When Crossfitters goes out of the Box: A Different Kind of Gawad Kalinga Volunteer Work

Crossfit people are always mistaken as body builders. We are not! But probably, we are, in a different sense. We work out to build a stronger body for overall functional fitness which would allow us to be useful in the individual lives we live outside the box. I have been doing Crossfit for more than a year. And I am a proud member as we celebrate its first anniversary.

To celebrate its first anniversary, one of our Crossfit Coaches Matt Makalintal and his wife Lady together with Ann (another box legend who makes working out fun) thought of doing something different . “Body Builders becomes Nation Builders!.” They invited everyone to a Gawad Kalinga (GK) volunteer work.

On the early morning of Saturday, February 25, twenty-four Crossfit Libis members and coaches left the box and traveled all the way to Angat, Bulacan.

I wore comfortable jeans, cotton shirt and sneakers as I imagined that we will be doing some paintwork, plant and landscape a village, carry hollow blocks and put them all together to build a house. That would be defined as a relaxing activity comparing it with the high-intensity heavy workouts we do at Crossfit.

My peg and what I envisioned we'll be doing for the day.


As we entered the place, we were welcomed by a signage which says “Enchanted Farm”.

Wow! I didn’t know it was totally different from the usual GK communities I have seen in the pictures. Building a house is not what GK is all about, it is more than that….

Here is an excerpt from their website on what GK is all about:

Gawad Kalinga

Building communities to end poverty.


Gawad Kalinga is building a nation

empowered by people with faith and patriotism;

a nation made up of caring and sharing communities,

dedicated to eradicate poverty and restore human dignity.


Ending poverty for 5 million poor families by 2024:

Land for the Landless.

Homes for the Homeless.

Food for the Hungry.

The day started with a brief introduction about GK and the GK Enchanted Farm by Rabbi and the rest of his team.

Now, I am not that lost about what we are about to do…Before I share with you what we actually did, let me share some info I learned about GK and the farm:

GK Enchanted Farm is the canvas for Gawad Kalinga’s second phase of the 2024 road map to end poverty in the Philippines. The 14-hectare land used to be idle and unproductive. It is what’s left after the topmost portion of the property was used to reclaim the place where a big mall was built years ago.

The area is currently being transformed into a landscape of vast potential that will sustain communities for generations to come. The work started one and a half years ago and the ground works have been set. It actually looks like a five-year worth of work already. But they say they are not even at 10 percent of what they envision the Enchanted Farm to be.

Basically, they are looking at three areas in developing the Enchanted Farm

1) Build Village Universities which will be connected to the communities

As of now, the children of the families living inside go to a public school nearby.

There are about 40 families already residing in the area. This is one of the houses we passed by when we toured the place.

2) Establish a Silicon Valley for social entrepreneurship where young entrepreneurs are provided a supportive business ecosystem and an enabling environment to help them launch Filipino brands

The farm produces artisan chocolates laced with exotic flavors like labuyo and green mango, gourmet cheese from goat and carabao’s milk, yellow salted eggs instead of the traditional red and the health drink called Enchantea from lemon grass and other indigenous ingredients, Human Nature health and beauty products all made from organic sources.

Setting up the production sites for this within the Enchanted Farm is already helping provide jobs to the people living inside the Farm and its neighboring communities.

At the Souvenir Shop where you can buy produce from the Farm. A GK Volunteer talks about the products while CF peeps do the shopping

Bamboo Bike-It is simply amazing!

3) Create Disneyland for social tourism in which visitors from other parts of the Philippines and abroad can get a first-hand experience of the Gawad Kalinga community, and gain insight to the social problems that face millions of Filipinos.

They already have some European visitors immersing themselves with the Community. At that time, some Lasallians are also having their team building and immersion (I heard the Ateneans were also there last week).

an "Expat" Construction Worker from Europe and the Crossfit Bods from Libis!

As Crossfitters, we do not only go to the box to do our own workout. It has been a Crossfit culture that we encourage and push each other during each WOD. We do the WOD and stay in the box to help each other. Each member supports each other as we struggle in finishing the Wod, as we try to break our own personal record, as we try to be better in our workouts. That is what happens inside the BOX.

This is what happened, when we went outside the BOX.


GK WOD-AMRAP (As many repetitions as Possible) until 3pm

Exercise 1: Dig the Soil

Exercise 2: Shovel the Soil

Exercise 3: Pack into a 8kg sack for Girls, minimum 16kg++ for boys

Exercise 4: Carry sack and sprint downhill to the GK huts

Exercise 5: Rest Intervals – Cut the Grass, Clean the Area, Level the soil

Exercise 6: Sprint Uphill

Back to EXERCISE 1

Rest Interval: Coach Pau eating Suman while we work. Joke! We had Organic Suman for merienda (a produce from the farm) enough to load us up for the next repetitions.

After lunch, we decided to scale down the workout.

First, the boys found a trolley with no front wheels 🙂

And then Noel's pick up. Easy? Not! We added weights to the sack instead.

They say Crossfit is NOT YOUR ORDINARY WORKOUT! I guess, we live up to that expectation, it was NOT YOUR ORDINARY GK VOLUNTEER WORK!

We left the place wasted, sore, sunburned. Yet, we are happy knowing that in our little way, we helped build a Nation!

The Bamboo Palace – Our Finished Product! :)

We are not just crossfitters who work out. We are crossfitters who work out to help!

So, what happens outside the box again? The Culture remains – We work out, we challenge ourselves, we encourage and push, we struggle, we succeed, we help each other, we always try to be better individuals – as one COMMUNITY!

A breathtaking view at the Enchanted Farm, just have to capture before we leave....and reflect on it...When the leaves fall off, the flowers bloom. When sweat drips, a change transpires....Bloom with us, let the sweat fall off. Join us at Crossfit! http://www.crossfitmnl.com

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