This day was full of excitement and adventures. We took an early morning flight in order to get to Iloilo City and meet borrowers from Conception. Sister Corey was our tour guide, how excellent she was! Our day started by visiting her mother, since Iloilo is Sister Corey hometown. Her mother is an extraordinary woman, she is more than 90 years old have the cutest of smiles and a flawless skin. Sister Corey's mom gave birth to 11 children and adopted one; all of the count with college education except for Sister Corey who devoted her live to the poor and needed. What a remarkable family.
Iloilo is a beautiful town, it is quite refreshing after coming from Manila since there is less traffic, smalls buildings and a lot of nature. We visited the main church of the town where according to locals the statue of Virgin Mary “grows”. Following, we finally got to our main destination which was Colegio de San Jose. I was beyond excited , we were about to meet 22 borrowers. We all gathered in the meeting room of the Colegio the borrowers arrived just after us and we all start to mingle and grabbed lunch. I must admit the hospitality of the Filipinos is admirable, they always get you with a smile and food, tons of traditional food which they are very proud of. This was not the exception, after having some delicious milk fish and panceta noodles (Iloilo traditional) we were ready to start.
The organization of this group was outstanding , they prepared a magnificent slideshow, explaining the business of the borrowers, the progress, repayments and hopes for the future. This slideshows counted with innumerable pictures and precise facts of how their businesses are doing. It was like attending a presentation in New York just more fun. I was truly amazed by this group, since they were truly entrepreneurs. They were provided loans in groups of three, all counted with a president, vice president and an administrator. The beauty of this is that they are not only using their loans to improve their business but they are also providing microloans! Yes they are also managing their own microloan organization! Isn’t this remarkable ? They claim that their main objective is to help into the development of the community. Sister Corey have sent a social worker that direct regularly meetings with these entrepreneurs so she can assist and advice them about payments and micro finance, obviously these meetings are not just business, they also have fun having group bounding activities. The Filipino culture is a very fun culture, they are always smiling ans joking around. Being positive and patience is a very great asset they have. After giving them some GLOBE tee-shirts and taking tons of pictures and selfies it was time to say good bye.
We visited some other institutions managed by the daughters in Iloilo and left to the airport. It was a very intense day but full of joy and inspiration. I am so happy and proud of all those 22 entrepreneurs.