October 21, 2022
KUBO Jun will never forget the kindness his Filipino friends showed him while he was in the Philippines three years ago as a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) volunteer for the first time.
During his stay in the Philippines, he has met Filipinos who became his friends taking him to family events like birthdays and fiestas. That started his exposure to Filipino culture and customs. "Every day, they will teach me a thing or two about the Philippines," KUBO recalled.
"I have been waiting for the opportunity to repay the kindness I received from Filipinos that time. Filipino hospitality became the power that moved me to return as a volunteer again," said KUBO.
KUBO is among the first batch of JICA volunteers to return to the Philippines when the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) Program resumed here after two years of COVID-19 pandemic. A graduate of Waseda University in Tokyo, KUBO loves making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities (PWDs) working as a teacher and life care support staff for PWDs in Amagasaki City in Hyogo Prefecture. "My job then was to expand the possibilities for PWDs which is also going to be similar to my volunteer assignment here in the Philippines."
In Leganes, Iloilo, where he will work with the Association of Differently-Abled Persons in Iloilo Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ADPIMPC), KUBO said, "I want to help them connect to non-government organizations, small enterprises, and other similar organizations."
ADPIMPC is composed of about 140 PWD-members. They create wood-based products like candleholders, coasters, paperholder, furniture, and other items, which they sell to the local market. KUBO will help develop a marketing plan for the group so they can increase their income and scale up the business.
"A number of Filipinos helped me when I was still new in the Philippines. They treated me like family and because of that I was able to experience and appreciate Filipino culture and customs," he said. "I think the Philippines is an attractive country and that it's a mixture of different influences from Asia, Europe, and the United States."
"Being a volunteer enriches one's life more than one can imagine and it also enriches the lives of those in the community," he said.
KUBO Jun (center) with members of ADPIMPC at their workshop in Leganes, Iloilo.