Like the great pilgrimages that span the globe, RFAC boldly took in its task the expansion of its charity to Bicol. Over thirty men and women volunteers braved the roads that only seasoned riders dare trek. With small offerings in their bags and another mission in their hearts, the volunteers of Season 3 Mission 1 took off from Shell Buendia at 11pm, May 13, 2010. The destination was to be over six hundred grueling kilometers to the Missionary of Charity (St. Martin de Porres Gift of Love) led by the Sisters of Mother Teresa at Concepcion Pequena Grande, Naga City Bicol. The beneficiaries were abandoned children and elderly.
A few hours into the trip, three of the volunteers had three different bad crashes. But as if the angels from heaven came down to catch their falls, all three volunteers were unharmed and their motorcycles showed only scratches that would have come from sidestand failures in a parking area. Amazing and almost unbelievable but true! If that was not a reward for collective goodness, then it was a reward for collective goodness.
After the crashes, the ride officials decided to wait for daylight in Calauag, Quezon until another blessed sunrise brightened the journey to safety. But as the sunrise turned into a mid-morning scorching heat, breakdowns made the mission sacrifice even sweeter. All the riders contained themselves in the breakdown area until the machines were repaired by knowledgeable volunteers. By noontime, the RFAC missionaries hit the City of Naga. Hungry and tired, the volunteers went on autopilot mode to a row of carenderias fronting SM Naga.
After lunch, the Bicol RFAC hosts held in their hands money that had been earmarked for the orphanage and they purchased the much needed goods to help sustain the Sisters of Mother Teresa in taking care of their abandoned. When the purchasing was done, we all geared up for our final run to our purpose.
It was a humble refuge for our beneficiaries. We entered a blue gate into a well-kept quadrangle garden. In their open-air auditorium, we mistook a huge class of children as the orphans but later found out that they were a cathecism class that was taught beautiful spiritual songs that were truly music to the ears. As usual, with no speeches nor fanfare, all the gifts were piled up in the auditorium and it was made sure that they were for the orphans and not the students. As the children finished their session and left, the elderly fixtures in the orphanage became more visible. We were then led to the rooms where the abandoned children were being nursed by the able missionaries.
As in all the hospices and orphanages that RFAC had gone to, the elderly moved in and out of their awe as the motorcycles came in. As to the little abandoned souls whose fates found more of a fighting chance under committed care, one baby’s story stood out among the rest. He was abandoned because he was blind in both eyes. This makes one imagine how heartbroken the incapable mother of this baby was in abandoning the baby. Without institutions like this one where physically impaired children are better off rather than in the care of untrained parents who are subject to impatience, these little angels would have very miserable lives. But as always when in mission rides, the volunteer always sees the brighter side of life’s misery by helping in its alleviation. A short moment shared was our mission and surely, it managed to squeeze into some lonely hearts. With the mission done, some goodbyes and a lull awaited the “gear up” from our ride officials. Where the RFAC mission ends, naked bonding begins.
Only then did fatigue sink in after of more than 12 hours of riding. We all wanted to hit the shower and lay our tired backs to sleep – but not just yet! We had to travel two more hours to the resort that was prepared for us by the Bicol team. Touchdown was 10pm – this time, the volunteers were not only hungry and tired but also felt dirty! After a short ride to another carenderia for dinner, one by one, the showers came close to clogging with body dirt from Metro Manila, Laguna, Batangas, Quezon and Bicol. Soon, almost all the volunteers were snoring themselves until the morning after.
The next day promised side trip rewards for the good deed. After climbing the Mayon Volcano rest house and the ruins of Casagwa, the group split into two because this was no longer an official RFAC ride as the RFAC rides end at the gates of the beneficiaries. One group decided to push their limits and headed another 300 kilometers to Matnog (where Luzon ends). Another group decided to head home via the Labo twisties.
Safe and sound in their houses, each one had huge stories to tell as a rider and as a mission volunteer. Another successful mission , another successful ride. But this time, both heart and butt had bloated.
Report and Photos: RFAC Volunteers