The Phillippines

The “most impactful project ever” 

Avolon + Cebu Pacific Airlines | City Gates Academy

Committing to Corporate Social Responsibility


They were supposed to build a climbing frame, some shaded seating, and revamp the kitchen. They actually built the climbing frame, a play bridge, garden planters, a barbecue and a seesaw, and fitted a new kitchen and some bookshelves. All in 40-degree heat, and in a day.

In addition, for their Splash Project, the 50 participants from Avolon and Cebu Pacific Airlines brought a bag of toys and books each to give to the children. 

The recipient organisation was the City Gates Academy, which provides educational programmes to children in economically deprived communities across the Philippines. And the project site was the NGO’s community centre and church near the city of Danoa in Cebu. 

Splash Projects Project Manager, Pete Simmons, described the project as the “most impactful” he’d ever been on.

“I learnt when we were there that around half-a-dozen kids stay at the centre overnight, most nights, due to parents either working or not being able to look after their children due to drink or drug addictions. So, every night, either Helbert or Carole, who run the centre, or another volunteer, stay overnight to look after them. 

“This is going way beyond what the centre is set up to do, which is currently to deliver a feeding programme and to act as a day care for younger children.  

“I was in awe of Helbert and Carole who didn’t ask for anything, were so helpful to us throughout, and for whom nothing was too much trouble when it came to the kids; they play with them, feed them, wash them and put them to sleep.” 

Splash Projects provide learning and development for individuals and teams giving businesses the chance to fulfil their corporate, social responsibility goals and give back to their communities.  

The participants worked hard in searing heat to transform a grassy space into a play zone and shaded seating area the children and community can thrive in. 

Pete was so blown away by the hard work of Helbert and Carole, and the desperate need for social development facilities at the centre, that everyone went above and beyond to do more than what we set out to do there. 

“We over-delivered to give them as much as we possibly could,” continued Pete. “Every off-cut of wood was turned into something; for example, we turned a dozen tyres into a wobbly bridge; we doubled the size of the sand pit; we built them a mud kitchen; brought a projector over to create an indoor cinema, and created a climbing wall with 20 or so holds I brought with me from home.

“If you saw the kids’ faces when they saw what we’d built for them, you’d know exactly why we did this.

“They were so excited they tried to jump on everything and play with everything throughout the build, so this was a challenge! They’re so imaginative, they’ll turn anything into something to play with.”

Both Avolon, Cebu Airlines and Splash made a donation to the charity to provide food for the children for a couple of months after our departure.

“There were tears among the participants at the end of the day,” added Pete. “So we did our job!

“For me, it was the most humbling and impactful project I’ve ever done with Splash.”