THE first time 30-year old Milena Bozhkova visited the Philippines in 2015, she came as a volunteer in an orphanage in Olongapo City, managed by an Irish woman she met in a charity event in Ireland.
The kids she met and helped with in the center captured her heart.
Milena helped in taking care of about 25 children in the center that also served as a recovery home for those with ailments.
Born in Bulgaria and now residing in Northern Ireland, Milena grew up with the heart to serve. In the three weeks that she had stayed in Olongapo to help care for the kids in the center, she realized that it was not enough, and she vowed to come back with the intention of using her profession as a chef to help more kids not just in Olongapo, but also in some areas of Metro Manila.
Ten months later, armed with courage and determination, Milena came back to the Philippines.
Using her own funds, she organized charitable events to help street children in some areas of Manila. This time, she stayed for more than five months, working as a chef, along with other volunteers whose mission is to help alleviate hunger by initiating feeding programs and medical missions in Tondo, Manila.
During her stay, Milena cooked healthy food for the kids and adults they were helping. They made packed healthy food for street children around Manila. She was also one of the volunteers for Pasay Pups, a group of individuals who provide basic care to animals in in the city, including food, bath, and veterinary needs, as well as neuter and vaccination services, at no cost.
Aside from her love for the country’s tropical climate, the warmth of the people she met during her stay in the Philippines also captivated her. When she went back to Ireland, Milena continued her advocacy – sending financial aid to some of the NGOs she has worked with in the Philippines.
As a chef that specializes in vegan and raw vegan food options, Milena’s creations are sought after by her clients in Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland. Her artisan cakes or what she refers to as “boutique cakes” are a favorite of her clients. She bakes vegan cakes using quality ingredients like cacao butter, lucuma, maca power and activated nuts. The profit she makes from these cakes goes to her charity works. Her artisan cakes have been featured in Unilad GRUB UK as well as in bTV Novinite, a major TV network in Bulgaria.
Last December, Milena started the project “MB Boutique Cakes for a Cause,” which she shared on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MB. BoutiqueCakes/. She spent several hours baking her signature boutique cakes for her clients and supporters of this cause. The profit she made went to the Project CARE (Caring for All Regional Ethnicities), a community group in Quezon City that helps ease the plight of indigenous people in the Philippines through various educational activities and outreach programs.
Currently, Milena is working on a fundraising fitness event in her town in collaboration with a local gym. The amount she will raise from this event will be donated to Project CARE and Pasay Pups.
“My dream is to hold workshops and teach others on how to create their own masterpieces—like my own cakes. I want to take part in charity function events and present my own creations. I also would love to make cakes for kids whose parents can’t afford to buy for them on their birthdays,” Milena shared.
“I have always felt that I was called to serve others. And I’m happy to have found my calling, to help others through my talents and culinary skills. I will continue to help others, one cake at a time,” she said.
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