Friday, February 20, 2009
Melanie and Thelma visit Philippines January/February, 2009
Thank you to the friends and relatives of Melanie and Thelma and to the many individuals and companies that have supported this trip including British Airways, Heatons Ireland, Ulster Teachers' Union, Roch Valley, Pictorial Charts Educational Trust, Santa's wee Village and many others.
Going back to the Philippines has always been a dream for me. The people are by nature so warm and friendly. They smile, though their lives are difficult and even when things seem hopeless. It is to British Airways that I must say thank you as none of what was achieved below could have happened without their magnificent support.
We did not intend to visit the jails, but we were invited by our hosts, Mrs Crissy Hailes Perillo, of The Pilipino Out Reach Centre. She has been working the jails in St Fernanado, Philippines, for over 25 years. Now married to Dondie, they have 12 children, 7 of them adopted orphans. What a family!! and dedicated to working with orphans and prisoners. They have an orphanage for boys and girls and a private school, which is free to the village children as well. In 1989 they set up a halfway house for newly released prisoners, both men and women. P.O.C. really is a wonderful programme of caring.