Building An Ark For Cangumbang in the Philippines

Elsa Thomasma Start Date: Apr 24, 2013 - End Date: Aug 21, 2013
  • Leyte, Philippines

My Travel Story

by: Elsa Thomasma Start Date: Apr 24, 2013 - End Date: Aug 21, 2013
As an NGO Intern with Volunteer for Visayans I managed the construction of the organization's third community center in a rural village called Cangumbang. Cangumbang sits among mountains and rice fields, leaving the community memebrs who mostly work the fields, with little access to many resources. Most families in Cangumbang are live below the poverty line, which combined with their locational limitations leaves them in great need of help. To complicate their lives even more the area they live in experiences flooding multiple times a year, often submerging the small shack homes for days. The highest recorded flood occurred in March 2011 and the waters reached 3 meters high. Anything above 2 meters is highly unusual but floods of 1 meter regularly occur. The community center currently being built by Volunteer for Visayans will also serve the community as an evacuation center. The center will provide countless social welfare resources and bring the people a safe ark for the community to withstand the floods.

Please check out my Travel Blog for more pictures and updates at:

And check out Volunteer for the Visayans Facebook Page for more pictures and information on the project:

  • Leyte, Philippines


  • So Much To Share

    I apologize for the extremely long delay! I have gone through a whirlwind of travels over the past 2 months, and I am not finally settled in back in the Philippines!

    I am visiting Cangumbang on the weekends and one night a week to bring groceries to my favorite family of 6 children, and Saturday Lunch for any children that pop up! 

    The center is almost completely finished, with just the plumbing, electrical, and finishing touches left to be accomplished.

    The on going construction/center needs include....

    Electrician and Electrical Supplies
    Kitchen Utensils and Supplies
    Paint for the exterior and interior
    Remaining materials for furniture
    Boat and other disaster supplies

    Ongoing Needs of the Center:
    groceries for feedings
    activity supplies
    misc. expenses (i.e. Electrical)

    Please check out my blog for more infor at:

    And email me at with any questions!

  • Working Towards Our Goal

    Hello Everyone,

    I am so grateful to share with all of you that we have had some amazing contributions over the past few weeks.

    The additional funds that the contractor estimated we would need to complete the structure, with the altered cement floor and partial cement wall, came to around $6650 US Dollars. This amount was overwhelming to me at first, but when I factored in all the remaining needs it was truly only a small amount considering the work that is yet to be completed.

    I am underwhelmed now. Over the past few weeks we have collected $4045 US Dollars. I want to thank my siblings and parents for donating so generously over the years to my various projects with VFV. I want to thank some amazing parishioners at Holy Angels in Sturgis, MI who also continue to support the Ark Project, as well as those who have by chance visited our parish and graciously accepted the call to contribute to our parish project. And thank you to an anonymous family who has helped encourage donations so greatly along the way by offering such generous amounts to the Cangumbang Project. Lastly, a special thanks to the Mita Family, and Victoria especially for sharing my passion so instantly :)

    Our remaining goal is now more attainable than ever as it nears the $2000 dollar mark. My hope continues to hold strong for this project, and by the end of May the building should have its finishing touches. I cannot wait to return in July to see it in person.

    Please see my previous update for many donation methods, and please spread the word about the Cangumbang Project so others can be involved in making a difference!

    Thanks again,