Last October, Woods and Books linked up with volunteer organizations that don’t let mountains get in their way.
For delivery of our latest book donations, we partnered with the Iloilo Mountaineering Club (IMC), headed by Jun Ramirez. Launched in May 2013, Education for Every Juan, is an IMC campaign to bring books and other resource materials to upland communities. For their October trek, IMC mountaineers were joined by other volunteers from other mountaineering clubs in Iloilo City, namely: The University of the Philippines in the Visayas Mountaineering Club, The University of San Agustin Mountaineering Club, and the Central Philippine University Mountaineering Club.
These Woods and Books donations came from three sources: a Singapore-based non-profit, Espesyal Pinoy; River Oaks Charter School in Stockton, CA, USA; and students of the California Montessori Project, Orangevale, CA, USA, in response to 4th Grader Jasmine Smith’s activist project. (See related stories, “The Special Kindness of Strangers” and “Think Big, Start Small.”)
The mountaineers delivered books and supplies to two schools: Lumboyan Elementary School and Mayabay Primary School in the town of Barbaza. To reach Barangay (barrio) Lumboyan where these schools are located, they had to trek three hours from the town proper.
For this community outreach trek, the mountaineers also distributed hygiene kits (toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste) to students.
The Iloilo Mountaineering Club not only plans and organizes climbs and caving expeditions, its members also host and attend mountaineering courses and safety/first-aid training workshops, as well as join relief and rescue operations.
Forty-five years ago, IMC began with a small group of mountaineering enthusiasts led by Victor Pison. The group began as a small, close-knit circle of Ilonggo businessmen and women, as well as young professionals, and has since grown into a non-government organization whose members often serve as mentors to mountaineering clubs of students from different universities in Iloilo City.
Thank you, generous book donors! And thank you, Ilonggo mountaineers, for letting Woods and Books join you in your trek up Mt. Nangtud. We hope to join you in future treks in your campaign to bring books to children who need them!