August 17, 2021
“Instagrammable” vaccination venue isn’t just for selfies
By Joy Rojas
For the essentials workers, foreign nationals, company employees, and private individuals who availed of Tzu Chi Foundation’s vaccination program against COVID-19 in July and August, the convenient process of getting their two doses of Sinovac vaccine isn’t the only thing they’ll remember about the experience.
Tzu Chi’s vaccination venue certainly leaves a lasting memory. Sprawling grounds, lush trees, a lotus pond, and various points of interest that include a café made of recycled materials and oriental-inspired buildings make the Buddhist Tzu Chi Campus (BTCC) in Sta. Mesa, Manila, an ideal location for many reasons. Besides the wide, well-ventilated spaces that can comfortably accommodate huge groups, BTCC has enough places for vaccines and their companions to sit back and relax.
It’s also proven to be quite the backdrop for many a selfie, judging by the way people automatically whip out their cellphones and take a posterity shot. After the vaccination photo wall, popular places to snap a photo, whether solo or with family and friends, are at the café, the lotus pond, and the Jing Si Abode, a mini replica of the one in Hualien, Taiwan. Tzu Chi volunteers and followers around the world know it as “the home for heart and soul.”
“‘Instagrammable,’” was how Jay-Ar de Jesus, admin assistant of Teh Hsin Enterprise Philippines Corporation, described BTCC. “It’s beautiful and peaceful. If you’re an environment lover, you will appreciate it here.”
Picture-perfect setting that it is, BTCC serves a greater purpose. It houses the Buddhist Tzu Chi Eye Center, where doctors attend to patients using state-of-the-art optical equipment and a world-class operating room. Livelihood programs for machining, sewing, caregiving, welding, BPO training, and other vocational courses are taught at BTCC to volunteers and students alike, with a TESDA certificate presented to them upon completion.
BTCC also has a bakery and kitchen, where sweet and savory treats are made to help raise funds, as well as a recycling station, which supports Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s call to care for the environment. It was also the venue for a number of relief distributions of rice and groceries for sectors severely affected by the pandemic, such as blind massage therapists and tricycle drivers.
That’s something visitors can think about the next time they snap a selfie at BTCC: This “Instagrammable” venue helps improves lives too.