Hospicio de San Jose

Article by: Jin Sun Park

Hospicio de San Jose is the oldest Catholic welfare institution in the Philippines. Founded in 1810, it serves as a home for people of all ages, from infancy to elderly. It is surrounded by the Pasig River and is around a one and half hour bus ride from ISM. Its core values include commitment to Vincentian service, family-orientated, innovative, and spiritually rooted.

Senior Kamilla Jamal explains that Hospicio is different from other ICARE sites because “with Hospicio, we not only interact with one specific age group, but with all of them. We don’t just see these orphaned children but we actually play with them and it’s this kind of personal connection that helps us want to give back more”.

On the first day, ISM interacted with elderly women though icebreakers, playing bingo, and giving gifts. Upon arriving, we were welcomed with warm smiles and greetings from these ladies. ISM students partnered up one-on-one with these women to get to know them better. My partner was Nena Javier, a 93-year-old former pharmacist who recited to me a poem entitled “Moonglow”, which she wrote shortly after college. In a few short hours, we were able to experience the wisdom of these women in the form of life stories and life lessons.

On the second day, we split into groups of two to set up Family Fun Day style booths for the children. Booths themes included manicures, tattoos, pinball, origami, Christmas cards, paper airplanes, photo booth, and more. Babies, children, and caretakers gathered to enjoy a morning of games, food, as well as the amusement of senior Bar Abudi dressed up as Santa Claus to hand out presents and candy to the children.

Senior Jazi Mamaril believes that “although the time we spent at Hospicio was short, I still felt as though I was able to get the full ICARE experience, that is, giving back to the community in the form of our time and sincerity”.