Ground Breaking Press Release

Preparing for ground breaking ceremony

Preparing for ground breaking ceremony

Press Release

May 21, 2014

“Rehabilitation Czar” Secretary Ping Lacson Breaks Ground for School Reconstruction Project Sponsored by 10- and 13-year old Filipina Americans

Secretary Ping Lacson is joining the Mayor of Tanauan, Leyte, Honorable Pel Tecson; Dr. Ronelo Firmo, Superintendent, Leyte Division, Department of Education; Amado David of Los Angeles, California and grandfather of the two Filipina American children sponsors; and the community of Yolanda survivors of Tanauan, Leyte in breaking ground at the site of where a new school building will rise in Barangay Maribi to replace a totally damaged building.

The losses of the town of Tanauan as a result of Typhoon Yolanda include 39 elementary schools, 5 high schools, and 1 university, or 100% of its schools heavily or totally damaged. The Malaya and Tala Fund (MTF), established through the efforts of two young Filipino-American sisters aged 10- and 13-years old (see description below), is constructing a four-classroom school building at Maribi Elementary School in Barangay Maribi, Tanauan, Leyte to replace the school’s totally destroyed Millennium Building.

The new building adds two classrooms, which will help in accommodating incoming elementary school children from the families displaced within the 50 meter No Build Zone of Barangay San Roque, who are being relocated to the permanent housing relocation project of Gawad Kalinga and Tanauan LGU at Barangays Pago and Maribi.

In addition to being the first to start construction of a school in all of Tanauan and having perhaps the youngest funders for a post-Yolanda rehabilitation project, the MTF project also introduces new directions in disaster resiliency, greening or environmental stewardship, and a community participatory approach.

While the MTF school building was designed for a disaster resilience of 250 kph, the results of several engineering tests confidently show that the design can withstand a wind velocity of 350 kph.

The school design also promotes environmental stewardship and features an ecological sanitation system –ecosan– instead of a conventional CR. The ecosan is solar assisted and not dependent on water. The design of the school building also features the use of solar panels to light the classrooms, natural lighting in the open classroom, and collection of rainwater.

Community inclusion and participation is the approach taken by the MTF on this project. Consultations with stakeholders including dislocated residents of Barangay San Roque, barangay governments of Maribi and San Roque, parents and school children as well as the national and local officials of the Department of Education and the LGU executive of Tanauan, Mayor Pel Tecson were actively sought as early as in January this year to guide MTF’s selection of Maribi Elementary School as the location of the project.

The approach of community participation promotes empowerment of the potential beneficiaries by drawing them into the process of providing feedback on the design, discussing the need for monitoring construction and also in participating in the actual construction work through bayanihan activities, cash-for-work, or getting employed by the contractor.

The cost of this project is less than Php1.48 million per classroom, totaling Php5,930,000 or about US$135,000. The main bulk of the funding, $100,000, comes from funds raised by the two children, Malaya and Tala David. The $35,000 additional funds are being brought in through the recent partnership of the MTF with the U.S. union, Service Employees International Union.


The Malaya and Tala Fund (MTF) Description

The Malaya and Tala Fund began as a project of Malaya and Tala David, 10 and 13 year old, third generation Filipina-American sisters living in Berkeley, California. Malaya and Tala wanted to reach out to the children who experienced the devastation wrought by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan.

Together, they made braided bracelets using rubber bands with the colors of the Philippine flag – red, yellow, and blue – called “Haiyan bracelets”. In two weeks, they raised over US$2,000 selling the $10 bracelets at events, online, and in their community. To date, their efforts have raised over US$100,000.

MTF has used this money to donate urgent school supplies in the form of uniform T-Shirts to two elementary schools in Tanauan, Leyte, San Roque Elementary and Santo Nino Elementary. Additionally, MTF will rebuild one school building with four classrooms at Maribi Elementary School in Tanauan, Leyte. (


Feed the Hungry (FtH) Description

Since MTF is not a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, it utilized Feed the Hungry, Inc. (“FTH”), located at 6419 Floridon Ct. Springfield, VA 22150, as its fiscal sponsor. FTH is a U.S. non-profit organization that conducts charitable activities in the Philippines. FTH held the funds raised for the Maribi Project as a restricted account within FTH to be released only upon the approval of Malaya and Tala’s mother, Amihan David and grandfather, Amado David. The FTH has granted the Malaya and Tala Fund under its stewardship of US$100,000 to Active Citizenship Foundation, Inc. (ACF), with the full agreement of Amado David and Amihan David to fund the Maribi Project.


