VOLUNTEER not to build your resume, but so you can build yourself…

ok, admittedly, i’ve been neglecting this blogging site these past months. apologies. caught up with everything happening in my life all at once. i’m not complaining though. its just that i’ve got less time to sit down, contemplate and write. so while i’m still chill at work, i might as well write a few words and update you guys with what’s happening in my “too boring” life.. =)

this month has been the toughest especially for our kababayans in Northern Luzon. The areas Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan & most provinces in the North like Aurora was widely devastated by Typhoons Pedring & Quiel. Being a tropical country, typhoons & cyclones are not foreign to the islands of the Philippines and an average of 3 to 5 typhoons hit the country every month. However, like what most of you know, no matter how you prepare yourself to the onslaught, nature is well just too unpredictable and unstoppable.

When something like this happens, it triggers emotions and brings back so many memories…

been there done that. that’s all i can say & more than anyone, i can totally relate to our kababayans from the north. I was a victim too. Last 2009, Typhoon Ondoy came to the Philippines and Metro Manila was one of the hardest hit areas in the country. more than 300 people died. Me & my family was fortunate enough to survive.

we tagged Pasig as “the Venice of Asia” and you can see in the picture why. The water was more than waist deep at the time i took the picture.

so instead of cars, jeepneys, & tricycle,  we have boats moving people & stuff around.

this is my barrio, Pinagbuhatan where water in some areas were as high as 10 feet tall. i was waiting for my ride home. since i’m working, i had to evacuate and temporarily live with relatives in Sumilang, Pasig. This photo was taken at the time that i was about to go home & visit my family. My mom & my dog decided to stay in our neighbor’s house so they could keep watch of our house. while my dad, old & ailing has to evacuate to my grandmother’s house in Ugong. My cousin (dad’s side) who doesn’t have work at that time, accompanied mom at home. i had to go home every week to check on mom and my dog’s condition and of course, flooded as it may be, i miss home.  =)

viola! my ride home! see, i have to save money for the family and i just couldn’t afford to get a boat ride home which costs around Php120 to Php150, one way. so i have to be creative & resourceful, asking for a free ride on a 6-wheeler truck was I think the most awesome thing i did back those days. =) walking is an option too but it’ll take me 2 hours to get home by walking (a total of 2.7km from Pasig Market to our Village) so i favored free rides instead.

on the way home, i saw these guys, hanging out on the bridge. they actually asked for a photo opt so i gladly obliged. i was just in awe. despite the conditions we were in, people from Pinagbuhatan managed to smile. hopeful for a brighter day next.

home sweet home! haha! its waist deep water outside our house. that’s my pinsan there, trying to figure out how to move around the water. that little house is our tindahan.

that’s my dog bodie who reluctantly learned how to swim when the house was still flooded. bodie also learned to make use of the make-shift bridges i built so we can walk above the water. =)

experience thought me to be strong amidst struggles and showed me how to be compassionate to others. it always feels good to give back especially when you know what it feels like to be in the same situation as them. so when our HR called for volunteers who wanted to help ABS-CBN’s Sagip Kapamilya Relief & Rescue operations, i didn’t think twice. i immediately enlisted myself to help & serve my kababayans in need. Right after work at 6pm, me & a couple of friends from the office, went straight to Sagip Kapamilya Headquarters in PBB Concert Hall, ELJ Drive. We repacked relief goods non-stop till wee hours of the night. it was such a liberating and fulfilling experience. and i met the most interesting group of youth who also enlisted themselves to help.

these are the students i was with during my sagip kapamilya duty. From Philippine Ling Nam Athletic School, these kids are proud martial artists (Wushu) and fire volunteers too! no wonder, when they were able to get their hands on the goods, they never let go. just went on packing mode with no plans of stopping even for just a drink. energetic kids with big hearts. i was in awe to see the spirit of volunteerism alive and in action with these kids. i used to think that our youth, especially the generation after mine are just plain hopeless, with lives going out of control and wasted. but look at them, doing something worthwhile and important on their free time. real role models of the youth today.

tired but still up to the task at hand! we were able to finish 400 sacks of relief goods that day which was distributed to 4,000 families in Tarlac, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, and Bulacan. good job to the kids, they were as fast as lightning in repacking goods! 😀

we were about to go live on TV Patrol here.

like what i said, its always nice to give back. i know how it feels to be in that situation and during those times, people lent me a hand too so i’m doing the same and giving back the favor. tired as i may have been, I packed those relief goods with a smile knowing that i’d be able to help a family start rebuilding their lives.

VOLUNTEER not to build your resume, but so you can build yourself. =)