Written by Syra Petalio

I delivered the text in this blog post to the people of Northern Samar during the last day where we shared with members of the community where we stayed. It is an attempt to express to the community how grateful I am for everything that has happened there.


In front of the St. Michael the Archangel Parish Church

This whole experience has been instrumental in strengthening my faith in the goodness of people. Among everyone we haveve spoken to, the desire to be of help and the immense generosity in the sharing of their self for the common good is very significant. This inspires me to continue serving to the best of my abilities. Even in the changing times, we can still see the willingness of people to adapt. We can make do with what we have, and we will find a way. In the face of challenges, the faith in our ability to pull through and get through whatever remains. This whole experience showed me the importance of being prepared for whatever may come our way. We can never tell what exactly will happen, but we can try to prepare ourselves the best way we can. However, one of the main things that I remember was something a professor of mine told me way back, people matter because people have stories. Every single person has something to share, we only need to be ready to listen. Our whole stay here has been meaningful not only because of the experiences we’ve had but also and most especially because of the people we have met along the way. As we leave, we take with us the stories, the memories, the lessons, and the relationships we have created here.

Our departure is only the beginning of us acting on what we have learned. As students, this pushes us to persevere even when the going gets tough. These will deepen and strengthen the whys behind what we do. As students in the medical field, we are reminded about the importance of remembering who we are serving – the people, for the greater good. As SOLACE ambassadors, we will create what we will based on what we gathered, learned and experienced here. The significance of stories is something that I keep with me and I remember these behind whatever data we can find. From this, I hope we can give justice to all that has been shared and hopefully, the realities of your lives here can be heard by and shared to a greater audience.


A bridge we traversed almost every day,
The last time we passed through this was bittersweet for me

Thank you so much for accepting us in your homes and for trusting us – sharing your time, abilities, and stories with us in the last few days. All that we have been through here would not be half as meaningful without all of you. When we leave, we hope that you also remember us with half as much joy as we will remember you. It was a short time, but it was an experience of a lifetime I would not trade for anything else.