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oaa fylpro108 July 2015 - FYLPRO delegates put aside their business attire and rolled up their sleeves as they tried their hand at farming and tree planting during their visit to the Ayala Foundation Inc. livelihood project site in Calauan, Laguna.

The 10 next-generation Filipino-American leaders interacted with the local community and learned about sustainable farming from residents of Southville 7, a 107-hectare relocation site in Calauan for families displaced by Typhoon Ondoy and the Pasig River rehabilitation, during their visit on July 05.

As a token of appreciation, the delegates turned over farming/gardening tools to the community.

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“They welcomed us with open arms and shared their lives with us, even for just a few hours. This magnanimity is something we truly appreciate. We hope to visit again in the future and see their farming endeavors grow and their community prosper,” shared Mark Jimenez, a legislative aide for a U.S. California Representative living in Washington, D.C.

One of the highlights of the visit was a boodle fight with residents of the community.

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Sam, one of the members of the community, said “I am very thankful for the chance to be able to interact with you all today. I hope you can come back to visit our community to see that we are growing.”

To cap of their trip to Laguna, the delegates visited the historic Rizal Shrine in Calamba before returning to Manila.

Southville 7 in Calauan, Laguna home to some 4,500 families who were displaced by Typhoon Ondoy in 2009 and the Pasig River rehabilitation. It is owned by the National Housing Authority, with sustainable livelihood projects such as skills training, sustainable farming, and mushroom and ube-growing enterprises implemented by Ayala Foundation Inc.

Founded in 2012 by Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia and Mrs. Ma. Victoria J. Cuisia, in cooperation with the AFI, FYLPRO each year gives ten high-performing next-generation Filipino-Americans the special opportunity to travel to the Philippines and dialogue with the highest officials and policymakers in the Philippines, including leaders of industry, legislators, media, artists and cultural experts, entrepreneurs (both traditional and social), as well as innovators in different fields.

This year’s FYLPRO is made possible with the generous support of corporate sponsors Ayala Corporation, Chevron Holdings, Chevron Philippines, Chevron Malampaya, Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Philamlife, PHINMA, Philippine Airlines, and SGV and Co. END