Good Friday - AIDS Society of the Philippines along side by some of its partner organizations facilitated a rapid HIV counseling and testing at White Beach, Puerto Galera. Turnout was above expected as it went on until Black Saturday.
I wasn't really supposed take part in this but I felt the need for a vacation so I volunteered my holy week break to work. My currently burnt out and sluggish body, dark tan (which I hate) and raspy voice was all worth it knowing that we managed to test and counsel a lot of people and I got the bonus of making new friends. It wasn't much of a sacrifice given that I was able to
welcome my 24th birthday partying with workmates until 5am in the morning.
We arrived late in the afternoon at Sabang, Puerto Galera after being f*cked by the Batangas Port who decided to ruin our Maundy Thursday by delaying our 8:30 am departure to 3pm.
To say that their system is inefficient would be an understatement. But we managed to settle ourselves to our rooms in a lodge at White Beach (Thank you Manalo's lodge for your very hospitable accommodation to our cause). We rested a bit and started handing out fliers in the afternoon until nightfall.
Friday morning, we ate our breakfast then set up the tents to be erected in the middle of the beach. Scorching heat and barely breathable humid air met us as we tried our best to finish setting up the tents as quickly as possible, which we managed to do eventually.
Then the actual work began. I was assigned as front liner meaning I had to urge people to have themselves tested.
I was with a couple of hunks and for the life of me, I didn't know how I was going to get people to participate in our campaign, given that what we were offering was scary enough on its own, and I didn't look half as convincing and attractive as the other two. All I did was convince myself that I was twink enough for bears to gravitate (google the gay lingo).
Walking under the summer sun which I did for 2 days burnt me beyond recognition. I am now brown, thank you.
I feel very blessed to have been part of the team who did this. Positive toll went up yet again, and now I feel that the ember of me wanting to stop the spread just grew bigger and I will do something about it.
Always remember guys, Ingat Lagi (Be Safe)!