Michell and Dina’s Spaghetti-Fest for the Homeless


Like many cities and towns across the Philippines, Dumaguete has it’s fair share of poor and homeless adults and – more breathtakingly – children.  You’ll see the true level of poverty and helplessness pretty much as soon as you land in the country, with Manila possessing some truly massive squatter areas that survive off of the monstrous city landfills.  For even a Westerner visiting for the first time, it can be a truly heartbreaking experience, and it’s usually about this time that our world-view starts to shift a bit in perspective and we begin to appreciate and be grateful for a lot of things we have previously taken for granted.

This past Saturday night, Michell, Dina, Cory and I were out having dinner at Kamalig Restaurant.  About halfway into to my sizzling squid and second (or third) Pilsen, Michell and Dina announced that they were planning on cooking up a spaghetti dinner and feeding some homeless kids.  It came as a surprise to me, as it was the first I had heard of it.  Michell and Dina then went on to say that they would do all the work buying everything that was needed and do all the work cooking it up – they just wanted to use my rarely-used Mitsubishi Pajero to distribute it.  

Cool, I thought – these are some righteous women.

So, a few days later, Dina and Michell met up in town and with their own money purchased 3 kilograms of spaghetti, 5 kilograms of sauce, 1 kilogram of ground pork, 60 Styrofoam trays, 12 loaves of bread, one big block of Eden cheese, a few bundles of platic forks and 60 containers of fruit punch “bags o’ juice.”.  They brought it all back to the house, fired up the stove and started cooking up bubbling cauldrons of spaghetti goodness while Cory and I pretty much lazed about the house. (I actually went to the gym…)

Once the cooking was done, Michell and Dina waited for it to cool and ladled the spaghetti into the trays, covering it with sauce, cooked pork, and a nice yummy layer of Eden cheese.  The trays were then boxed up and placed in the Pajero.  Once fully loaded with tasty comestibles, we fired up the truck and headed out.

Once in town, we stopped the truck and Dina and Michell passed out the trays to those in need by the central park, the old church on Perdices street, a side road by Lee Plaza, along the boulevard and finally, down by the port, where a number of street kids are known to hang out. 

Old Church on Perdices Street
A Rotonda in Quezon Park
Down by the Boulevard




By Lee Plaza
By Church on Perdices
The Boulevard




Dumaguete Port




To tell you the truth, Cory and I were exhausted after a few hours of trying to keep up with the two of them as they carted boxes of trays all over the city and passed them out. We were all feeling pretty good about what we were doing until we got to the port to pass out the last of the trays.  There, Michell and Dina were talking in rapid fire Bisaya with a young girl with blondish hair and a blue and white shirt.  From their expressions, I knew it wasn’t good.  And it was only a bit later as we were driving home that I heard the rest of that story – the girl’s mom was a prostitute and she had pretty much given away or abandoned all the girl’s other brothers and sisters.  The little girl pretty much lived down by the port along with some other homeless street kids, and they just tried to get by any way the could.

Shit like that hits me right in the chest.  Sure, giving food to the hungry is a good thing, but couldn’t we be doing more to give just one of these kids a better life?  Options and possibilities rapidly churn through one’s mind when thinking of such things….  

Anyways, that’s just me.   

A special thanks to Dina and Michell for coming up with this idea and doing all the work to realize it’s happy conclusion.  You both rawk!!

NOTE:  I also took a lot of video of them cooking up the fest and passing it out.  I will probably be putting that footage up over the weekend.  

Take care ya’all!!





  1. As usual ….good job boys and girls…I would expect nothing less from you…I sincerely hope that one day Judith and I can be there to help….the kids just and what they go through just hit you hard…

  2. Just remember that no good deed goes unpunished! AHAHAHA But seriously, It was really very caring and kindhearted of the girls to spend a day helping others like that. I am sure it was a win win situation for all involved. And maybe someday, some of the recipients of the meals will be able to “play it forward”. On the lighter side of things, maybe you should have a contest to create a caption for for my fav pic above – the one with Michelle holding the box of food with the ocean in the background. I am sure we could come up with some really funny ones. HAHAHA

    1. LOL- that reminds me – I have to check if you need permits for passing out food like this. I’d had to be in the Dumaguete jail and having to explain to my “bunkies” why I was there….

  3. Unfortunately, many expats and Westerners get a lot of bad press for their womanizing, drinking, and other bad behavior. So, it is really refreshing to see articles like this – where we can make a positive difference in peoples lives – with even a simple gesture like an unexpected meal cooked with a lot of love! Maybe this article will inspire others to help in some small way also.

    1. Good points, Lee. There are actually a good number of charitable organizations in the Phils where foreigners are trying to make a difference. They just don’t get the press – you usually only hear about the foreigners in the press here when they’ve done something wrong.

  4. God bless you all for your compassion. I really want to do my part when I get there, especially with the street orphans, but worry about the effects of the law on children and foreigners so will need to really study up and be very careful. Makes me angy what the sicko Sexpats have wrought.

    When Jackie and I were in the Philippines in 2004 the poverty made me angry and I think that anger has resulted in a desire to focus on a few, but make the effort significant in the lives of those few.

    Hope to be there about August 2016 and we look forward to meeting you and Michell.


    1. I hear you. I ALWAYS have Michell with me and doing all the interactions. Being alone with a kid is actually against the law here and – like you said – we can thank the sexpat freaks for that. Thanks, Gary.

      1. I was recently in Bacolod for a month .I am glad you mentioned the law about foreigners and the law regarding children. I almost took my friends two little Nieces to the rooftop pool at L Fisher alone. I’m sickened by the way some of these crazies have acted . They’ve made it hard for other truly kind hearted expatriates.

  5. You guys are cool. When it’s from the heart, it’s very cool!! Benevolence is a wonderful thing when you are helping those in need. I can feel it just by watching you videos, more over, it shows that you guys are an active an integral part of your community and that you care.

  6. Breaks your heart when you can’t change the world into what you believe it should be. All we can do is a little bit. Namaste’

  7. Ned and Michell, after watching your video and reading this article, I feel guilty about not giving to the kids the last time I visited Dumaguete in October 2013. One young boy even said ‘boang-boang’ which means asking silly in English. I was born in Dumaguete so I coldness makes it especially worse. Anyway, I want to do good deeds and give back to the community of which I am from. Your article has enlightened me and when I retire to Dumaguete in four years, I want to be able to do what I can to help my countrymen, katagilungsod. On another topic, looking forward to seeing some of Michell’s young lady friends, higala batan-ong babaye, on Michell TV. Looking for a Cebuana who can expand my vocabulary and a familiarity with Negros Island, Northern Mindanao, and Cebu Island. Gikan sa kamintang tawo – from a bachelor.

  8. Oh, gee! You’re really rich to afford food for children on the street. Feeding children who are homeless is not easy in the Philippines and the fact that you can do that, you have more than enough.
    Thanks, keep on doing it.

  9. Ned, I am late seeing this but wanted to comment. Are Dina and Michelle still doing this? If so, I would like to kick in a few bucks to help.
    Greg Hinton

    1. Not really, Layne. There are a lot of children in her situation all around the world. Poverty is horrible, but its at its worse when we see it affecting children. I guess the best that you (or any of us) can do is simply do what you can when you can.

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