Student Bios


TeresaTha thrillaaaa from Manilaaaa. In this corner, we have Teresa Cariño hailing from the University of San Francisco. She grew up in the seaside city of Pacifica and crossed the park to major in Theology and Religious studies with a minor in Catholic Studies and Social Thought. Growing up as the only child in her immediate family to be born in the United States, she wanted to come to the Philippines to learn about the country her family calls home. Her time in the Philippines is spent at the praxis site, Tahanan Walang Hagdanan (the House Without Steps). TWH is an organization and home that empowers people with disabilities. So far her time spent in the Philippines has been filled with laughter, struggles, challenges, joys, love, and bugs. She's anxiously excited for how her relationships and experiences over this semester will change her life (hopefully for the better). She also hopes to meet Manny Paquio.


Christina Uy!...Hey! I am a first year student at The University of San Franciso studying Fine Arts. The culture of the Philippines is very unique in my eyes, especially within my praxis site. My site is Gawad Kalinga- Tribu. One of their goals, besides rebuilding houses for the community members is to build strong communal relationships. I have already experienced community building in my praxis site and the Casa Bayanihan community. It is one thing I enjoy the most, the sense of community, hospitality of the Filipino people. They really welcome you as if you are family.


ConorHello! My name is Conor, but here in the Philippines I'm mostly known as C.J. I'm originally from outside Boston and attended Boston College High School, and now I'm a junior at Boston College studying English and Philosophy. Given this upbringing in Jesuit education, I have come to see both the classroom and the world around me as equally as important to my own education. Casa Bayanihan is firmly rooted to this approach to learning, so for that reason I am incredibly excited to be here. Already my classes at the Ateneo and my praxis site at Lingap Pangkabataan have introduced me to the reality of the Philippines. In the coming months, I hope to deepen in my understanding of this country and its culture, learn from its wonderful people, and grow in my own spirituality and self-awareness.


ErinHello! My name is Erin, or Irene as everyone here in the Philippines seems to pronounce it. I am studying English and Economics at Boston College and I am from southern New Hampshire. Here in the Philippines I am accompanying a family in Sitio Payong which is a squatter, farming community without water or electricity in the metro Manila area. I am looking forward to learning and living with the Filipino people and developing new and lasting relationships with my community here.


SaraMy name is Sarah Abigaile Estrada and I am a sophomore studying International Studies, with an emphasis on the Middle East and Cultures, Societies, and Values at the University of San Francisco. From San Jose, California and being of Filipino descent, my Casa Bayanihan experience so far has opened my eyes to the culture and lifestyle, from which I derive from and call my own. From this experience, I hope to gain a better understanding of the world in which I live in and a stronger sense of who I am called to be in this world.


SamanthaA big hello from the Philippines! My name is Samantha Allen and I am a junior studying Elementary Education and Philosophy at Boston College. I am beyond stoked to be with Casa Bayanihan in this beautiful country, where I have dreamed of coming for years. We have not been here for long, but I feel as if I've already experienced so much. I am so blessed to look forward to a semester full of sunshine, welcoming Filipino smiles, sweet mangos, sweeter people, stellar food, and piles of beauty. My praxis site is Lingap Pangkabataan, and I am already beginning to feel at home there. I hope to learn a little something about life while in the Philippines and open my heart to everything that it can possibly hold. I send my love and prayers to all! Ingat kayo!


JillianMahal from Manila! My name is Jillian Baker, and I'm a junior at Boston College majoring in Biology and Theology. I'm originally from Cincinnati, OH, but I'm already finding a home here in the Philippines. I'm falling in love with the constant smiles of the people, the sounds of the streets, the beauty of this country, and, of course, the delicious food (ob my goodness, the food!). My praxis site is Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, a center for people with disabilities. After figuring out how to pronounce the name, I've been able to focus fully on forming relationships with the incredible people there by cooking with families, conversing with workers, playing with the children, and learning from everyone. I can't wait to see how my relationships with my classmates, my Tahanang friends, and the Philippines itself grow over the next months.


