Grant Writing Workshop and JCAM Memorial Park

Trip Start Mar 21, 2006
Trip End Oct 05, 2008

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Flag of Philippines  ,
Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Greeting's to all!

I spent the last four days in Ifugao Province in the Municipality of Asipulo. Dustin, a fellow PCV invited me to facilitate a Grant Writing Workshop for his community and spend some time at the newly dedicated Julia Campbell Agri-Forest Memorial Park (JCAM Park). Dustin's counterpart, Gerald, is an extremely active and motivated Filipino. Gerald is the President and founder of the NGO, Indigenous Farmers for Sustainable Agriculture INC, and when he heard of Julia's death he and his family decided to donate their land (45 hectares) in her name and have an eco-tourism, organic demo farm and educational venue in her honor.

I arrived to Barangay Pula in Asipulo right before sunset on Friday evening. The jeepney ride into the remote Barangay was beautiful. Asipulo is the youngest Municipality in Ifugao Province and perhaps due to its remote location it has kept the majority of its indigenous forest cover. While Barangay Pula itself is located at the base of the Mountains, you take just a small glance up and above the many rows of rice terraces is pristine forest cover as far as the eye can see. I spent the night in the humble home of one of the workshops participants. Jovey, is a second year college student and member of the very active Youth Society of Asipulo. Her family has been rice farmers for over four generations and their house sits at the base of rice terraces. Between making the visual aids for the workshop (no power so we could not use power-point) I spoke with her hunched over adorable Lola. She expressed to me in Ilicano how she has been working in the rice fields practically since her birth and how sore her feet were. She was a beautiful old woman and while she is practically unable to stand up straight from years of working in the rice fields, she had a warm and compassionate spirit that was seen beyond language barriers.

The next day was the Grant Writing Workshop and as I mentioned above Barangay Pula is without electricity so in classic Peace Corps fashion we learned to live without and made visual aids of the power-point slides. In total there were 14 participants at the workshop. They ranged from members of the Indigenous Farmers for Sustainable Agricultural Organization, members of the women's organization, school teachers and local government officials. The participants were very attentive and it was nice to have a small group. While they did not ask many questions they seemed to understand the concepts and as always it was a wonderful reminder that facilitating is indeed my passion. It further emphasized that I would really like to be a consultant in that role post my Peace Corps service. The grant writing process is long and a large endeavor, so it was difficult to describe the entire process in a one day seminar. However, I know the participants learned the basic steps of the process and it is now up to them to finalize their project proposals and submit them for funding. All in all it was a successful workshop and fun to help transfer some of this knowledge to the participants.

I spent all day Sunday at Julia's Park, what a beautiful space and a very similar story to my host families' farm at my site. The land has been in Gerald's family for over three generations. It is almost all still thick with indigenous forest cover and they have a plethora of citrus trees including; pamello (local grapefruit variety), orange, pineapple and jack fruit. The majority of the property is on the mountainside so there is a lot of work to be done to flatten the land to prepare campsites and trails. All of the current trails, if you can call them that, are extremely steep; needless to say I am very sore after a day of hiking around there, but a good sore. I planted a pamello tree for Julia and we spent the afternoon at the river swimming in a fantastic swimming hole and enjoying the views up the mountain of rice terraces. Gerald and Dustin are both excited to visit ENCA Farm and get ides for the park, being that they are such similar projects. Below is the link to the web-site for JCAM Park it is still in development but looks like it will be very nice once completed.

There have also been a number of scholarship funds set up in Julia's name. Specifically the Alumni Association for former Peace Corps Volunteers that served in the Philippines has established a scholarship to help send Filipino students wishing to study journalism or English to college here in the Philippines. Below is the link to the web-site with further information about this scholarship. You can also make donations via this web-site.

The last four days I spent in Asipulo only continued to remind me that this journey is so very special. The opportunity to spend time with the warm and hospitable Filipino's who in our (the collective our) privileged US standards have nothing but are willing to share the little they do have with a visitor. Being able to relax and enjoy the beauty of their peaceful town and hopefully help give them the skills and knowledge necessary to make their lives better never cesses to amaze me. Quite a ride I am on!

I hope this e-mail finds you all well and know that I am sending my love and hugs to each of you.


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Ed Pulupul on

Hi there,
I am indeed impressed with the work you have done to my hometown. I am pretty sure our folks learned a lot and hoping it would help improve their living..
Having been away from home for ages, I feel really delighted to see some photos posted and it reminds me of my younger days walking up the hills and mountains of Asipulo. I am also surprised to hear about a park named after a foreign person. I wonder where that is? Would love to visit that park soon when I go home for a holiday. Cheers

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