This is how we spent our Christmas 2017. December 25, we rushed to the airport to catch the first flight to Zamboanga at 4 AM. We arrived in Zamboanga International Airport past 6 AM and we proceeded to the port to ride a fast craft going to Isabela. We weren’t able to get some sleep so we took a nap while traveling.

When we arrived in Isabela we were welcomed by the team of Capt. Winston Lapiguera of 4th Special Forces Riverine SFR(A) SOCOM, PA. Before going to Lamitan, Basilan, we had a courtesy meeting with Phil Army 4SFB Commander LTC Andrew Bacala. After the meeting and photo ops with Commander Andrew, we proceeded to the camp of Capt. Winston in Lamitan, Basilan. After eating lunch, we decided to go to the market and buy everything that we need for the following day’s event. We bought 20 kilos ground beef, 500 halal sausages, 500 apples, 500 cupcakes, 12 kilos gabi(root crop), 15 kilos ampalaya, 5 kg bottled Oyster sauce, 10 canned green peas, 5 kgs raisin, 2 kgs bellpepper, onions, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, oil, corn starch, 500 reusable food containers and 500 sforks. After that, we took some rest for about 3-4 hours. When we woke up, we immediately gathered in the kitchen to prepare the ingredients for the meal that we are going to cook. Ate dinner, had some conversation and we called it a night.

Dec. 26 We woke up at 4am to cook the food and repack it with the help of Capt. Winston’s team. We were able to finish everything past 6 am then we proceeded at the port to ride a speedboat going to Sibago Island. We were grateful that the sea was calm and we felt so blessed that God gave us shade while we were on our way. At 8 AM we arrived at Sibago Island, where hundreds of children were waiting and gave us all a very warm welcome. All the children gave honouring gesture (Pagmamano) to Sir Arpie and Mama Doc. Arlyn Jawad Jumao-as. We started the program by 9 AM. Sir Arpie had a story telling session with the children and we saw how attentive they are to understand and grasp the moral lesson of the story. We started distributing the meal for the children and we instructed them to proceed to the grassy area to eat their meal. After eating, we distributed school supplies, tooth brush, toys, slippers etc. We wanted to teach the community to love, value and take care of their island so we grouped the children by two, handed them a garbage bag and instructed them to fill the bag with all the plastics and trash that they can see around. The children were very eager to fill the garbage bags as fast as they can. After a few minutes, they were able to fill more or less 30 garbage bags.

The community also prepared sumptuous lunch for every one of us. After eating, the kids showcased their talents by dancing “Baby Shark”. The parents of the children were also handed a “Bag of Hope” from Feed Hungry Minds.

After the program, we saw how grateful and happy the children and their parents for all the blessings that they have received. We finished our mission around 11 AM and went back to Lamitan, Basilan.

Our Christmas mission was a success and we would like to thank all the sponsors/donors, prayer warriors, volunteers, team of Capt. Winston, CAFGU, everyone who participated and who had been looking forward to the success of our mission in Basilan. Thank you all for making this mission safe and possible. May God bless each and every one of you!