Last September 10, Batch Bahandi’s Sarimanok graciously soared to take part in Love Yourself’s roost. They are the 37 new recruits who underwent a thorough screening process to complete this year’s 3rd set of volunteers.
This 2016, LoveYourself kick-started the assimilation of concepts from the three main island groups of the Philippines (LuzViMinda) in coming up with batch names for the new volunteers. This rebranding reflects LoveYourself’s intent to promote patriotism and tolerate diversity among its volunteers. This trend took off with Kinaadman (Cebuano for “wisdom”) to represent Visayas, followed by Magayon (Bicolano for “beautiful”) to embody Luzon and finally capped by Bahandi to signify Mindanao.
Bahandi, the chosen batch name for the new set of volunteers, actually came from Pamahandi, a lower god of the Higaunon people of Northern Mindanao, who is believed to have dominion over treasures and properties. From Pamahandi came the word Bahandi, a Cebuano term, denoting treasure, riches or fortune. From this concept, LoveYourself aims to highlight its volunteers, who are considered as its priceless treasures in creating positive ripples of change.
The Sarimanok, the popular fowl of legendary origins, was chosen as the representation for Batch Bahandi. It comes from the words “sari”, which is a garment of assorted colors and “manok”, which means a chicken. With its multi-colored wings and plumage, the sarimanok is often depicted with a fish in its beak or talons, which it considers as its prized possession, its treasure. The Maranao people of western Mindanao consider this fabled bird to represent good fortune, linking the logo with the batch name Bahandi. Its colourful feathers also depict the individuality of its volunteers, noting that each one is talented in their own right and that every bit of contribution complements the various colours in the whole picture that is LoveYourself.
Safety in Numbers
With the addition of 37 recruits, LoveYourself has increased its numbers to over 600. And just last August, 17 volunteers completed the trainings to become full-fledged HIV counsellors, pushing the total number to over 300. Batch Bahandi will be given the opportunity to undergo training to become counsellors and then to move further up as life coaches by taking the NEX+ CHAP+ER program.
Volunteers, old and new alike, are encouraged to help man its 2 clinics (LoveYourself Anglo at Shaw and LoveYourself Uni at Taft) and to engage in the various committees of the organization. As LoveYourself aims to widen the scope of its advocacy, the organization looks back and highlights the importance of its volunteers. It aspires to fortify the bond between the volunteers to further solidify its foundation for a stable expansion. For LoveYourself volunteers throughout the years will all agree, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”