Active Citizenship Foundation, Inc. (ACF) Description

Active Citizenship Foundation, Inc. (“ACF”), a charitable non-profit organization incorporated in Quezon City, Metro Manila is the secretariat of the relief efforts of Akbayanihan, which began just 3 days after Typhoon Yolanda hit. ACF administers the Maribi Project and works with the MTF Philippine representatives Geline Avila and Isabella Borgeson in Tanauan, Leyte. (see additional information in packet;


Emerging Architects Studio (EASt)

The architectural firm who designed the Maribi Project is Emerging Architects Studio (EASt), a multi-awarded firm established in 2012 by four young and passionate architects. It creates innovative designs and works based on a philosophical foundation rooted in economic, ecological, and social responsibility. (see additional information in packet;


LUG Konstract

The contractor, LUG Konstract of Marasbaras, Leyte, owned by Engineer Lehman Go, has exhibited a commitment to participate in the relief and rehabilitation of the Yolanda devastated areas by lending transportation equipment to ACF’s relief efforts, and now working with MTF and ACF in the construction of the MTF school building at Maribi Elementary School, as well as ACF projects in Samar and Leyte to build Barangay health stations and daycare centers. (telephone: 09178502300)


Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 

Since the MTF has a finite amount of US$100,000, Service Employees International Union will partner with MTF to fund the remaining cost of US$35,000. SEIU is a US based union with over 2.1 million members, including many US Filipinos. SEIU created a relief task force in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in order to fund rehabilitation projects in the affected areas. The grandfather of Malaya and Tala David, Amado David, is a member of SEIU’s special relief task force for Yolanda victims. (


Perseverance of strength

Maribi Elementary School in Tanauan, Philippines after typhoon Haiyan. Still in place is a picture of Jose Rizal hanging on the weall-- the irony of strength. Photo by Dale Borgeson

Maribi Elementary School in Tanauan, Philippines after typhoon Haiyan. Still in place is a picture of Jose Rizal hanging on the wall– the perseverance of strength. Photo by Dale Borgeson

An update to all you supporters is long over due.

Our dear friends, Geline Avila and her daughter Isabella Borgeson, have been working closely with the Mayor of Tanauan, Honorable Pel Tecson, and the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ronel Firmo, to select a school for rebuilding. At first, the schools being considered were the two that suffered the most damage, closest to the coast in the barangays of San Roque and Santo Nino. Since typhoon Haiyan, these schools are now within a new 50-meter ‘NO BUILD’ zone from the high tide mark. Therefore, families are being relocated to adjacent barangay Maribi where housing is being built for them and where it has been decided the funds from this Haiyan Bracelet Project will be spent on the reconstruction of a new ‘green’ school!

Today, ‘green architects’ from Manila have arrived at the school site in barangay Maribi to begin a new design that will withstand future typhoons. Once the design is complete, a contractor will be retained to build the school. The timeline calls for construction during summer break in April and May, so the new school will be ready for resumption of classes in June.

Current amount raised: $102,670
Goal by June 2014: $105,000

Help Malaya & Tala reach their June goal with only $2,330 remaining! The girls have been busy making bracelets every free moment they get. Donate today by ordering bracelets here.

Below are pics taken by our friend Dale Borgeson who just returned from a visit to Tanauan, Philippines.


A: Barangay Maribi where school will be rebuilt B: San Roque Elementary school now in a 'NO BUILD' zone C: Barangay Santo Nino also designated as a 'NO BUILD' zone after typhoon Haiyan

A: Barangay Maribi where the new school will be rebuilt by the Haiyan Bracelets Project
B: San Roque Elementary school now in a ‘NO BUILD’ zone
C: Barangay Santo Nino also designated as a ‘NO BUILD’ zone after typhoon Haiyan

Books and materials destroyed inside Maribi Elementary School after typhoon. Photo by Dale Borgeson

Books and materials destroyed inside Maribi Elementary School after typhoon. Photo by Dale Borgeson

