'Hugpong', united volunteers of the Philippines

The Masskara Festival, held every October in Bacolod City, was the opportunity this year to gather volunteers organizations from Bacolod City and the whole provinces of Negros Occidental and Oriental, to organize a collective communication campaign during this nationwide famous festival. The following organizations decided to join the project: Ikaw-Ako (Japan), Peace Corps Volunteers (United States), AYAD (Australia), OISCA (Japan), JICA (Japan), Warriors for Peace (Philippines), Greenheart Hermitage (Philippines), LEAD Volunteer (Philippines), Virlanie Foundation (Philippines/France) and HOST-NGO (France). Thanks to the support of LEAD Volunteer, the newly formed group, named Hugpong (meaning unity and gathering in local dialect), was authorized to set-up a booth on two of the main event locations.

The first gathering of Hugpong was held on Friday, 12th of October, by a bunch of volunteers wearing common shirts and badges to emphasize on their unity. The strategy of this first location was to show various products and items generated by the organizations via livelihood programs: kamote chips, wallet and bags made of recycled plastic, silk purses, organic coffee, macrame bracelets and belts made by the kids at the SDC, etc. A collection of clothing was also organized to especially benefit the street children passing through the SDC. The volunteers presented their activities and projects via a slideshow presentation and numerous chats with the interested visitors. The afternoon was followed by the festive night events happening all over the city, yet another opportunity to meet the locals.

Upon that first successful meeting, Hugpong gathered for the last and most important week-end of the festival on Lacson street, where the booth was set-up for two nights. The street parade, 'Electric Masskara', organized by the gallery Orange, was one of the vibrant highlights. The crowd was intense and everyone was responding well to the music and street dancing. Hugpong had a few special visitors that week-end: a journalist and a cameraman from GMA Network, a local TV channel, who interviewed the group members. In addition, Hugpong appeared on a morning program of another local TV channel, ABS-CBN. The communication campaign was really successful!

As a good conclusion to this busy and relevant event, a member of Green Hermitage proposed to every Hugpong member to display their products and items in the gallery-coffee shop, Ikon-Café, located downtown. All non-profit organizations were very greatful of this opportunity to generate additional incomes to sustain their activity in the Philippines.

Hugpong project was born:
because we all wish to be actively involved into community life;
because we all believe that building a fair and united world is possible;
because our diversity makes us stronger;
and because unity is the key to sustainability.

Hugpong's objectives are to raise awareness among all members of the society on the collective approach and promote volunteering in Bacolod City and all over the Philippines. You'll always be welcomed to join our action!