04 Sep – 12 Sep, 2019
04 Apr, 2019
Experience once. Remember forever.
Compassion Insight trips offer you the opportunity to explore the road less travelled. You will meet new friends, and experience life in another part of the world. You will come face to face with God’s work through His local church and Compassion, ministering in areas of debilitating poverty—and you will be forever changed by the experience.
Philippines: Sandy beaches and smiling faces: the Philippines is known for its beauty and hospitality. But it’s also home to millions living in poverty and on the streets. See how your support, Compassion and local churches are together making a difference.
“My father and I went to Sorsogon Province, Philippines, to visit my sponsored child, Jude, back in 2011. We pulled up to the community centre and there was this big banner, saying, ‘WE WELCOME YOU, OUR DEAR AUSTRALIAN SPONSOR MA’AM CARMELA GARCIA.’ I was so touched that they went to so much effort … and that was only the start! Jude gave a little speech but could barely get through it because he was so emotional. His mum was in tears because she was so grateful at how we were able to help her son. I saw that because of my sponsorship Jude was able to attend school. He was wearing clothes he bought using a Christmas gift I sent him. The thing that stood out most was that he was a normal little boy. He was playful, he was a little cheeky and he was a bit shy. He was a normal boy and that’s what I was hoping to achieve by sponsoring him.” —Carmela Garcia
Every Insight Trip is a unique experience, from the people you’ll meet to the places you’ll go. Your trip’s itinerary is customised to meet the needs and interests of the final group of travelers, and you will get all the details with time to spare. In the meantime, check out the example itinerary below, based on previous Insight Trips to the Philippines. We hope it gives you a taste of what your Insight Trip will be like!
Day 1: Depart Sydney, Australia for Manila, Philippines
There’s anticipation in the air as you connect with the group at Sydney Airport, swap stories of wrestling suitcases and say goodbye to your loved ones. Your trip leader meets you in the departures lounge and makes sure you connect with the others in your group.
With plenty of time, you take the chance to stretch your legs, and then get to know the group with a cuppa. Before you know it, you’re buckling your seat belt, checking your travel pillow, and watching Sydney Harbour drop away beneath your feet. You breathe out slowly. You’re off to the Philippines!
Just nine hours later, Compassion Philippines staff greet you and help you load your suitcase into a minibus. The skyscrapers in Manila are massive; fleets of motorbikes weave and dodge and everywhere the sound of horns. This is going to be an adventure.
Day 2: Compassion Philippines office, Manila
Up early. Compassion Philippines staff are waiting for you after breakfast, and as your bus weaves and crawls through the city traffic, you stare out the window. Billboards contain a curious mix of English and Tagalog, spruiking shampoo and make-up and Coca-Cola.
The Compassion Philippines office is awash with activity, which seems to ripple behind you as each team greets you, shares a laugh and describes its role, and then gets back to the task at hand.
Compassion Philippines Country Director Noal Pabiona welcomes you and gives a brief overview of poverty in the Philippines and Compassion’s work in his country. His genuine passion for his staff, the Compassion assisted children and the call God has placed on his life to serve them is alive in every word he speaks.
Day 3: A child development centre in Manila
A few blocks from the highway, the streets are narrow and people squeeze past your bus as it idles. The local staff give you some basic advice—be friendly and polite, don’t ostentatiously take people’s photo—and then you’re piling out of the bus.
As you walk up the crumbly concrete stairs, somewhere, above your head, children burst into a song of praise. Their singing echoes and swirls, it seems to lift you up by the ankles. Someone drapes a wreath of flowers around your neck as you enter a large room.
The children welcome you with song, dance, drama and speeches. Their talent is only surpassed by their enthusiasm, and it’s easy to forget the desperate circumstances so many of them face outside of these walls.
Day 4: Church in Manila / Rest day
Sunday morning, and you head to the church you visited yesterday. Some of the older students are in the band; you think of your own church back home, with the same enthusiastic drummer and smiling girls singing. The pastor welcomes you and invites your group to share a prayer.