Classroom inside Maribi Elementary School after typhoon Haiyan. Photo by Dale Borgeson

Classroom inside Maribi Elementary School after typhoon Haiyan. Photo by Dale Borgeson

Principal and teachers at San Roque Elementary getting ready for restart of school where they say "the first order of business was de-griefing"

Principal and teachers at San Roque Elementary getting ready for restart of school where they say “the first order of business was de-griefing”. Photo by Dale Borgeson

Children back to school in barangay Santo Nino, Tanauan, Philippines. Photo by Dale Borgeson

Children back to school in barangay Santo Nino, Tanauan, Philippines. Photo by Dale Borgeson

Children of barangay Santo Nino back at school in temporary tents provided by UNICEF. Photo by Dale Borgeson

Children of barangay Santo Nino back at school in temporary tents provided by UNICEF. Photo by Dale Borgeson

Support this new approach to Haiyan Typhoon recovery work in Leyte and help rebuild schools.

Why this project is unique: The new approach goes directly to the people, consulting and engaging them in developing solutions and taking action to restore their livelihood. It bypasses the obstacles of government bureaucracy and official corruption of the traditional ruling oligarchy. In this way, the legacy of Haiyan can be transformed from unprecedented death and destruction to a recovery process that organizes the people to demand government action to meet their needs instead of preserving the privileges of the ruling oligarchs.

Follow us as we will post updates as we rebuild a school!

$102,000 Raised!

malaya 102000Maligayang Bagong Taon!!! Happy New Year!!!

First, thank you for all your support!  I have awesome news. We have raised over $102,000!  Thank you to an anonymous donation of $100,000!  Thank you to everyone that donated and all the helping hands. Over 100 people have helped so far. Salamat!

Our contact in the Philippines is Isa and Geline. Their hometown is Tanauan in the province of Leyte. It is close to the ocean and is one of the towns hardest hit by typhoon Haiyan. Isa and Geline spoke to Tanauan Mayor Pel Tecson. He told them that all of the elementary schools in Tanauan were destroyed. Mayor Tecson said it will cost an average of 1.8 million pesos to rebuild one school. This means that with the money we raised so far we might rebuild two schools. Mayor Pel Tecson is excited that we are choosing to help schools in Tanuan.

I want to keep raising money for the schools. Our goal is to raise another 3,000 dollars by June 2014 for a total of $105,000.  I know we can do this!!!!


Tanauan, Leyte is very close to the Ocean. See Wikipedia link:,_Leyte

SF Parol Festival



Last Saturday, Malaya, my mom and I went to a patrol festival in San Francisco, where mostly Filipino people come. These people try to make the prettiest 3D stars using colored tissue paper and thin sticks. We brought all our Haiyan bracelets and sold them to as many people as possible. After about 1 hour in the freezing weather, we sold about $120 worth of bracelets including donations. This was the first time we talked to people face-to-face about our project in public, we passed out beautiful flyers (made by my Ninang Jamie) to help spread the word. We thank all supporters!!!

Love, Tala

Thank you for helping me spread the word

KikicuisineMy ate Kira shared a yummy ube cake recipe on her blog,, and look at her haiyan bracelet!

dsc_0959Thank you to “Taragis Na Buhay ‘To” blog (all the way from the Philippines!!) for sharing my project in his post “Bayanihan: Bulilit Style”.

Nakakatuwa talagang makita na andami-daming mga kababayan natin from abroad — either working or already permanent residents — ang gumagawa ng kani-kanilang kampanya para makatulong sa mga kababayan nating nasalanta ni Bagyong Yolanda.

Iba-ibang grupo, iba-ibang tao, iba-ibang istilo… pero nagkakaisa sa iisang layunin.

Pero ang pinaka-nakakatuwa na marahil ay yung mga bata na kung anu-anong mga gimik ang naiisip maka-kalap lang ng pera at ibang donasyon para mai-ambag sa Relief and Rehabilitation efforts dito sa atin.

Take these two kids, for example. Magkapatid sila na Fil-Ams (isang 10 years old at isang 13 years old) na gumawa ng mga “Haiyan Bracelets” upang ibenta online…

Read the complete post here.

Thank you to both bloggers for helping to share this project! I’ve been making bracelets everyday, so please get yours and donate to the Philippines.