World Friends on Eventbrite!

Now, signing up for World Friends’ volunteer program is made easier with Eventbrite! 🙂

World Friends on Event Brite.png

As an overview of World Friends’ program:

On-going project: Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP) technical editing and follow-up field work research. The ADSDPP is a pre-requisite to the issuance of the community’s Certificate of Ancestral Domain. This certificate protects ancestral lands from land grabbers and mining corporations. Check here for the ADSDPP overview for your reference.

Fee: PHP 400 (7.40 Euro) per day for housing and three meals a day

Dates available: Every Wednesday from June 15 to December 15, 2016. Every ticket bought gives you access to one full week (7 days) on the field.

Purchase your one-week field access tickets here 🙂

Hope to see you on the field!


Community Development Volunteering Opportunities

The World Friends Foundation, a Philippine-based non-stock, non-profit organization, has just launched volunteering opportunities for Philippine and non-Philippine citizens for this 2016.

Our aim: To teach life and career skills to aid Filipinos in realizing their ultimate dreams. This we envision by helping instill dignity and integrity, knowing that Filipinos can dream big and will definitely get there.

How you can join us: Volunteer | Donate in Kind (in-field and online opportunities). Please fill up this FORM to request for a program brochure– know of what we do and the work you can do!

What you can expect: full experience and appropriate, skill-specific training as should be expected for volunteers | all work details and expectations will be on print and will be discussed on the pre-deployment interview.

Our partner site for 2016: Barangay Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet, Philippines

On-going project: Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP) technical editing and follow-up field work research. The ADSDPP is a pre-requisite to the issuance of the community’s Certificate of Ancestral Domain. This certificate protects ancestral lands from land grabbers and mining corporations. Check here for the ADSDPP overview for your reference.

Hope to see you in one of our programs! 🙂


Partner Community: Talaandig Artisans

Living in the foothills of the Kitanglad Mountain Ranges in Bukidnon, the Talaandig group has an estimated population of 100,000 and is one of the few communities who have successfully preserved their traditional culture amidst the influx of modernity and change.

Instead of using synthetic paints, Talaandig artists use earth pigments which are readily available in their ancestral domain.

These soil paintings are reproduced as postcards and are readily available in sets of 10:




Soil on canvass by Soliman Poonon

To the Talaandig people, men and women are equally important to the life of the community, and leadership must be balanced between the two.

(Courtesy of Talaandig Soil Paintings)




Soil on canvass by Soliman Poonon

Betel leaf chewing is part of Talaandig culture. In this painting, the artist imagines what goes on in the spirit world during the ritual for the preparation of betel leaves.

(Courtesy of Talaandig Soil Paintings)



“The Weaver”

Soil on canvass by Raul Bendit

For the Talaandig people and other indigenous peoples of Mindanao, the spider serves as the inspiration and source for their weaving traditions.

(Courtesy of Talaandig Soil Paintings)



“Ang Kabundukan ay Libro ng Kultura”

Soil on canvass by Raul Bendit

For the Talaandig people, the mountains and forests are the wellspring of their culture and provide for all their daily needs.

(Courtesy of Talaandig Soil Paintings)



“The Belief of the Hunter”

Soil on canvass by Intonda Kinuyog

The Talaandig people believe that there are spirits everywhere in nature. Every hunter must first ask for permission from the spirits to ensure success of the hunt.

(Courtesy of Talaandig Soil Paintings)



“The Flutist of Nature”

Soil on canvass by Nympha Bendit

(Courtesy of Talaandig Soil Paintings)




Soil on canvass by Salima Saway-Agra-an

The balaghusay (arbitrator) is an important figure in the Talaandig community. The rich imagery of this painting depicts the qualities every balaghusay must possess: the ability to bend without breaking, a cool mind, a pure heart, and a balanced judgment that derives its weight from Talaandig culture.

(Courtesy of Talaandig Soil Paintings)



“The Defender”

Soil on canvass by Salima Saway-Agra-an

2nd place, Kalinawa Art Exhibit (2007)

This painting was inspired by Datu Kinulintang who taught the Talaandig people to defend their culture and resist colonization. This painting is remarkable in that it bears a striking resemblance to Datu Kinulintang even though this was painted purely from the artist’s imagination.

(Courtesy of Talaandig Soil Paintings)




Soil on canvass by Nino Tecson

(Courtesy of Talaandig Soil Paintings)



“The Unseen World”

Soil on canvass by Marcelino Necosia, Jr.

