Gawad Kalinga: Proud to be GSK

I will always remember my arrival to Manila. It is a very crowded city and can be intimidating at first.

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One of the first places I visited in my whirlwind first week was GSK Makati. Here I participated in Orange Week festivities, serving as a liason between Save The Children and GSK. Our partnership to save one million children’s lives is so important. The GSK team has helped Save the Children in the Philippines make an impact in the local community.

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Immediately, I felt at home. The staff was so warm and inviting. In many ways, they are my family away from home.

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I have had the privilege to participate in many activities with them.

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I attended a Get Fit Bizarre in July and learned to use colouring as a relaxation technique.

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Surprisingly, and very comforting, faith is also present in the workplace. Another deeply meaningful August get together was on Spirituality and how to bring God into our life, including our workday.

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Most recently, I was invited to a Halloween party for the ages. America, please take note. We should start this type of activity in Philadelphia and RTP.

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The entire office was transformed into a Halloween village complete with a glow in the dark transformer.

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Employees brought their children to work and candy was distributed.

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I got to help out too. We all had intense sugar highs!!!

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Last week, I had the privilege to accompany my GSK colleagues to Negros for a valuable Orange Day service project. We built homes for the recent typhoon victims. I am so proud to work for GSK. Our company values giving back to the community.

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Named Gawad Kalinga, homes are build for families who are in need. The best part is that it is a team event. The family must also put in five hundred hours of ‘sweat equity’ so they too are helping to build their new residence.

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I learned what a typhoon and earthquake resistant home entails. Did I say concrete?

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We first mixed concrete by hand by combining dirt, cement powder and water. I’m amazed how well this worked with only a shovel as a tool. There were no mixers, wheel barrels, etc.

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Next, we laid the concrete blocks row by row, filling them with cement one by one. After putting an extra layer on top, the next row was laid.

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It was a great collaboration of the GSK team from throughout the Philippines and the local community. We all worked together to accomplish laying the foundation and building the walls.

 

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The houses will be completed next month and given to the eligible families. When finished they will look amazing.

 

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We toured a couple completed ones. They were so colorful and quite spacious inside.

 

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As we were finishing up for the day, a beautiful rainbow appeared beside the village. What a perfect way to end our service project.

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Of course, the team went out to celebrate. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner with great fellowship.

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I was amazed how similar the work day here in Asia is to ours in America, yet its halfway around the world.

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Reps do visit offices and drive company cars.

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Most importantly, the GSK culture is very vibrant here. No matter where one is in the world, it’s nice to see our GSK values prevail.

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In closing, it’s so nice to have a home away from home and be so welcomed. The talent and values are top notch in everyone I’ve met. The friendships I’ve make will last a lifetime. Maraming Salamat One GSK!!!

15 comments

    1. Yes indeed. I feel very blessed. I have learned a great deal about how GSK operates in another part of the world as well.

  1. I remember how anxious you were at the start. So many new things and new people to meet. Some fear and loneliness was to be expected. I was not surprised how quickly you found friends. Yet the Filipino hospitality and spirituality exceeds even optimistic expectations.
    Even though home family and friends are calling you back I’m sure it will be hard to say goodbye to all the new friends at Save, GSK, AMCHAM, and church.

    1. Thank you so much for recognizing how hard it will be to say goodbye. I think of the Philippines as my second home and part of my heart will remain here.

    1. Thank you Lily. Perhaps Pulse is calling you to an assignment soon. I can’t wait to tell you all about it stateside:)

  2. You are working very hard, but also seem to be enjoying all your experiences. Much of what you are showing here you might be able to share with your next Haiti visit-Great work!

    1. Thank you Mary Kay. I am loving all my experiences here. It’s quite an eye opener but the Filipino hospitality and resilience is second to none.

  3. So proud of the work you and the GSK Philippines colleagues continue to do! And you’re absolutely right!… A part of my heart will also forever belong to the Philippines and the kind friends who have shown us so much hospitality. Enjoy Thanksgiving coming up, Maryanne! I’ll be thinking of you.

    1. Thanks so much Vivian for your kind words and support. You are awesome. Enjoy an extra bite or two of Turkey for me. Our first family feast stateside will be a turkey. Happy thanksgiving:)

    1. Thanks Q7. I love your blogs. I can’t wait to catch up after our assignments. Perhaps we all can have a mini training reunion:)

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