Balik Bayanihan Ba ‘Yan

When I saw the devastation Ondoy (Ketsana) has left on our country, I realized I needed to help. There were so many of our fellow Filipinos who needed assistance that it’s almost a sin to remain indifferent. I knew that if I stayed home and continued living in the lap of luxury, I’m turning my back on the country that fed and nourished me.

I must admit, at first I didn’t have any plans of volunteering. There were so many things on my plate that I felt like I was in a straitjacket. I had projects, meetings, assignments and exams to prepare for that every minute was spoken for. I considered donating through text but when I heard classes were being suspended for the rest of the week, I saw this as my opportunity.

I went to Red Cross (Alabang) this afternoon to donate old clothes and offer my time and energy. I think one of the reasons why Ondoy didn’t flood the entire country is so that those who were spared can lend a helping hand. And I was spared. Sure, our house had a few leaks, but me and my family were alive. And that’s a lot to be thankful for. I’ve also been blessed with so many things that I wanted to share them.

It was such an exhilarating experience being with my co-volunteers. I went alone but a group was kind enough to let me join and together we received clothes and sorted them into piles. We saw boxes arriving by the dozen and I was happy that many people were concerned for their fellow countrymen. I forgot my co-volunteers names by the end of the day but because we were on the same mission, I practically felt like we were a family.

The Bayanihan system isn’t dead as many people think. It’s touching how there are many people who care, who are more than willing to reach out and help their brothers and sisters. Before I left, I read this article on Yahoo! about how the communist guerrillas are holding off assaults to help villagers recover from the storm. And there’s this other article about a man who lost his life while trying to save 30 people. These news made me cry because it’s proof that we are good people. My friend Jen was right when she said that these events give us hope that we’ll one day be united.

When I got home, I was tired, my back pains were acting up, and the smell of old clothes stuck to my Kenneth Cole shirt. I didn’t mind because it was a small price to pay for my brothers who needed help. While I was trying to battle fatigue, my brothers were fighting for their life. I love this country too much to just turn my back on it. In fact, I would have torn the shirt I was wearing off my back and added it to the pile if I didn’t have so many issues with my weight.

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