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Thank you Cebu Pacific!

Thank you so much, Cebu Pacific, both from me and from our GiveBack GiveAway foundation. If you guys follow me or the GiveBack GiveAway on Instagram, you’ll know we recently ran a charity project and 2-week tour around the Philippines, both in the islands of Luzon and Palawan. We love the GBGA, and although it takes up 24 hours of stress each day, it’s the most worthwhile thing I’ve ever been part of. That said, the funding for each project is nothing but a huge stress. The reason we don’t make a fortune like other voluntourism companies is that we truly focus on the charity project, not on the profit margin. Where others may ‘volunteer’ for a day here or there and pretend to save the world while counting their cash, we identify a community 6 months in advance, liaise directly with their elders, and discuss a project where the locals are engaged and invested in its construction, maintenance, and choosing.

Great? Right. Well yeah, but it costs $10k each time we do it! So we need help. And lots of it. Firstly we need help from you guys, donating to the cause and entering yourself to win a free trip (you can win a free trip to Nepal, Bali or Jordan by donating as little as $10 here) but we also need help from brands, hotels, and transport companies. 99.9% of the time they say no. We rarely even get an email back. That can’t be said for the team over at Cebu Pacific though. We knew there was a reason why everyone loves Filipinos so much!

One email was all it took to get the ball rolling, they asked us what we needed. Initially, either Josh or I had to fly into the project and see if everything was going ok. Then both of us would need to fly in to take the volunteer to the project, and oversee the trip. But Cebu Pacific didn’t stop there. When we told them we’d be heading off to Palawan to celebrate the project completion, they also provided flights for our whole team to Palawan, and then back to Luzon for their return flights home. Never have we had so much generosity, helping add funds to the project, remove stress from the logistics and ensure our GBGA Philippines trip was one of the best ever!

 

Our Philippine’s Project:

So what about the project? Through a friend blogger friends (thanks Jerny and Kris!) we had heard about a hugely worthwhile project on the outskirts of Subic, 3 hours or so west of Manila. Here, Sister Mary had been working with the Ita, a tribe indigenous to the Philippines, and referred to locally as mountain people. Sister Mary dedicated herself to the Ita for decades, starting off with a wooden shack and a desire to teach them how to speak Tagalog, the Filipino mother tongue, as they could only speak their tribal language. This would allow them to seek employment and ultimately attend their education etc. After achieving this, she battled on for years, only allowing the kids to learn on the basis that their parents attend to! Eventually, Tagalog was widely spoken. Next? English. And so Sister Mary began again. After decades, sponsors began to acknowledge her huge sacrifice and effort. People donated classrooms, sporting goods and before long a school and dormitory were in full flow.

The before shot of the Home Economics Building
Work is starting on the Home Economics Building
The work is almost done on the new building

They wanted to take the project to the next level, and that’s where the GiveBack GiveAway came in, with the help of Cebu Pacific. Some of Sister Mary’s community had now garnered work as carpenters, plumbers, even teachers, a huge advance to where the community was just one generation ago. But ambition led Sister Mary further still, so we agreed to help them build a Home Economics Centre. Essentially a double classroom, along with a hotel room and kitchen, allowing the Ita community to further their education beyond languages, and allow them to study the world of hospitality, with a view to working within the Philippine’s booming tourism sector. And so we did it. Months of planning and hard work, we’re just a few finishing touches away from completion!

Cebu Pacific and the Philippines:

Cebu Pacific is the Philippine’s largest low-cost airline, which means cheap fares and a 7kg baggage allowance, everything beyond that, such as checked luggage or food need to be either pre-purchased or paid on the flight. If you include those perks during your online booking you’ll be saving a lot of cash. They fly almost EVERYWHERE across the Philippines but also across South East Asia, and if you sign up to their site, you’ll get some crazy cheap deals ($150USD from Manila to Sydney for example!).

And is it safe to fly with Cebu? VERY! They recently got approval to fly into the USA which has very strict safety standards for foreign airlines

One last issue though – Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport is Cebu’s main hub and it can literally get very hectic at the check-in counters. Therefore, I recommend leaving for the airport well ahead of your actual departure time to avoid long waiting times or even a missed flight. If you only travel with cabin luggage, print your boarding pass at one of those provided self-check in computers

Our Flight Experience with Cebu Pacific:

Our experience with Cebu was always pleasant. The Crew is friendly, the airplanes are new, up to international standards, and most importantly, their fares are super cheap. I once flew from Sydney to Manila for just a 120 Australian dollars. You certainly can’t beat that. I’d say the product is pretty much the same in comparison with Air Asia but definitely more enjoyable than Ryanair. Cebu Pacific, also formerly known as Cebu Air, is the most flown airline in the Philippines, carrying more passengers from A to B than the National Flag Carrier — Philippine Airlines.

So finally just a huge, huge thanks for all the help Cebu, we’ll be back soon, and we’ll be flying there with you, direct from our home in Bangkok, Thailand!

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