I’ve learned from my grandparents and parents to always give back since I was young and last year I was lucky enough that I still have my stable job, unlike others who have lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic. I started giving back during the time the lockdown first hit us in Manila and the only people allowed outside were frontliners and delivery riders.
So I began giving out drinks and snacks to whoever was bringing us our essentials. It wasn’t much but seeing them received them with happy faces was really heartwarming. I thought back then, what else can I do bigger that will not burn my wallet given that the income I earn goes to our daily needs at home and it’s not like I’m earning so much extra money to give to others, but I still wanted to do more to help out.
I fortunately connected with a friend of a friend who had an advocacy of sewing PPEs and making intubation boxes which our frontliners badly needed at that time in the hospitals. I was so grateful to her, despite not knowing me she accepted me to be part of the long list of people they will donate PPEs and intubation boxes to. I have a friend who is a doctor working for a hospital at that time who was in dire need of these medical equipment. We were so lucky that we were able to donate a couple boxes to them.
For several months last year, I continued giving food to random people on the streets whenever I had extra and when I saw them while I was out running errands. It’s heartbreaking how almost every week, more homeless people are out on the streets begging for food or money. Reality-wise, you’ll see how much the pandemic has impacted so many lives. Even jeepney drivers and stranded construction workers have resorted to begging for alms and that doesn’t happen so often on the streets of Manila before.
After researching on what to donate for food, I found a good agricultural company Agriobiosciences that created rice porridge instant packs for donations and they had a good deal so I decided to purchase it so we can give them away to whoever will need them.
Fast forward to November 2020, the typhoon Ulysses hit Manila and severely affected the cities of Rizal and Marikina, as well as other provinces. It was so heartbreaking to see houses submerged in brown mud which came from the Sierra Madre mountain range and down to Marikina. It hit me hard because it reminded me of how it felt during the typhoon Ondoy in 2009, which I experienced when I was working that day in Ortigas and we had to brace the flooded streets to go home. So it felt right to help out because we weren’t greatly affected during last year’s typhoon and we only had a few leaks from the rain that went inside our house but our area wasn’t flooded.
During that time, I was a member of a vlog community called YesFam (of the US vloggers, Yes Theory) who also decided to organize a donation drive. So I reached out to several friends and colleagues of mine if they wanted to give donations so we can buy arroz caldo packs to be donated to YesFam and ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya. We also had other donations that were given to the Animal Kingdom Foundation to feed the dogs that they rescued from the flood in Rizal.
I’m happy to be surrounded with people who have kind hearts that are ready to help others who are in need and I really hope that we’ll be able to help more less fortunate people out there in the future.