How The UP Travel Society Is Serving The Community
The UP Travel Society is the first university-based travel organization in Asia. Service-oriented, it holds activities and events that are all about giving back to the community. Read on to find out what the members do!
1. It has a charity excursion program.
Musmosyalan, coined from musmos and pasyalan, is the UP Travel Society’s (UPTS) flagship event. Held every year, Musmosyalan takes less privileged kids, usually from orphanages, to different destinations within and near Metro Manila.
Through it, kids have visited the Manila Ocean Park, Museo Pambata, Fun Farm in Sta. Elena in Laguna, to name a few. UPTS does this because it believes traveling widens horizons, and that children from orphanages are those who are usually deprived of travel opportunities.
Mikee Ricafrente, UPTS’ vice president for external affairs, says, “Letting less fortunate kids travel is giving them the joy that can only be had by traveling. We want to give them the opportunity to experience a leisurely trip at least once in their lives.”
2. It holds a hangout session with the kids to know where they want to go.
UPTS now has a Pre-Musmosyalan event to discover where its beneficiaries want to go. This helps ensure that everyone enjoys the trip itself. Although its purpose is clear and straightforward, Pre-Musmosyalan lets UPTS members and the kids spend an afternoon filled with games, storytelling, and gift giving.
This year, kids wanted to go to the beach. “But due to logistical concerns and safety considerations, we arranged an outdoor swimming session for them in a private pool instead. We later learned that it was their first time for something like that,” shares Sharmaine dela Cruz, a graduating tourism major.
3. It conducts talks and seminars about responsible and sustainable tourism.
UPTS organizes alternative classroom learning experiences, which are talks held every semester. One was on responsible traveling, another on packing lighter, faster, and smarter. There was even a seminar on the best hiking and trekking spots near Manila. One of the bigger ones was a critique of voluntourism, which involves doing volunteer in a foreign place. “Ethical considerations and socio-cultural impacts were discussed,” says Sharmaine.
4. It has a week-long surprise for the UP community.
UPTS holds TS Week annually to celebrate its anniversary. It’s a week spent not only remembering the org’s 32-year history, but also treating the student body as a way of giving back to the community. It has organized free IKOT rides, Zumba sessions, and boodle feasts, to name a few.
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Outdoors Danielle Flestado @artdkf | May 1, 2020 "I miss the outside world. The last time I went outside of our house was on my birthday. We just bought coffee across our village and went back home immediately. This painting made me feel that I'm in a field, just appreciating the beauty of God's creation. Can you imagine the green grass and pink flowers?"
When everything around you suddenly turns dark, the first thing we'd prolly do, as humans, is to find and grab anything that is closest and nearest to us. We'll hold onto them for as long as we can, trying to collect ourselves and gather courage to adjust our eyesights to the pitch black environment that's consuming us minute by minute. And then you'd hear nothing. Your sense of hearing would somehow go off after not seeing anything for quite awhile. You'll let loose. Cry. Panic. You'll be exhausted for fighting your way out. Then just when you're about to stop and give up, you're no longer afraid. There's only this deafening silence and pithole of darkness that's gonna eat you up alive. And surprisingly, you'll make a home out of it.
You'll make a home out of the darkness that when a ray of light suddenly hits you, you'll try to avoid it. You'll try to cover your eyes. You'll try to cover your ears from the voices trying to help you get out of it. You'll try to hide because your mind and body will go against your will to come out and live. Because the darkness that used to scare you, now comforts you in a way you thought has helped you survived life. And you'll try to live. Day by day. In the darkness. Not knowing where to go. Not knowing where to start. Not knowing who is with you. You will try to live until the darkness that once surrounds you is now within you. And everyday, it's gonna be a cycle of subtle torture. But let me tell you a secret. The darkness won't make you whole.
You'll be broken. And in those hair-like cracks, the light will stubbornly fight its way through until it warms you up. Until you realize to check the switch and turn it on. Until you allow other people to help you find your way back in the light. Until you realize you're ready to live in light again. There's a light at the end of this long and dreading tunnel. The only question that matters: will you let them in?
I always thought of life, like a bead where each piece makes it worth sewing together with other piece of beads to make a stronger bond and to create a beautiful result. Today, how do we bond well with different people especially this difficult time? As this day challenges us to a new normal, may we continue to bead along positively with our life.