“It’s more fun in the Philippines.”
This is the newest slogan of the country’s tourism campaign. But a foreigner has seen more than fun in the Philippines, but also hope and giving. So for Jeremy Smith, the Filipino nation is a face of happiness and optimism, that despite all the difficulties and lack, there are always reasons to celebrate life.
Jeremy Smith is a 22-year old guy from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Back in 2010, he sold his construction business and then purchased a ticket to Singapore. In 2011, he came to the Philippines on vacation and instantly fell in love with the people.
In his bus ride to Masbate, he saw kids carrying what he thought were gas cans, only to find out that they were really delivering water. That scene touched him and he witnessed the same thing in Tacloban a week later.
This triggered him to relocate to General Santos City and established the Hope Flows International. The group’s mission is concentrated in Mindanao, specifically in the Sarangani area, which constitutes some of the poorest area in the country and which needs the most development. They work with local teachers, superintendent, and local water experts to survey at every location and determine the most efficient way to bring water to school. Their most recent project in Nomoh, Saranggani province cost about Php 16,500 and benefited 732 kids. The organization is currently run by volunteers who believe in the mission and want to see it expand.
To read more about Hope Flows International, visit their site here. For their Facebook fanpage, click here.
Jeremy Smith also takes fun discovering places around the country on his motorcycle. His “motour” trips has taken him to various places from Luzon to Mindanao. Accordingly, Smith will produce an online TV show featuring his 80-day cross country trip in the Philippines.
Literature courtesy of Rappler.com.