November 8 marks Tzu Chi Philippines’ 25 years of service to those in need in the country. To commemorate this auspicious occasion, the foundation held a solemn morning ceremony at the Tzu Chi Great Love Campus.
Tzu Chi started in the Philippines in 1994. Since then, it has grown into a sizeable organization that continues to alleviate suffering among Filipinos.
Twenty-five years of alleviating the suffering in the Philippines has culminated in a historic step for the Tzu Chi Foundation family.
November 8 marks the 25th founding anniversary of Tzu Chi Philippines, which commemorated the event at the Great Love Campus in Manila. Volunteers, Livelihood Training Program students, and staff gathered to express their gratitude for the past 25 years. The celebration began with a “Three Steps One Bow” ceremony led by two Dharma Masters from Taiwan.
A scroll on the Dharma Lineage from Taiwan was passed to the Philippines chapter, which was recieved by chapter CEO Henry Yuñez. This long scroll outlines the story of Tzu Chi worldwide over its 53 years of service to those in need. Receiving the scroll, according to Yuñez, is an honor.
“From this point on, we will continue writing the history of Tzu Chi here in the Philippines.” Yuñez remarked.
In 1994, Tzu Chi Philippines was founded, with volunteer Linda Chua as its first CEO. Over the years, the chapter has distinguished itself in various disaster relief operations, starting with the magnitude-7.1 earthquake that hit Mindoro the same year. Some of its major accomplishments include relief for the victims of Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana) in 2009 and Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013.
From its main office at the Jing Si Hall in Quezon City, Tzu Chi Philippines has spread its branches to five provinces: Bohol, Cebu, Davao, Leyte, and Zamboanga. Volunteers in these liaison offices continue to perform Tzu Chi’s fourfold missions of charity, humanity, education, and medicine. They reach out to people in places where basic needs are not readily accessible, providing not only material but spiritual aid.
As a Buddhist organization, Tzu Chi doesn’t shun people of different religions or race. In fact, most of its volunteers in the Philippines are non-Buddhists, and Tzu Chi doesn’t require them to convert to Buddhism.
“I can see [people of] different religions coming together here. As a religious person myself, I find that inspiring,” said Livelihood Training Program student Ian Constantino, a devout Ang Dating Daan.
“I noticed the unity everyone showed in this Buddhist ceremony. Regardless of religion, I’m sure that we all worship one God or deity,” said Livelihood Training Program student Angelo Delos Reyes, a Baptist.
On the evening of November 8, Tzu Chi invited esteemed donors and volunteers for a dinner feast as a token of its gratitude. The event is arranged in the style of a night market common in Taiwan.