"The Filipino spirit is waterproof."
There was no typhoon. It was only the habagat or the southwest monsoon that brought us heavy rains for over a week but it was enough to cause Filipinos to fear that this might mirror Typhoon Ondoy, the most devastating typhoon to hit the country three years ago. My friend, Madel, even commented that it was like 2009 all over again what with netizens setting aside senseless status updates and utilizing Twitter and Facebook to spread public service announcements, emergency hotlines, and calls for help.
But in the midst of all the devastation, stories of loss and desperation, emerged tales of courage, strength, and heroism.
It was like clockwork.
While people stranded at home helped in bridging help to the calamity victims via the internet, those who were mobile immediately took the streets helping people along the way. The news was filled with stories of both rescuers and ordinary citizens risking their lives to save others. Calls for volunteers were immediately heeded and citizens flocked to different relief operation centers.
|"He who saves." (Photo courtesy of Jen Lanuzga)|
I remember posting a callout for volunteers on Twitter and Facebook and instantly (with the help of our reporter Francis Faulve, anchor Ces Drilon, and online magazine MadHouseMNL) getting responses.
When I got to the relief operation center of Sagip Kapamilya, the emergency humanitarian assistance program of ABS-CBN Foundation, I was awed by what I saw.
Men and women, both young and old, donating and repacking goods. There were students, professionals, housewives, all helping in their own little ways. Some have been there since morning. Some, since the day before.
And while everybody was focused on their own tasks, the whole place was undeniably charged with high spirits telling you that, hey, everything's gonna be okay.
|The Sagip Kapamilya relief operation center.|
|Sir Robert, the day's go-to person.|
|Spotted : Juliana Gomez. Actors Richard and Lucy Gomez's daughter.|
|Hard at work. (L) A volunteer wheeling in new donations; (R) Abby Olaco, my friend and officemate, repacking rice.|
|Busy bees. (L) Gerome Vallangca, Segment producer; (R) Joseph Aquino, Executive Producer.|
|More goods coming in.|
|Tired but still smiling. (L) Nadine Leoncio, Multi-Media Producer; (R) Michael Rolluque, Researcher.|