe and Grace came in at the office.

We began work on our videos, and for today we focused on Marissa’s. We had originally planned to incorporate her and Michelle’s accounts into one documentary, but when we transferred Michelle’s footage and played them, we discovered there was no audio at all in the all the clips. I had audio recordings from the filming, but unless we sync them together by reading the interviewees’ lips to realize what they’re saying and match them with the recordings, it wasn’t enough to go on with a feature of Michelle. I found this extremely disappointing, as Michelle’s story deserved the attention to be told through a short documentary, and we filmed the mother and daughter at the last minute, but still with great enthusiasm from them. We focused on Marissa today, so we haven’t completely resorted to abandoning the production of Michelle’s video, and whether we should do an article on her instead. We’d already submitted the documentary on James, so it was important we finalize the one of Marissa for submission to and evaluation by Ms. Shane today.

During the morning, I was busy with doing subtitle work once more – translating, creating titles, and positioning them onto the sequence. I finished them just before noon, but while Grace was reviewing the saved project, she accidentally knocked a bottle of water on the table we were working on, and the spill touched Phoebe’s laptop. It didn’t get very wet, but when we tried to go back to the video, the computer acted up by powering off all of a sudden and restarting itself over and over. The two – Phoebe and Grace – immediately went out to get the device checked at a computer repair store just after lunch break.

I didn’t go with them, so I spent the rest of the day at the office as I shifted my attention from the video to the program we’re having two days from now. I had to start gathering several videos we could use to show the kids as part of the program, so that’s what I did. For the rest of my time at work, I scouted the Internet for fun educational videos about junk food.

Meanwhile, those of us left asked Ms. Shane whether we could meet the kids from Mabolo tomorrow. She arranged a few things with Ms. Aida, then told us we could go directly to their schools, since it’s a schoolday, and perhaps visit them before their morning ceremony begins, or during a break. Anyhow, we’d have to inform their principal before we make any move of the sort, or anything similar that may in some way disrupt the children’s classes.

All of us interns also held a small conference about the details for Saturday. We discussed expenses, the program’s flow, start and end time, assembly time, and other things like where to get the proper utensils and kitchenware to avoid buying styrofoam lunch packs and plastic utensils.

Overall, quite a busy day, with a little bit of confusion, anxiety, and pressure. But forward we still move.


Time out: 5:25 PM

Number of hours: 9 hours and 45 minutes


Keeping the Hustle

Time in: 7:50 AM

I was earliest when I came in at the office today. Technically, today was our day off, but we had a lot of work to do, so I went in. But I found out my group would be working on the rest of our videos outside of the office.

Before leaving, however, I had to wait for Ms. Shane to arrive for a favor requested by Ate Khyz. But by the time it was half past nine, Ms. Shane hadn’t come yet, so I went on my way.

My group had agreed to meet on the UP grounds, so I headed to the library and found Phoebe and Grace working on the video of James. It was the one whose subtitles I hadn’t completed yet. I waited for Grace to finish polishing and going through the editing. It wasn’t long until I had to take over the editing process and provide the rest of the subtitles for the video.

When I completed the subtitles, I finalized the video by editing the foundation’s logo and attaching it onto the film as a watermark. It was an experiment I initiated at first, as it wasn’t totally necessary since we already present the foundation at the end of each video, but we ended up going with the watermark too. It took me a while as well, with my non-existent Photoshop skills and some help from a mutual friend who was a fine arts major.

Basically, I spent all, or most, of today on our second video. We’d already started progress on the rest, but I haven’t had a direct hand yet in the editing. Despite being a day off, today was like the average workday (except for the part where it was outside the office).

On the other hand, I also contacted Ms. Shane today for a possible agreement allowing us to head over to our last location tomorrow. She hasn’t replied even as I am writing right now, so my group isn’t quite set for tomorrow’s schedule yet. But we’re definitely in a time crunch. What with two (or three) videos to produce, approval on our last write-ups, our MOA’s being processed, and the library event on Saturday.

Technically, we all have five days until our internship period ends. However, each of us has worked differently on our progress, despite having been divided into groups. There are probably some of us who may achieve their required number of hours this week, and some might have to extend past the 19th. But who knows. I just hope it’s a good final event for all of us on Saturday, especially the kids.

Got to keep hustling!


Time out: 5:20 PM

Number of hours: 9 hours and 30 minutes