20 June 2011

Around Cebu + Bohol and Back

Turismo Rural Foundation (TRF), a non-profit organization, together with PUM Netherlands Senior Expert and Bluewater Resorts Hospitality Management Services Corporation gives back to the community through Free Skills Training for manicure/ pedicure and hair cutting. Through this program, women can put up their own business and become independent--more like female empowerment. Men are also welcome to join but the training is mostly attended by the ladies.

With the help of Amuma Spa, they have arranged a road trip for PUM Netherlands Senior Expert Janny Berends (can be pronounced as "Jah-nee" but I got stuck calling her "Yah-nee"), Ate Amy (of Amuma Spa) and yours truly. So we're off to travel four different places every week for the whole month of June.

Our first week started off with a visit to ABS-CBN station for Leo Lastimosa's DYAB morning radio show Arangkada. Janny and I had a brief interview on air with Leo. We talked about the program and inviting more participants to join the training. According to my mom, I laughed a lot on air--which I usually do whenever I ran out of things to say. 

June 4, 2011
Oslob, Cebu

First stop is Oslob, Cebu. At the last minute, Ate Amy and I changed the venue of the training. I spoke with the Mayor and asked him if we can use the Social Hall instead of the Basketball Court because it's more conducive for learning. He was kind enough to grant my last minute wish. Kudos to Mayor Guaren!

I was excited for the Oslob training because last year, five friends put up their own business, using their knowledge and skills they learned from Janny's training. Their company is called Da Vinci Massage Therapy Center. I call them Da Vinci's Ladies. They specialize on massage and recently they've expanded to mani-pedi services.

Since this is not the first time Janny visited Oslob for training, she got a lot of fans club going up to her. She hugged, laughed and talked to every one of her old trainees. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that these women are thirsty for knowledge. They have the willingness to learn with the patience of a saint. 

Bluewater Sumilon's Resort Operations Supervisor Nikki Gutierrez gives his full support to PUM Senior Expert Janny Berends and Oslob Mayor Ronald Guaren for Turismo Rural Foundation's Free Skills Training.

Janny Berends-Beeuwkes giving an introduction to her training.

Oslob Mayor Ronald Guaren warmly welcomes the participants to the training

Orlene Lou Castigador with Evangeline Gregorio, two of the Da Vinci Massage owners talked about their challenges in putting up their own massage center

Janny Berends (Far left) awards (L to R) Meluna Dalumpines, Orlene Lou Castigador and Evangeline Gregorio of the Da Vinci Massage Therapy Center as PUM Netherlands Senior Experts Entrepreneur for the Year 2011. 

June 10, 2011
Mactan, Cebu

Second stop is Mactan. First off, we started the training under the sun. Like literally under the sun. The venue was not conducive for learning, so we spoke to the owner of the place and my--ahem--charming ways worked. We've got the covered court all to ourselves for four days for the training. My realization: if you're doing something good for the mankind (i.e. outreach program), favors are easily granted.

Janny demonstrates how to cut with style.

Participants paired off to style the hair of their partners

June 17, 2011
Sogod, Cebu

According to Ate Amy and Janny that this is the first time TRF heads to north. I'm more of a traveler of southern Cebu but when I saw the waves that skimmed the rocky shores of northern Cebu plus hillsides that rival from that of Bohol's famous tourist spot left me awestruck. Northern Cebu is also a beauty. When I go to a new place, I usually admire the environment setting and structures. In terms of architectural designs, Southern Cebu's are heavy on the Spanish side while Northern Cebu leans toward American period.

This time, there's no problem on the venue, we were glad that we're getting one of Sogod's classroom in the public school. The people in the government were very supportive. The Mayor offered one of her houses for us to stay and a Sangguniang Bayan representative checked on us on our first day of training to welcome Janny.

I also found out from Ate Amy that during their market shopping, there was once a kid in Sogod who pointed to Janny and exclaimed that s/he saw her on the newspaper. Gee, the power of press release. Thank you media friends!

Sogod's SB Member Hon. Gamaliel Lumampas beams at the camera with Janny Berends

While waiting for the training to start, Janny's portfolio were passed around to keep the participants entertained.

June 23, 2011
Panglao, Bohol

Last stop for our TRF trip is Panglao. It's kinda sad the outreach program is coming to an end. I'm gonna miss the long road trips and lugging around my huge weekender bag. I'm also gonna miss the excitement of reading the papers first thing in the morning in the office to check if my photo release went out. But one thing's for sure, I'm not missing the muscle pains I've been encountering from all the carrying-around-the-bag moments.

For the final leg of the trip, we stayed at our newly-opened Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort in Panglao. The zen-ish feel and serenity relaxes my mind and body. I get easily exhausted when I travel. I'm tempted to hit the pillows the moment I stepped into one of Bluewater Panglao's Premier Deluxe Room. I can truly say that Bluewater Panglao is "a luxurious escape that honors Bohol's natural beauty." 

Aside from its beautiful rooms, the food is superb. No words can describe it. Some parts of the resort is still under construction but that doesn't stop Bluewater Panglao's hospitality to the guests. The resort opened last May 1st and I'm looking forward for its Grand Opening by the end of July. Chances are I'll be singing "Balik Sa Bohol" in no time. 

As the novelty song goes: "Sa imong kasing-kasing/ Ang Bohol kanunay'ng gibitik/ Balik sa Bohol!"

Bohol's hospitality and beauty captures every traveler's heart. Just like Janny's trainees in Panglao. She captures every Boholana's attention when she shared the proper nail trimming and scientific background of the skin. 

Janny does what she does best: training

Participants grabbed the opportunity to get their photo taken with their charming Panglao Mayor Benedicto Alcala and the PUM Netherlands Senior Expert Janny Berends

Standing outside the Panglao Cultural Center facade are (L to R) Bluewater Panglao HR Associate John Lowie "J.Lo" Sumaylo, PUM Netherlands Senior Expert Janny Berends and Panglao Mayor Benedicto "Dodong" Alcala

Traveling on the road and boat with the same people in one month made me realize a lot of things--on professionalism and life's lessons in general. One of life's lessons include bringing of bottled water in every trip.

I learned a lot from Janny, aside from the actual measurement of the size of the human skin, there are a things you'll gain knowledge from her travel experiences and training adventures in Europe and Africa. Based on her stories, I realized that I should quit complaining about my life and learn to live with it. There are a lot of people suffering in some parts of the world and all I could think about is how to catch the earliest bus trip or boat schedule. I was like "I am lucky". We all are lucky. That's why we have Turismo Rural Foundation's Free Skills Training to give something back to the community, to share the knowledge that we have and help other people develop their skills. 

I heard there are some trainees determined to start their own cosmetology biz. Hopefully, there are more Da Vinci's Ladies this year. Janny's training doesn't end during her trips. It extends through emails and Facebook messages, thus, giving it a personal touch. She doesn't only share her knowledge in cosmetology but also gives advice on commerce. I can see that her heart is in the right place: helping people. I'm glad I was part of this project because we were able to change lives, one training at a time.

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