As Richard Gordon said in an interview, “You can never take Christmas out of the Filipino.” Philippines is known for having the world’s longest celebration of Christmas. Filipino looks forward the grand family dinner after the midnight mass, visiting relatives in the morning, wear new clothes, receiving of aguinaldos from godparents and lunch and dinner with family. But in an area that was devastated by the worst and the strongest typhoon, people don’t know how they will celebrate Christmas.
On December 25, 2013, I was able to join the “Pasko ni Juan sa Tacloban” by Cebu Pacific together with other talented and kindhearted volunteers. We left Manila for our 0450H flight toTacloban. The expected time of arrival should be at 0600H but due to zero visibility inTacloban, our flight was diverted to Mactan Cebu International Airport. We stayed at the airport for almost 2 hours and waited for any advice if we can still go to Tacloban. Fortunately, after waiting, we were able to fly back to Tacloban and landed in Tacloban, Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport before 1000H.
Upon arriving, we rode a military truck and headed to the venue, Eastern Visayas State University – Tacloban to meet the participants. When we arrived at the venue, the mass is still on going so we still had the time to prepare the lunch. After the mass, we distributed a pack of lunch and a bottled juice to almost a thousand attendees. While we are distributing the food, our talented volunteers showcased some performances (magic shows, juggling, poi and spins). I almost cried seeing everyone in the venue smiling and enjoying the show.
After the program, we supposed to give Noche Buena package and learning kits to the survivors but the packages were still in transit due to the bad weather.
We headed back to the airport for our 13:45H and arrived in Manila at 1455H. Upon arrival in Manila, the local volunteers in Tacloban contacted us and we were informed that the packages have been distributed to the participants.
I personally thank Cebu Pacific and James for giving me the opportunity of lending my hand to those who need it. Because of this event, I was also able to meet my relatives who were also survived the worst typhoon in the country. I was able to give the donations of my friends to my uncle who opted not to evacuate but to stay there for some reason.
Note: All photos taken from Cebu Pacific Fanpage, check the rest of the shots here: CEB’s Pasko ni Juan sa Tacloban
Blog written by Red Chuca. 🙂