“Times like these, Times like those”

Living in a tropical country like the Philippines is very challenging. Extreme weather, just like traffic, is normal to everyone. But what happened for the past 3 days, the monsoon rains, wasn’t anywhere near normal. It was crazy, heavy drops of rain fall on the rooftops. It was almost 36 hours non stop rain. It was like waking up and going back to Sept 2009 when Typhoon Ondoy hit Manila and its nearby provinces. Pictures appeared on social media showing the city that I love looking like Mordor or Gotham City. The dark sky swallowed the earth and filled its roads with water.

I’m always the type of person to volunteer, whether its building a house or planting a tree, once a year I do it. Not because I’m forced to do it, but just because I want to do it. I’m happy repacking canned goods, carrying it to the trucks, passing it over to someone I do not personally know, getting my hands dirty. I was planning on doing the same thing and go back to my alma mater and lend a hand for the entire week. But I had to take the backseat and simply donate, because I have been having a hard time breathing due to the dust, mildew and moist buildup after I drove my car around the city. (I did not clean the car nor let it airdry. I simply turned it on, including the aircon — hence, I’m having a hard time breathing).

I do not have enough money or resources to buy meals groceries for the people who got hit by this monsoon rains. I only have my old but presentable clothes and my last money left to buy bottles of water that would benefit a child or an entire family. But I think it is worth it, spending my last money (before I get to work again) to provide for someone who has been sleeping in a wet environment for the past week. Its my way of giving back to the community of a couple of friends, mostly in the East (the area most affected by the rains) Its my way of sharing the blessing I incurred thru the years.

They say that Filipinos are resilient and a tight-knight community. We may bicker and argue about politics, religion or anything under the sun. But in times like these, times like those of Ondoy and Sendong, one will see where the heart of the Filipino people truly lie, its helping those who are in need when you have something to spare. These are the times I am proud to call myself a Filipino. I do hope that we show this spirit of volunteerism and “kawang gawa” in our daily lives.

For more information about the relief funds for the victims of the monsoon rains, you may check the following:

Phil. Red Cross, by texting RED to 2899 for Globe users and 4143 for Smart Users. You may also go to Phil. Red Cross at Shaw Blvd.

PAWS. They are in need of animal food (dry and wet), water, clean towels and cages for the animals left behind during the evacuation. You may contact them thru 02-9750048. You may follow them at @PAWSPhilippines on twitter.

Foreigners/Filipinos may also send money through PayPal, BDO,Metrobank,BPI,Unionbank,LBC,Cebuana Lhuiller,Western Union. Most banks (if not all) are waiving their service fee for this. You can go to the nearest bank and inquire regarding the account numbers.

Most schools, such as DLSU, Ateneo, Marist, San Beda Alabang, LSGH, DLS-Zobel are accepting donations to be packed and given to the victims.

They are in need of the following:
-bottled water,
-canned goods + can openers if you can
-rice
-clothing (baby clothes, childrens clothes)
-bedding (blankets + bed sheets)
-towels
-hygiene products (toothbrush, soap, feminine napkins)
-medicine (antibiotics, doxycycline,vitamins, paracetamol, mefenamic acid, diatabs or anti diarrhea)
-milk for the babies (this is important because a lot of the victims have babies with them)

Let us give back to the community. Donate or volunteer. It doesn’t matter. When its you who will need it, I’m sure you will appreciate it.

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