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Volunteerism is one of the key strategies in nation building. It allows people to share
their talents and skills and be able to accomplish something together. Volunteerism in
the Philippine context is a cultural tradition called “bayanihan” or helping one another.
“Bayanihan” is a Tagalog word rooted in the word “bayani” or hero; hence, the word
means a heroic act of service or sacrifice. Other schools of thought believe that it
probably came from the word “bayan” which literally means town but metamorphically
refers to a community of persons. “Bayanihan” could refer to a community undertaking
in this sense.
Volunteerism is manifested throughout the social and political history of the Philippines
starting from the time Filipinos fought foreign powers to gain independence until the
present when people bonded together to maintain democratic governance. It also
refers to the following:
- All forms of voluntary activity, regardless of the number of hours served either
full-time or part-time;
- Undertaken through own free-will and by his/ her own choice;
- Can be local, national or international-based activity;
- Without expecting financial or material gain in return (but at times food/
transportation allowances may be provided depending on the nature and length
of the activity;
- Willingness to share one’s expertise, experience, abilities and knowledge; and
- Just to basically gain experience