• Filipino children in the village of Armenia in the Tarlac region of the Philippines standby and wait April 8, to receive donated clothes, toys and linen from U.S. servicemembers and members of the Philippine Army during Balikatan 2011. Balikatan means "shoulder to shoulder in Tagalog and is an annual Republic of the Philippines and United States bilateral military humanitarian assistance and training exercise that takes place in the Philippines. The training helps maintain readiness and sustain the long-term security assistance relationship shared between the two countries.

    Children standby to receive clothes and toys

    Filipino children in the village of Armenia in the Tarlac region of the Philippines standby and wait April 8, to receive donated clothes, toys and linen from U.S. servicemembers and members of the Philippine Army during Balikatan 2011. Balikatan means...

  • U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and members of the Philippine Army unload donated items April 8, 2011, in Barangay Armenia in the Tarlac region of the Philippines, during Exercise Balikatan 2011. The four remote Barangays that received the donations were Armenia, San Jose De Urquico, Maasin Pura and San Carlos. Balikatan means "shoulder to shoulder in Tagalog and is an annual Republic of the Philippines and United States bilateral military humanitarian assistance and training exercise that takes place in the Philippines. The training helps maintain readiness and sustain the long-term security assistance relationship shared between the two countries.

    Philippine and US service members unload donated items

    U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and members of the Philippine Army unload donated items April 8, 2011, in Barangay Armenia in the Tarlac region of the Philippines, during Exercise Balikatan 2011. The four remote Barangays that received the donations...

  • Master Sgt. Carlos Cano III, of the 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, based at Fort Shafter, Hawaii (right), and two members of the Philippine Army, hand out donated toys to the children of Barangay Armenia April 8, 2011, at Armenia Elementary School, Tarlac, Philippines. U.S. servicemembers and members of the Philippine Army teamed together to pass out clothes, linen and toys to residents of the Barangays Armenia, San Jose De Urquico, Maasin Pura, and San Carlos during exercise Balikatan 2011.

    Philippine and US service members hand out toys

    Master Sgt. Carlos Cano III, of the 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, based at Fort Shafter, Hawaii (right), and two members of the Philippine Army, hand out donated toys to the children of Barangay Armenia April 8, 2011...

  • Maj. Iven Sugai (left) with U.S. Army Pacific, unloads clothes while U.S. servicemembers and members of the Philippine Army hand out donations of clothes, linen and toys to residents of Barangay Armenia while at Armenia Elementary School, Philippines, April 8, 2011, during Exercise Balikatan 2011. Balikatan means "shoulder to shoulder in Tagalog and is an annual Republic of the Philippines and United States bilateral military humanitarian assistance and training exercise that takes place in the Philippines. The training helps maintain readiness and sustain the long-term security assistance relationship shared between the two countries.

    US Soldiers pass out clothing donations

    Maj. Iven Sugai (left) with U.S. Army Pacific, unloads clothes while U.S. servicemembers and members of the Philippine Army hand out donations of clothes, linen and toys to residents of Barangay Armenia while at Armenia Elementary School, Philippines...

CLARK FIELD, Philippines -- United States servicemembers joined members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines April 8, 2011, in making donations to four villages in the Tarlac region of the Philippines as a show of good will during exercise Balikatan 2011.

U.S. servicemembers with the help of their Armed Forces of the Philippines, or AFP, counterparts identified six Barangays (villages), that were in need of some support. The U.S. forces collected donated material and with the help of the AFP passed out 39 goodwill boxes consisting of clothes, toys, bedding, towels and house wares to each of the Barangays, according to 1st Lt. Fernando Isip, of U.S. Army Pacific's Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, Fort Shafter, Hawaii.

For many of the U.S. servicemembers, it was a humbling experience to be on scene and see first hand the appreciation of the donations that they brought with them.

"It feels great to be out here with anyone that is in need," said Master Sgt. Carlos Cano III of the 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, Fort Shafter. "We tend to take some things for granted and here you realize something as small as a used toy means so much to the children."

Many of the children were happy and eager at the chance to acquire a new toy.

"A smile on a child's face is always a good thing," added Cano.

For some of the U.S. military, this was a trip home for the first time in years and was a very worthwhile event.

"This has personally been a humbling experience for me because I grew up about one hour from here," added Isip. "To be part of the U.S. forces, lead this community event and witness how we assist the Philippine government in every means whether training the Philippine Army or doing humanitarian relief is truly a great experience for me."

Philippine Army members were happy to work with the U.S. forces, but even happier to help their more remote communities.

"I'm happy to be out here to show our love and compassion for our remote Barangays in Tarlac," said Lt. Col. Cupid Ortiz of the Philippine Army. "I believe the people will appreciate the men in uniform for this effort."

U.S. servicemembers and members of the AFP have been training and working side-by-side for this exercise and have benefited from it greatly.

"This exercise has been great because both U.S. and AFP troops have been encouraged to mingle together as part of increasing our interoperability experience," added Ortiz.

Balikatan is a regularly scheduled exercise focusing on interoperability of forces and training and assistance in humanitarian and civic assistance operations.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16