A virtual trip to Butuan

We spent the second week of our celebratory virtual trip in Butuan, to learn more about the education centre and to meet one very special student who lives there: Rhyme Ignilan.


On Monday we moved from Cebu to Butuan, to discover all about a new region of the Philippines and, of course, a new education centre! Butuan is located in the South of the Philippines, on the Mindanao island. While the city is ethnically quite diverse, most of the inhabitants are part of the Visaya ethnic group.

The region of Caraga is located Northeast of the Island and most of its universities are in Butuan. While the region is home to 2.5 million people, it is also one of the poorest of the country, with 30% of its population living below the poverty threshold.


To enable local students coming from poor families to access university, Children of the Mekong opened an education centre in Butuan in June of 2002. While it started with only 18 students, the centre has been expanding ever since and now houses 29 young adults. While state-run universities are free in the Philippines, the cost of studying goes beyond tuition fees. Indeed, housing and day to day costs often prevent the poorest students from attending as they are too heavy a financial burden for their families to manage.

The centre grants these young people a living and studying environment that enables them to succeed at university. Finally, beyond their schooling, the goal is to provide them with a complete human training so that they can build themselves intellectually, emotionally and morally in order to achieve human excellence.

The educational act goes far beyond simple schooling; Children of the Mekong’s ambition is to educate the mind, the heart and the body.


We would like to introduce Rhyme Ignilan to you! The young Filipino is 19 and after living for 18 years in Afga, a poor area of the country, he recently moved to the Butuan education centre to pursue a bachelor’s in civil engineering. His motivation and dedication to education are apparent when he recalls the 4h round trip to go to school. We admire Rhyme’s determination and wisdom: he shows no resentment towards were he comes from, rather enthusiastically takes his life into his own hand and gives himself the means to succeed through hard work. Rhyme is ready to fight for his dreams, and his goal is to be able to help his family and build them a new house, as well as help other students facing the same challenges as him. He says having a sponsor has motivated him to share his knowledge and love.

Supporting young and talented people like Rhyme is our core value, granting him access to education allows him not only to better himself but also to improve his environment and his community!

The second week of our virtual trip came to an end when we shared the full video introducing our education centre in Butuan as well as Rhyme, the outstanding student we had met the day before. We hope you enjoy it!