Finalist, Philippine Art Awards (2007)

Not many people realize that there are spirits who live in nature, in a paradise that we do not see. This painting reflects the Talaandig people’s profound respect for the spirits who live in that unseen world.

(Courtesy of Talaandig Soil Paintings)


For orders and volunteer opportunities, please contact:

talaandig@gmail.com | +63 916.342.5259 (Philippines) | +1 443.364.4582 (US/Canada)


Differences with Internship, Apprenticeship and Volunteering

This article was published on Rappler and UN Voices on Jan. 16, 2016 🙂

The World Friends Foundation offers internship, apprenticeship and volunteer programs. This is not new with over a thousand for-profit and non-profit organizations around the world offering programs to locals and foreigners not only for university credits and honing of skills, but also for an experience of a lifetime. Voluntourism which was quite unheard of in the 90s is now very popular among travellers wanting to get the most of their travels overseas.

Before deciding, it is important to know the differences with internship, apprenticeship, and volunteering:



    • A formal work experience arrangement geared towards gaining university credits
    • Provides students with skills to help them transition from study to work
    • A qualified mentor is assigned to the intern to provide guidance during the entire duration of the work placement
    • The student’s university and the partner institution will be in contact prior to the commencement of the program
  • The reality: 
    • Most volunteer work are masked off as internships because doing so makes the work sound more difficult, specialized, and career-oriented.
    • These days, it’s getting rarer to find paid internships. The United Nations, the world’s first non-profit before the term was even invented, has also been leading the trend. Recently a Kiwi intern at the UN Headquarters in Geneva was forced to quit because of the high cost of living. More on that on the video below.
    • If this is as bad as it already is, most people have to pay for their internship placements!


A more in-depth article is published on the International Business Times: Unpaid Intern David Hyde Quits Job After Being Forced to Live in Tent 



    • A non-academic internship: geared towards people wanting to gain exposure and skill sets to improve on their careers, or en route to switching careers
    • Although a qualified mentor is available to provide guidance, work is more flexible as apprentice is given more liberty in weaving through the whole experience (i.e. in practicing skill sets, trying other methodologies, blazing new trails, etc.)
  • The reality:
    • It’s getting rarer to find companies willing to give a comprehensive training of at least six months with everything from your living expenses, transportation, insurance and allowances paid for. With companies investing on their apprentices, they are ensured that they get the best talents from all over the world. Sadly, for cost-cutting purposes training is shortened by a mile that lasts for a month if you’re lucky, you go straight to work on Day 1 with an orientation on the day itself, or you are instead given online tools to review as you weave through your job. The guiding principles of welcoming new employees are completely lost, and the once promising glory of apprenticeship now comes down to a thin layer of “getting the job.”


Jonathan Yabut from the Philippines wins The Apprentice Asia. This earns him the position as AirAsia’s Chief of Staff.


Who it is for: EVERYONE!

    • Someone who works for the main purpose of giving one’s time and energy to help a cause
    • No legal contract binds a volunteer to perform work or attend the workplace
    • No pay is provided for the work performed
  • The reality:
    • While volunteer work is meant to be a genuine extension of one’s time and energy for a greater cause, sadly, most placements have upfront (and hidden) fees involved.
    • Work expectation given is way more than what should be for a volunteer. It’s as if organizations take advantage of others’ enthusiasm and rip them off over hiring someone to do the job.


Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) once a UK charity and now with bases all over the world, is one of the few organizations providing full support for volunteers.


We should take a stand against organizations taking advantage of our idealism and passion for the things we believe in. Without supporters these organizations will fail to prosper. Internship, apprenticeship and volunteer programs definitely provide good training and inspiration that we would otherwise have in most formal work settings. Know your worth and fight for it!

Ready to take it to the next level? Join us in our programs!

References: The Centre of Volunteering, Eli Abroad


Partner Community: Tinongdan Indigenous Peoples Organization


A view from the barangay hall: The hazy mountain at the distance is Mt. Ugo

Lusod-Ambasa is one of two communities residing on the foothills of Mt. Ugo, the second highest mountain in Benguet. Predominantly from the Ibaloi and I’wak groups, these people have been living in relative isolation from the rest of Itogon because of lack of roads that would connect them to the other towns.

To further their self-governing capacity, they have continuously relied on their own Council of Elders to settle disputes and to maintain peace in the community. Also, with the help of the Itogon Community Service Center of the NCIP (National Commission on Indigenous Peoples), they have legitimized their ancestral domain as their own with the documentation of their Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development Protection Plan (ADSDPP), and the issuance of their Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title. This is a laudable feat, considering their population density and geographic constraints.