JorgeAyo, my name is Jorge (don't you dare pronounce it as "George") and I'm an English major at Fordham University. I'm very excited to become a part of this wonderful Casa community and I'm not even going to bother complaining about missing New York's winter as I munch on mangos. I enjoy long walks on the beach (preferably during hurricane season), consuming all forms of prepared chicken, and reading or writing surrealistic poetry and fiction. In the Philippines, I hope to develop a better understanding of the world in which we live as I learn about true service and try to see through the eyes of others. I don't know why I'm here, but acknowledging that it feels right to be here is more than enough to satisfy me. I'd like to believe you learn to come to terms with taking chances in life if you give yourself the opportunity to do so. That being said, I'm all yours dear Philippines. Please bless me with a more constant presence of padded Jeepneys and guide me to a shop where I can find sandals my size.


KylaHi! My name is Kyla Santana and I am from a small town in the East Bay Area called Danville. I am a junior at the University of San Francisco majoring in Business and minoring in Music. My Casa Bayanihan experience has been exciting, challenging, eye opening, and humbling all at the same time. Building relationships with the people in Sitio Payong and Barangka, immersing myself in the culture of the Philippines, and spending time with the Casa Bayanihan community has been extremely gratifying. In the next few months, I hope to deepen my relationships with the Filipino people, see the world with an open heart and mind, and experience firsthand what it means to live in solidarity.


LaurynGreetings from the Philippines! Ako si Lauryn! I am a freshman Nursing student at the University of San Francisco, and I am originally from a small town in Northern California called Paradise. After less than a month here, I am already falling in love with the wonderful Casa Bayanihan community, the beautiful children at ANCOP, my praxis site, and the inspiring faith and resiliency of the Filipino people. Not to mention the delicious pancit and lumpia! During this semester, I hope to continue reflecting on and discovering what it means to fully live my favorite Pedro Arrupe quote: "Fall in love. Stay in love. It will decide everything."


GregoryHello from Manila! My name is Gregory Ouellette, and I am a junior Classics Major and Justice and Peace Studies Minor at Georgetown University, originally from Quincy, Massachusetts. Many experiences, including learning about social justice while in high school at BC High, attending the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice, participating in the Magis El Salvador Immersion and Justice Program, and taking Justice and Peace Studies classes, inspired me to attend Casa Bayanihan. Everyone here has been very welcoming, friendly, and gracious. I look forward to getting to know everyone here in my community, especially at Gawad Kalinga Tribu, my praxis site. I am excited to continue meeting amazing people, eating delicious food, seeing incredible sights, and developing relationships throughout this semester.


RayGreetings from the Philippines! I am currently a Sophomore at the University of San Francisco, where I am pursuing a Politics major. There is so much I love about living in the Philippines, the food, people, culture, riding jeepneys, learning Tagalog, basketball. The relationships I have made here and the communities that I have become a part of are already taking shape on my life. I have already experienced so much living in Casa Bayanihan, learning in the Sitio Payong community, studying at Ateneo de Manila University, and traveling the country. I look forward to the many more experiences to come, and sharing them with family, friends, and my USF community.


ChandlerMabuhay! Ako si Chandler Sinclair, I am originally from San Diego but now I am finding a new home here in the Philippines! I am a sophomore Finance major and minoring in Peace and Social Justice studies at the University of San Francisco. Having this opportunity to be apart of the Casa Bayanihan family and share in the experience to learn from and serve with the Filipino people has really allowed me to discover a new side of myself. I feel overjoyed with gratitude to be here and be apart of such a generous program. My praxis site is Lingap Pangkabataan, it is and nongovernment organization (NGO) that focus on the empowerment of children and their families through 3 main areas: micro-finance development, children learning center and mobile education unit. Working with Lingap is absolutely incredible, I can't wait grow within the Filipino community and build friendships.