You share lunch together afterward; local seafood and enormous bowls of rice. The younger children giggle and climb over each other to see the photos you take on your phone.
In the afternoon, you’re content to laze around with a book. It’s been an uplifting but demanding few days. You feel pulled in different directions emotionally and it’s good to sit and rest, and slowly begin to ponder and process the things that God is placing on your heart.
Day 5: Visit Rodrigo’s home in metro Manila
You return to the same centre for a second full day with the children, joining them in classes, playing games, serving their lunchtime meal.
In the afternoon, you walk to visit Rodrigo, one of the sponsored children, in his home with the centre staff. His home is hidden off an alleyway, in the groundfloor of a concrete mountain. Families have claimed their territory by partitioning rooms with plywood and curtains. The home where Rodrigo lives with his parents and two sisters is not much bigger than a cupboard; at night, his father sleeps stretched out on the floor with his head resting on a small wooden stool in the alleyway. There isn’t enough floorspace for him to sleep entirely in the home.
Back at the hotel that night, in your debrief of the day, you share about the physical and emotional claustrophobia that poverty can bring. You tell your group about Rodrigo’s shy smile and his sisters’ faces when you gave them some hair ribbons. As you go to bed, you say a prayer for their family—and so many others like them.
Day 6: A day at the Child Survival Program
You drive to visit a Child Survival Program. The chaos of the city gives way to a suburban setting. When you arrive, the registered mothers are gathered in small groups, bouncing their babies on their knees and discussing a Bible passage. Your group spreads out and sits, not wanting to interrupt.
After prayers, the mothers break and come back to the mats on the floor with you. Lots of smiles and nods—and cuddles!—and then the instructor begins sharing about bathing a baby, using a doll and a small plastic tub. She gives the mothers the opportunity to practise and ask questions.
A few of the mothers share their testimonies of daily life before and after they became involved at the church, with a simplicity that belies their hardship. They emphasise their sense of belonging to the program, the peace that prayer now brings them, the hope that they have dared to dream over their babies. It seems fragile, this hope, but later, as you think about it and debrief with your group, the picture that comes to you is of slender saplings—bending with the wind but not breaking, putting down unseen roots.
Day 7: Visit Hannah, your sponsored child
The day you’ve been waiting for the most, ever since you saw the Philippines Insight Trip on the Compassion website and thought, “I wonder…”
It’s actually a wonderful thing that you’ll get to visit Hannah at her centre; from what your field experience coordinator has told you, it isn’t always possible logistically.
Hannah is waiting, holding her mother’s hand tightly. You approach them slowly, with tears burning at the back of your throat. She’s so small and you just want to give her a hug. You kneel down and say hello; she grips her mother’s hand. You greet Hannah’s mum, who smiles and murmurs to her daughter to say hello.
Other children are running and laughing, stopping suddenly to wave and then dashing away. You only have eyes for Hannah. You bring out a little book of photos you’ve brought, and soon she’s flipping through, laughing at the picture of your puppy and exclaiming at a photo of your daughter taken back when she was the same age.
Her mum shares how your support has enabled her to enroll Hannah at school, buy her new shoes and uniforms. She says her daughter’s dream is to be a teacher. It’s humbling and hard to fathom how a small gift can make such a profound difference in a little girl’s life.
Day 8: Debrief Day
As your trip winds down, you spend the day as a team, discussing all that you’ve seen and done (or as much as you feel comfortable sharing, anyway) and talking about what to expect as you travel home. As you laugh and cry and pray together, you look around the room and feel blessed to have had met such friends on the journey.
Your field experience leader reminds you that you need to buy souvenirs for your friends and family! Fortunately the staff have organised a trip to the local markets, where you can browse and wander, soak up the atmosphere and buy a few small items for your loved ones back at home.
Your last dinner is with the Compassion Philippines staff who have been your constant companions throughout. As you say goodnight, you struggle to think of the right words to thank them for all they’ve done for the group. They’ve helped without hesitation, never tiring, and they graciously wave away your thanks.
