A group of foreign nationals calling themselves “The Real Expats of Dumaguete” recently donated some 500 helmets to pupils at Candau-ay Elementary School.
The group, which has been organizing charity activities throughout the Province, held the turnover of motorbike and cycling helmets through Ranelia Alvarez, Candau-ay School assistant principal.
The funds to purchase the helmets came from Andy Diamond, John Barr, and subscribers of the YouTube channel called Paul in the Philippines Old Dog New Tricks by content creator Paul McGill, one of the group’s founders.
The Expats of Dumaguete group said the helmet donation was their way of “giving back to the community” that welcomed them into the Philippines.
McGill said his group, The Real Expats of Dumaguete, consists of retired foreign nationals with varying backgrounds and home countries, who chose Dumaguete as their new home, in search for a better life.
The group has since pooled their resources to help fellow Filipinos as an expression of love for their second home in a new country, he added.
McGill traced the origins of the group to their identical concern over the behavior of some foreigners in Dumaguete who give other expatriates like them a bad name. “There’s really a minority of expats who put a bad name for us. Tiny squeaks are heard over large sounds, you know, [when] they’re extremely rude to servers, loud, and just overall rude,” he recalled. “When we formed the group we wanted to prove [to the community] that not all of us are like that—that we are the real expats of Dumaguete, and not like the other vocal small bunch,” McGill explained.
When he made videos with the other expats in Dumaguete, the group turned to running charity-related activities that were documented and uploaded to McGill’s channel.
“I love the Philippines and its people. I love their positivity and resilience despite the negativity, and I wanted to give back to that community, along with fellow expats. We decided to pool some resources to provide for what Filipinos find difficult to afford, though they can’t help it at times,” McGill said.
One of the members of the group initiated the idea of donating helmets to children, after witnessing local motorcyclists driving around with no protective headgear. He said he believed the lack of protection when riding motor vehicles was a threat to public safety, and could prove a danger to Dumagueteños in general.
The customized helmets were fitted and personalized with stickers of the expat group’s label, and with colored decals meant to appeal to the children.
The group said they hope to do more donation drives for the public soon, and are aiming to donate 1,000 more helmets to children around Dumaguete. (Regina Faye Lleno/SU Masscom intern)