Bulakenyo children bring home smiles and joy from Taiwan “Ligaya” project


The children line up for treats with the Taiwanese businessmen-organizers of the Project Ligaya.

BUSTOS, Bulacan—More than 200 children from five orphanages in Bulacan experienced and brought home joy and smiles in their faces and their hearts during an afternoon of food treats, fun games, toys, school supplies and personal hygiene kits through the Taiwanese government and its people “Project Ligaya” held Saturday in this town.  

The Project Ligaya, a charitable work and also a promotion of Taiwan’s culture in the Philippines is a first of its kind endeavor of the Taiwanese government and its people particularly the business groups based in different areas in the country, says Shirleen Hsieh, Taiwan’s 2024 International Youth Goodwill Ambassador of the Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC) in the Philippines.

The main essence, Hsieh said is to promote their country globally, help children in need and to also present and highlight the Taiwanese business groups in the country which are voluntary contributors that helped her organized the project and to also recognize the role and contributions to the community of the beneficiary institutions.

Taipei Economic and Culture Office in the Philippines Deputy Minister Dustin T. S. Yang who led and graced the event held at Bahay at Yaman ni San Martin de Pores Inc. Orphanage in Barangay Bonga Menor in this town said one way of promoting Taiwan globally is recognizing and giving back to the world the kindness they and their people received.

“Taiwanese people, our businessmen are very kind people and to win the hearts of the Filipino people, there is our willingness to share. Sharing is giving back to the Filipinos the kindness they gave and show us. Filipino people are kind and thus Taiwanese, it is but a natural thing,” Yang told NEWS CORE in a media interview.

The more than 200 children beneficiaries came from Willing Hearts Orphanage, Inc. In Sta. Maria town, Bethany House Sto. Nino Orphanage and Philippine Children’s Mission both in Balagtas town, Bahay at Yaman ni San Martin de Pores Inc.  and the Nazareth Home for Children, both in Bustos town.

Hsieh, who is the Ligaya organizer said the project is made possible through the initiatives of the Taipei Economic Cultural Office in the Philippines, OCAC and the partner businessmen, who are her co]-organizers–Taiwan Association Philippines (TAP), Taiwan Association Philippines Youth Chapter (TAP-YC), Taiwanese Compatriot Association in the Philippines, Taiwan–Philippines Education Foundation, Thick and Thin Agri-Product Inc.  (Atlas Feeds) including the Valenzuela Host Lions Club.  

Ambassador Hsieh herself conducted a short lecture to the children which promotes culture and heritage of Taiwan and shared similarities with the Philippines. Taiwanese Indigenous group Amis and Filipinos both use “lima” for five, “pito” for seven, “mata” for eye and Paiwan uses “ina” for mother and “itay” for father.

The ambassador also shared that Taiwan is only 1/8 size of the Philippines, Taiwan’s Tallest building is Taipei 101, promote the distinct and famous Taiwanese lantern which was used to deliver message during war in the old centuries but today to symbolize new beginnings are most commonly used for good luck and peace and forgiveness.

Hsieh also shared with the children that Taiwan ranked 9th most digitally competitive country in the world in 2=023 and that Taiwanese technology companies (Acer, Asus, HTC, Foxcom, TSMC, etc) are Taiwan products. The milk-tea everyone has gone craving or, she said, is also a food product of Taiwan. Hsieh also shared other Taiwanese foods and their famous Night Market.  

The Ambassador also boast that Taiwan has the best medical care in the world. She also taught the children to say hello in Taiwan, “ni hao” and thank you, “xie xie”.

The children were introduced to Taiwan culture through its traditional games. They played and enjoyed Taiwanese folk toys like diabolo yoyo, pinball, poking lotto, kaleido and bamboo dragon, night market game ring toss game, bottle standing game and ping pong ball tossing. They were also taught how to make paper lanterns and they were served with Taiwanese foods–dumpling and meatball, mantou with condensed milk, tea, Taiwan chips and taho.

Each of the more than 200 children took home tote bags with a ruler, pen, pencil case, pencils, eraser, protractor, paint, colors, notebook, glue, correction tape, marker, water jug, milk powder, chocolate milk and biscuits including Taiwan chips, umbrella and a complete personal hygiene kit.

Project Ligaya provided the said five beneficiary institutions with P50,000 each, including electric fans, mosquito and other insect repellent, tissues and laundry detergents.

Hsieh who is a Taiwanese but who was born and raised in the Philippines and who came from a family with a feed mix company based in Bulacan told Inquirer that they are looking forward to conducting the next Ligaya projects not only in Bulacan but in other  parts of the country. She said she chose Bulacan because she is surprise to discover that the province has about 20 orphanage centers.  

Maria Theresa Sta. Teresa, co-founder of Willing Hearts Orphanage in Barangay Lalakan, Sta. Maria told Inquirer that they are very thankful to the Taiwanese government and the businessmen for choosing them as one of the beneficiaries of the Ligaya project.

“Talaga namang ligaya, kasi ang mga bata talagang masasaya. Minsan lang ang ganito sa kanila na talagang halos buong araw ay puro tuwa at saya dahil sa mga laruan, sa mga games, sa mga regalo, mga pagkain at mga natutunan,” (It is indeed a real joy because the children were really happy. This kind of day is seldom to them, almost a whole day of fun, toys, games, foods, treats and gifts are only for them and they even learn something), she said.

Atty. Tomas Guno, Director at Manila economic and Cultural Office thanked the Taiwanese government and its people for the cultural experience and the gifts that bring smiles and really s pound of joy to the children.

Guno also recognized and gave appreciation to the orphanage institutions for taking care of Filipino children from all over the country since they were four months old and even until more than 20 years old.  

“These orphanages are here for 24 years already. They already have college graduates and they would really not allow a child to go until they have a job of their own,” he said.

More than 1,000 Filipino children scholars

Other than the charity Project Ligaya, OCAC and TECO have also been providing scholarship programs to Filipino Youth.

 The project continues to empower the Filipino youth at is remains very active in advancing its main cause- providing education for deserving but less privileged Filipino youth by sending them to various Taiwanese learning institutions.

For the past decade, there were already more than 1,000 scholars who completed the academic requirements and were already awarded with a bachelor’s degree and an opportunity to be matched with enterprises for employment.

For the upcoming school year, the Taiwan-Philippines Educational Development Foundation, Inc. Scholarship Program,

Foundation is again sponsoring the plane tickets of the new scholars, Ambassador Hsieh said.

Slated for August and September flights, these students represent the most outstanding applicants who are recipients of three-year scholarships to Taiwan’s famed technological universities with a comprehensive seven-year training program.

The Foundation is headed by Mr. Lin, Chai-Liang as the Chief Executive Officer; who aside from being a businessman, is a staunch advocate of education which is a key factor in improving societies and economies.

Mr. Lin is joined by other foundation stalwarts Mr. Su, Kuo-Fang – Chairman; Ms. Huang, Ya-Hui; Mr. Lu, Chia-Hsiang; Mr. Wu, Kuo-Chen and Mr. Hsieh, I-Ho. They have been providing for the airfares of the students for many years. The project is also annually made successful through the vibrant support of the of OCAC, TECO-Taipei, which is the main organization behind these scholarship program

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