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From the Field

Improving the wellness of 29 Barangays

Pastrana Rural Health Unit is a government run health clinic staffed by one doctor, Dr. Rolando Sulla, one dentist, Dr. Irma Lerios, and ­­­­11 nurses. Pastrana RHU caters to 29 Barangays in the area with a population total of over 17,000 people.

The 11 nurses, along with volunteer Karen, who ensure Pastrana RHU gives the best possible care to the residents of 29 Barangays

Pastrana RHU is able to provide services due to the support of the Department of Health, as well as the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The DSWD offers local families incentives to visit the clinic, such as receiving money for bringing their children to Pastrana RHU for their monthly check ups and necessary immunizations. However, the services provided are free to all and do not require health insurance.

A few of the services Pastrana RHU is able to offer include consultations, maternal and child health care, immunizations, and laboratory examinations. In a typical day at the clinic, it’s common to have consultations with patients who have fevers, coughs and colds, infections, as well as those seeking treatment for Tuberculosis. For anything requiring hospitalization, PRHU is able to transfer patients with the use of their ambulance, though it’s stretcher was lost among the chaos of Typhoon Yolanda.

Volunteer for the Visayans provides a constant stream of volunteers to the clinic, often times those with nursing experience, or science degrees such as psychology or behavioral science. These volunteers, much like Karen from England who has been working at Pastrana RHU for 7 weeks, work side by side with the local staff to provide health care for the impoverished.

Karen, volunteer from England, enjoys the company of a 2 month old patient

Karen described, “all of the nurses here work very hard with the little resources they have and I’d like to give them the recognition they deserve. The clinic wouldn’t run without them. The entire staff has made me feel very welcomed during my time here. I thoroughly enjoyed this program and I hope we’ve learned from each other. Volunteering for VFV has inspired me to continue aid work in developing countries.”

Pastrana Rural Health Unit was recognized this past month by the Department of Health along with the Governor of Leyte, Leopoldo Dominic Petilla, for providing “outstanding Measles-Rubella coverage during the MR-OPV Mass Immunization for 9-59 month old children.”

Francis, a nurse at the clinic, explains, “This award signifies that 95-100% of children in the community received their vaccinations. Out of 44 towns, the Pastrana RHU ranked number 7.” This is an accomplishment the entire staff surely should be proud of.

Would you like to experience the fulfillment of providing aid to a country in need? Click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities with VFV!

*Written by Courtney Cunningham, media intern from the US


Posted in Child Welfare, Medical Clinic Volunteers, News, Public Health, Public Health Volunteers, Uncategorized, Volunteer Abroad in the Philippines, Volunteer Program | Leave a comment

Building the foundation for a brighter future

Situated in Mohon, a Barangay located in the municipality of Tanuan, Carl Dominic and his family’s newly constructed home stands tall and proud just steps away from their previous house.

The Doyola's new home (left) in contrast to their current home, which suffered damages from Typhoon Yolanda

Carl, a Volunteer for the Visayans sponsored child, lives with his Uncle Egardo, his aunt, and their two daughters.

The Doyola’s new place is part of over 90 houses built by VFV since the Build-A-Home project began in 2005. It is the second residence constructed in Mohon since Typhoon Yolanda devastated the village last year.

Supplies and paid wages have been provided by VFV to Egardo and his crew during the one-month period it has taken them to build the house.

It is important, VFV staff member Maila points out, that one person from the family help with the construction. Since Egardo is being paid for his work, he does not have worry about finding employment elsewhere. The benefit of this is a two-fold; Egardo is able to provide his family with a steady income as well as a beautiful new home.

The construction of this house affords the Doyola family with the foundation for a solid future. One that looks very bright for Carl Dominic, who attends the Tanuan School of Craftsmanship and Home Industries.

Carl Dominic stands contently in his newly constructed house

Carl shows a great deal of academic potential, especially for being only 11 years old. “He complains about being ranked number 4 in school”, his uncle says, “but he does very well, particularly in math.”

The efforts of VFV have not gone unnoticed as Egardo credits the work done by Maila, who he acknowledges as being fundamental throughout the project. He adds, “she is a small woman with a very big heart.”

The Doyolas will move into their new home this week, once the finishing touches are complete.

Just over three thousand US dollars is enough to build a home with VFV. If you’d like to donate to this ongoing effort, click here!

*Written by Courtney Cunningham, media intern from the United States



Posted in Build-A-Home, Child Sponsorship, Donate, News, Volunteer Abroad in the Philippines, Volunteer Program | Leave a comment


The overview of this project , is seen as a climate change mitigation strategy that seeks to enhance the country’s forest stock to absorb carbon dioxide, which is largely blamed for global warming.

Its history, goes back after Typhoon “Yolanda”(Haiyan), considered one of the most powerful typhoons to have made landfall in recorded history,devastated Tacloban and the nearby towns of Palo,Tanauan,Tolosa and Dulag due to strong winds and storm surges.

The coastal zones in these municipalities are densely populated and with high density built up areas and dwelling of impoverished and marginalized sector. Rapid Geo-reference assessment conducted by the Forest Management Bureau and B+WISER in city of Tacloban and Palo, Leyte revealed that 80% of the damage and casualties occurred in coastal areas.

College Scholar "Gerald Jamlang"

Absence of effective natural greenbelt barriers makes the coastal zones vulnerable to devastations brought about by storm surges. Trees along the beach areas serve as buffer and protection against strong winds and storm surges.

Beach tree species act as carbon sinks and reduce organic pollution in shoreline areas by trapping, filtration, or absorption. They also serve as home to migratory birds and other wildlife and provide a     valuable source of food for animals.

It is in this context that the Leyte gulf mangrove and beach forests rehabilitation project was implemented.

The beach area in Brgy. Baras, Palo Leyte is assigned to Volunteer for the Visayans as its Adopted Beach Forest. It will be reforested with Talisay and Bani species to replace the trees destroyed during Typhoon Haiyan.

This project is coordinated with the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources VIII-CENRO Palo, Leyte. This initiative aims to conserve our natural environment. The forest will serve as physical barrier against waves, storm surges, tidal currents, and typhoons to protect coastal areas and communities.

Last November 15, 2014, Volunteer for the Visayans, with its staff, some college scholars, and members of the boys and girls club participated in its first Tree-Planting activity in Brgy. Baras, Palo, Leyte. A total of 500 seedlings were planted. VFV is tasked to plant 4000 seedlings in this specific site. So, there are 3500 more seedlings to be planted in the coming month!

To learn more about volunteering please click the following:

Written by: Aleth Young, Volunteer Program Coordinator

Posted in Environmental Project | Leave a comment
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