Ok, for all those generous and wonderful souls that have offered to drive the evacuees of #yolanda from Villamor to where they need to go in Manila, firstly, God bless you all. You will not believe how much your help is appreciated. I drove a family of seven today and I was choking back the tears after they kept thanking me. It means so much to them. Not so much the ride, but the gesture.
So here’s how it works: You can just turn up tomorrow anywhere from 8-5pm and walk up to the Volunteer Transport registration counter and sign up. They will tell you the rides that are needed. You can just pick from there.
Or, you can call my buddy Junep Ocampo (0917 583 1122) who is doing an amazing job organising this and just register your intent to help. He can give you a snap shot of the backlog. But keep in mind he is also overwhelmed, which is why option 1 is still the best.
C130 flights land roughly every two hours. And this is ongoing. So please don’t feel bad if you can’t help out tomorrow but have a day free on Sunday or any day next week. If you can offer one ride, that is one ride we didn’t have. Don’t hesitate simply because you think it is not enough. Anything is better than nothing.
Red Cross are great. Plenty of volunteers there. Same with WATSONS, who are giving free medicines. Love you guys. There are doctors and nurses as well. I’m not sure who sponsored or sent them, and I’m very sorry for that, but thank you. Mabuhay kayong lahat.
What else can I bring?
There is tremendous relief work being done there right now. I saw awesome people passing hot, cooked food around; there’s also water, medicines, clothing and even relief packs. Basically, everyone is being very well cared for there once they land. But a simple ‘welcome kit’ from you may also be a nice touch. It could be some extra rice, a prepaid cellphone card, whatever. It is up to you. Or you can bring whatever you have and give to the pool. It won’t go to waste.
For those unfamiliar with the area, if you’re coming from the Nichols bridge, after passing the rotunda, head towards Resorts world Manila (RWM) but take a left at the first traffic lights just before you get to RWM.
If you’re coming from NAIA side, clear the last rotunda after NAIA 3, then take a right at the first traffic light AFTER the skyway entrance.
Once you get to the guard house, just tell the guard you are going to the main grandstand as a volunteer for the relief efforts. Then go straight after that. You will hit the end of the road and another guard house. Turn right. Find a parking spot. Then look or ask for the volunteer transport counter. It is on the left side when you’re facing the back of the grandstand. They will assign you a family to transport based on your limitations. It is up to you to choose.
On a side note, please let me know how your experience was by posting it here in the comments section. I ask this because I understand that some people may be understandably wary of taking strangers in their cars. But if we all share our experiences here, maybe it might lessen their apprehensions.
For what it is worth, personally, I can only say that I met wonderful people that made me change my whole perspective of things; yes there are some awful things happening after the typhoon, but there are also beautiful things. You can still choose which one you want to be a part of.
For all those who choose to help, I wish there was a stronger word. But for now, thank you nalang.