It is unusual for me to wake up at five in the morning on a Sunday. Normally, I enjoy my weekends by overindulging in sleep. However, last Sunday, it’s a different story. I get up at five in the morning to participate in an activity with a noble cause. I gladly spare few hours of my sleep to join the Ondoy Relief Operations of MagMOL and Homer Foundation. Before I headed to Magsaysay office in Kalaw, I grab my camera to help me document this experience.
As soon as I get to the office, I saw MPs from MagMOL and different fleets as well as Cadets already busy in carrying and loading the goods to service vehicles. I was impressed to see those numbers of goods that will be given away to people who are in need. Before we finally go to Marikina, we dropped by at Waltermart to pick up even more goods to be distributed. I was overwhelmed to see the amount of goods placed in the lower ground parking lot of Waltermart. I, myself was touched to know that there are people who are so good that they are willing to share their blessings with other people especially in this time of crisis. It took awhile for all of us volunteers to load those goods in the service vehicles. Male and female MPs enthusiastically carried those packed goods and canned biscuits. Sweats were all over their face, yet you can still see in their eyes their willingness and involvement in the activity.
I joined the team who went to Marikina. Our operation was lead by Captain dela Santa of MagMOL. He coordinated with a Barangay Personnel and with Counselor Ortiz. Together with them and other MP volunteers we headed to Dela Peña, one of the most badly affected areas in Marikina. I can not help but saddened by the sight of devastated Marikina. The used to be clean city is no longer clean. We passed by at the bridge wherein many people were found lifeless. Houses were shattered. I also failed to see happy smiles that I used to see whenever I go there to visit a friend.
In Dela Peña, you can not see the pavement in their streets anymore. You can see that the houses there were submerged in the flood due to the soil marked even in their roofs. As soon as our service vehicles stopped in the middle of the street, people gather in an instant. People were asked to form a line and we start giving away the relief goods that we have for them. One by one people received their relief good and before they finally leave the line, they would always express their gratitude to us. Their sad smile somehow put off our exhaustion. It’s always been good to feel that even in my own little ways, I get to extend a helping hand and make other people happy. It’s fulfilling and rewarding.
The sight of this old woman moved me. I guess she was the oldest person to line and to receive one of our relief goods. I was glad to see her there, at least she is one of among fortunate and blessed people who managed to survive despite the flash flood her town experienced. But then it was also heart breaking to see her there. She is so old and yet she needs to go out to ask for some relief good that she and her family might need.
As much as we want to go down the car, we could not because there were no slippers available that we can use. But I really wanted to take pictures so that I may have photos I can use in my blog. I decided to climb up the van and there I was able to take pictures of the streets in Dela Peña.
This is how the street in Dela Peña looks like. People either wear boots or walk bare footed. I was also able to take a shot while one of the volunteers handed a canned biscuit to a resident.
More than two hundred of packed goods were given away that morning. Everyone there was happy. Although there were some people who were not able to get relief goods, they were able to get t-shirts instead. I can not blame other residents there who took advantage of the line. There were some I recognized that received goods twice or thrice. But at the end of the day, everyone is grateful and happy.
Before going back to Manila, we noticed that we did not totally dispose the shirts. There were still more shirts to give. What the group did, we went to Barangka Elementary School and donate the remaining shirts to evacuees. There were more or less ten families staying in the school but we learned from them that they were about to leave because classes will resume the following day. I was glad to know that at least we are not too late to give something to them.
This experience I had will always remind me to be giving. It’s true that, it’s best to give than to receive. It does not mean that sharing or giving involves money. Your time, your concern and your involvement will always be meaningful when you share it with others who are in need. I also realized that when someone does us a big favor, we don’t just pay it back, pay it forward to spread the spirit of giving and sharing.
Last September 26, 2009, we all faced the wrath of Typhoon Ondoy and together, we endured in varying conditions. While some of us were lucky enough to be spared, others were not as lucky.
But from out of the disaster brought by Typhoon Ondoy, the best of our Magsaysay People emerged. MPs stepped beyond the imaginable and showed the WE CARE spirit of MAGSAYSAY.
We invite you to tell us your story and share your experiences of survival and triumph after the storm with your fellow MPs through this blog. With your stories, we hope to spread awareness and inspiration.
You can share your stories with us in three ways:
1) You can write your comments on this blog or start a topic or react in the forum;
2) You can write about it and send it to us; and
3) You can tell it to us personally or send us the details of your experience and we will write it for you.
We would really appreciate it too if you could send us some photos taken during your experience.
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