To get to the nearest town, they would have to walk along the mountain trails for 3-4 hours. This is how Ms. Osana Sadiao, one of our women weavers, visits town several times a week. Serving as a volunteer barangay health worker, she is keen to gain more training to be employed, in time, as a full-time barangay worker. To augment her income from swidden farming, she joins other women in producing colorful pouches, carefully woven with the namesake of their ancestral domain.

Beautiful pouches from Itogon

Beautiful colored pouches woven from recycled plastics

It is difficult for these women, for now, to produce these pouches for a bigger market because a large part of their time and efforts are dedicated to their primary source of livelihood, which is farming. Another factor is the difficulty of making these pouches, which they find time to make at night when the children are already asleep; or on Sundays which is everybody’s rest day.

For now, Ate Osana says, knowing that people appreciate their work is more than enough for them. She hopes, too, that they get more opportunities to turn this hobby into something big. And to say “big”— that’s what they have to let us know soon.

These pouches have proved popular with our partner gift shops and through exposure in small events. Since these are difficult to make, supply is limited. To reserve please send us a message 🙂


Partner Community: Brgy. Calumpang

On one fine Saturday morning, Mang Tacio and his family warmly accommodated us in their humble home, lent their time to show us around their garden and community, taught us the basics of the Zambal language, and shared indigenous knowledge on health and resource management that have been continuously helping them survive the tests of time.

We first met Mang Tacio at Parkson’s, a duty-free shop in Clark Air Base, where he would sell his own produce of papaya, yam, banana and ‘puso ng saging’ (banana bud). This was for my brother’s research, where he explored the cultural history of ‘kulasisi’, a small bamboo flute made to resemble the sound of the endemic Philippine Hanging Parrot (Loriculus philippensis), locally called with the same namesake. What transpired, though, were more than the what and how of the flute—it became the happy and sad recollection of an old man who has traversed almost the entire island of Luzon to survive the threats and realities of abusive treatment, discrimination, environmental degradation, and loss of ancestral land.

He has finally found home in Brgy. Calumpang, Angeles City, where, together with his family, has decided to spend the rest of his life. But the threats of the increasingly prestige-seeking, money-driven world are grossly challenging the resiliency of their customary laws and indigenous structures, which have been with them throughout their journeys across displacements, abuse, and discrimination.

But these challenges have not deterred Mang Tacio and his family. Along with farming, they have decided to use their knowledge on flute-making as an additional source of livelihood. But the limiting perspectives of the small market they are exposed to have moved them to further commodify their work, and to sell these at unfair prices.

This is not uncommon among indigenous and marginalized communities, who feel trapped in a world where commercialization means everything.

And so the hike begins, as Mang Tacio brings us to his garden.

Mang Tacio

Mang Tacio showing his land’s boundaries

Mang Tacio showing the boundaries of his family’s property, which is delineated by banana and mango trees. Asked if it has confused the community at one point, he says this is how traditional boundary markers work, and across generations, runs out of respect.

Brgy. Calumpang

Traditional flute making

Here we see how Mang Tacio’s oldest sons carefully craft ‘pluta’ (flute) and ‘kulasisi’ with homegrown bamboo, bolo, iron nail for punching holes, stones, leaves, roots and stems to support the pit, and the quintessential ally of humans since the dawn of time—fire and creative ingenuity.

We are happy to be in partnership with Brgy. Calumpang, Angeles, Pampanga, home to many of our aeta brothers and sisters. We’ve been selling their flutes to gift shops and small events companies. If this product interests you, send us a message 🙂


Partner Community: Reception and Action Center

Reception and Action Center (RAC) is a 24-hour crises intervention center located at Diamond Hills Subd., Brgy. Payatas, Quezon City. It caters to the needy and disadvantaged such as street children, the abandoned, neglected, abused, and victims of exploitation.

The kids and adolescents have been making the bunny dolls since early this year as part of their enrichment activity through the mentoring of Training Director Mr. Francis Padilla, and the assistance of their dedicated teachers.

RAC Trainers and Mentors

The hardworking and dedicated mentors of RAC


The kids and supervisory adults enjoying their craft

RAC: Mr. Francis Padilla

The kids with their mentor, Mr. Francis Padilla

RAC is one of the first partner communities we’ve had and we are so thankful to each one who has inspired us to continue our work. Since 2013, we buy out all finished products and sell these to wholesale retailers, gift shops, and individuals. As we never bargain with RAC and even up their prices as many times they price their products too low, the kids are able to have extra allowances for school, and are able to save up for novelties like magic pencils, hair clips– things they have never been able to buy back home.