Day 9: Arrive home!
What a feeling to see your family, and give them a huge hug! You’re tired but eager to share your experiences. You say goodbye to the group as some of them head for the domestic transfer gate; you’re happy you will speak to them again soon as part of your debrief.
You rest your head on the back of the car seat and gaze out the window. Your home town looks just as it did when you left. One thing’s for sure: your home might not have changed, but you certainly have.
Compassion Philippines in pictures
- Return international economy class airfares from Sydney
- Travel Insurance
- All in-country transportation costs
- All costs associated with visas
- All in-country accommodation based on twin share
- All in-country meals including daily bottled water
- Sponsored child fun-day venue costs and visits to any tourist attractions
- Preparing-to-go training series, to help you get the most from your experience
Each Insight Trip cost is subject to airfares and exchange rate fluctuations. The final price will be advised once airfares have been confirmed (approximately six months prior to departure).
Your Australian Field Experience leader will be:
Ian Stanfield, Field Experience Coordinator
Compassion staff for nine years in June 2017. Coordinated short-term missions for more than 20 years as a senior pastor.
"What I really love is seeing people become like Jesus—going on a trip with Compassion is a good way to watch that happen."
Ian Stanfield will play a key role in preparing your group in the weeks before you set off on your trip, and ensure you have opportunities to get to know each other.
The group will also be hosted by local Compassion staff upon arrival, who will arrange local transport and meals and will be your guides, translators and friends as you travel.
‘Preparing to Go’ video series
Ensure you get the most from your trip by joining our ‘Preparing to Go’ training series. When you embark on a Compassion field experience, it’s much more than just a visit to see Compassion at work. It’s a chance for God to impact lives and for you to learn more about God’s heart for the poor. The ‘Preparing to Go’ video and discussion series will help prepare your heart and head for what’s to come.
Not-included in Insight Trip cost
- Travel from your hometown to group departure point in Sydney
- Travel documents such as your passport
- Immunisations (it is each traveller's responsibility to seek relevant medical advice prior to leaving Australia)
- Excess baggage fees, including fees related to exceeding weight limits or number of pieces allowed
- Additional snacks, mini-bar, shopping, gifts for your sponsored child or souvenirs purchased in-country
- Internet, phone calls or laundry services while traveling
- Additional travel at the conclusion of the Insight Trip. Some travellers choose to stay on and make their own arrangements to travel privately before returning to Australia. Compassion partners with Escape Travel, an Australian-based provider that can assist you with personal travel arrangements if needed.
You will be issued with two invoices to cover the total cost of this Field Experience:
Invoice one will be for the payments below. Each payment will be listed as a separate item on the invoice with its own due date.
- Payment one: $300 per person, which is your deposit and must be paid by the due date on the invoice to secure your place on the Field Experience.
- Payment two: the bulk of the Field Experience costs, due approximately six months before departure.
- Payment three: the balance of your Field Experience package, due approximately three months before departure (if you qualify for the early-bird discount, this balance will be reduced accordingly).
- Invoice two is for any additional costs related to visiting your sponsored child, and will be sent out one or two months before departure. If you do not incur any additional costs outside of the planned Field Experience, you will not receive invoice two.
- Invoice one will be for the payments below. Each payment will be listed as a separate item on the invoice with its own due date.
You will be provided with a Traveller Agreement, which includes all terms and conditions to be examined and confirmed prior to departure.
Key aspects of this Field Experience information include:
- Child Protection
- Media/Image capture and use
- Health and Safety (including immunisations and pre-existing medical conditions)
- Travel Documentation
- Travel Insurance
- Acknowledgement and Release
- Insight Trip deposits ($300 per person) are nonrefundable
- Fifty percent of the Insight Trip cost will be required for cancellations less than three months before departure
- One hundred percent of the Insight Trip cost will be required for cancellations less than one month before departure
- Although rare, in the event that Compassion feels it is necessary to cancel a trip, a full refund will be given to all travellers