Val, Outreach Philippines’ Field Program Accountant, is a treasured member of one of our oldest and most successful field locations. He’s a true renaissance man, with interests and talents ranging from the intensely technical to warmly social.
Q. Tell us about your hobbies!
A. Most (if not all) of the things that I love to do are those that some people consider hobbies for loners. I love do-it-yourself projects. My dream was to be an electronic engineer but poverty caused me to pursue other careers. But I continued to learn about electronics through self-study. I build my own electronic stuff and enjoy listening to music on the tube amp I built. I’m also an amateur mechanic, and fix our cars myself, most of the time.
I like engineering and architecture — I have been building our house for 28 years now. It remains unfinished because I’m only able to work on it when I have free time and extra money for materials.
I’ve always enjoyed working with computers, assembling and repairing the hardware and writing accounting software, as well as using them to edit digital audio and video.
Q. What’s your favorite food?
A. I like foods cooked with coconut milk, and the one I like most is laing or “gabi,” which is cooked with coconut milk.
Q. What were some of your previous jobs before working with Outreach?
A. I got my first job at 12, working as a seasonal farm laborer to earn money for my educational expenses. Once I finished high school, I worked as a waiter, and was able to pay for my first semester in college with my earnings, though they weren’t enough to cover the rest of my tuition. In order to continue my studies, I put in an application to be a “working scholar” at my college, and got a job maintaining the university president’s residence in exchange for a full scholarship.
Around the time I passed my CPA [certified public accountant] exams in 1987, there were a lot more career opportunities with development organizations than there were from private corporations, so I took a job as a consultant with Dayap Development Cooperative. The honorarium I was given wasn’t much, but I really enjoyed the job, since it gave me an opportunity to work with people and community groups.
By then, I’d earned accreditation from the Cooperative Development Authority to work as a financial management lecturer, which I did alongside my regular duties doing bookkeeping and writing reports and project proposals. This work gave me a chance to meet various donor non-government organizations, the most important of which was Outreach International, who were supporting some of the sustainable projects from local community groups, at the time.
Back then, the only field staff Outreach had in our country was Field Director Dr. Dennis Labayen, who offered me more work as a consultant for Outreach. It was a fortuitous meeting— we’ve worked together since 1989, facilitating community groups.
Q. Tell us about your family!
A. My wife’s name is Roberta, but I call her “Gigi.” We married on her 24th birthday, after being engaged for 14 months! A few years later, we had Tonie, or “Tintin,” as we call her, and then a few years after she came along, we had our second child, Rafael. Gigi worked with our community cooperative for a decade before taking early retirement to focus on our children. Once both of them were old enough not to require close supervision, we opened a computer repair shop, which Gigi manages. My daughter Tintin is now a computer programmer, while Rafael just graduated from culinary school, and is planning on opening his own restaurant soon.
Q. How has your work with Outreach influenced your approach to parenting?
A. Outreach’s PHD [Participatory Human Development, also called “The Outreach Process”] methodology has had a significant impact on me as a person, which, in turn, has influenced my approach to parenting — the principles are entirely applicable to that role.
The facilitation techniques used by the Outreach staff are very useful in establishing good communication within a family setting, in terms of resolving issues and confronting interpersonal conflicts. Over the years I’ve worked with Outreach, I’ve gradually developed the ability to understand people around me — especially my family.
How To Help
There’s plenty to do in the Philippines. By becoming a monthly Outreach donor, you can sustain the incredible work Val and the rest of the Outreach team undertake every day to lift communities out of poverty. You won’t even notice the expense, but the difference made through your support will be impossible to miss. Join us!