Saturday, November 30, 2013

Medellin Relief Ops

It is always amazing to see, feel and experience volunteerism in action. How strangers become friends in achieving the same goal.

Today's activity YPRO joined the Uling City of Naga Parish Youth Coordinating Council (UCPYCC) in distributing relief goods to Medellin Cebu. At around 7 AM, UCPYCC members aboard City of Naga's minidam arrived at KJ's place to pick up repacked goods.
Left to Right. Top to Bottom Description.
Mandatory Team Pic.
Getting ready to go!
By 8:30, the team consisting of 3 YPROs and 8 UCPYCCs left for Medellin. Arrived at Medellin CNU grounds 3 hours after. Because it was almost lunch time, we decided to eat first.
Lunch time before the ACTION!
Over lunch the team decided to change the distribution venue since according to the contact, most people in the vicinity are already receiving relief packs from the municipal hall. He suggested that we should go to Brgy Antipolo. It's a barangay off the hiway.
Left to Right. Top to Bottom Description.
Open grounds.
Residents making their way to "ukay2x" for used clothes.
Ukay in action.
Listing the residents for relief distribution.
Left to Right. Top to Bottom Description.
Lining up for distribution.
Roll Call.
Resident receiving her pack.
Upon reaching the place, we saw an empty house with an open grounds. After a little discussion, we decided to pour all used clothes in a tarp on the ground. People were asked to get what they like the "ukay2x" way. It was fun to see them all excited sorting through the items. While the others are busy, I picked a resident to give me the names of her neighbors for relief distribution. We only had limited goods and in order to make sure that everybody will be happy, I need to impose a one pack per house rule. The residents were very cooperative. When told that they should line at the back of the truck after telling me their names, they did so without hassles plus an extra smile. I was able to list 75 people. Then the distribution began. Because I have the doctor's penmanship, I did the roll call as well. With each names, laughter followed. I kept reminding them that we only have limited relief so they should speakout if one of their neighbors had their name called twice.
Kids are enjoying the super sale.
Everything went smoothly. Aside from the 75 listed, we gave 5 packs to all those I neglect to list. We also gave tarps to people who touched our hearts the most. We left Brgy Antipolo with a smile as they wave with an even better smile.
Random stops to distribute remaining relief.
For the remaining relief, we distributed it to a community of tarps still in the same barangay. Like the previous, they lined immediately when we told them. Upon leaving, we still have some left. We dropped them at 3 stops in San Remigio.

Going home, we went round North. Yay! It was a plus. Snacks at Toledo then travel to Uling where we drop the UCPYCC members. :)

It was a fun operation indeed - a lovely closing to YPRO's 4th love sharing. Till the next time!

Once again, thank you so much for your time, money and efforts. We wouldn't have done this without you.

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Yolanda Evacuation Center Feeding

Following the plan was the most tedious task of this activity. The plan usually start with the beneficiary then the budgeting follows. The negotiation comes after everything was allocated.

The activity was not really on our list but because of the overwhelming support of our friends, families and extended friends, we have more money to give. Despite the exhaustion from the last week's planning marathon, buying, repacking and distribution activities, we push through as promised.

It wasn't easy, considering most people was starting to go back to their normal life. For the first time in my organizing years, I wanted to stop. Yet every time I hear stories about how Yolanda victims suffered, the passion would start again. I know I only need to push as hard as I could. They are not quitting, they're just waiting. And they truly are. :)

We started planning with only one center in mind, we were having problems on how to budget it properly. Then additional donations came...and much more. We ended up separating the activity in 2 days, Saturday and Sunday. The volunteers were given the chance to pick their schedule.

Saturday Feeding Activity at Babag 2 Sports Complex
+ Tinago Center

We pledged for breakfast since it's the only slot left for Saturday. We needed to be at the center at 8:00 AM, to achieve that we have to be assembled around 7:00 AM. I'm not really practicing the Pinoy mentality thing on some days but I understand that most people are...yet to my amazement, we were assembled just in time. Arrived at the center a good 15 minutes after 8:00 AM. There were 11 volunteers. And as the impromptu-hired-multi-cab stopped in front of the center, I can feel their excitement to be of service. 

Actually this picture was taken after the feeding. :P
We expected to cater 100 evacuees but when we went inside, it was almost empty. We were told that 57 of them left for Manila in the morning without breakfast. Oh dear! They missed Jollibee. After the distribution and playing with Jollibee, they told us that some evacuees will transfer to Tinago Center. On the way, they told us to just left the food for the 57. They will give it to the evacuees on the way to the transfer. Because pier 4 was on the way, we volunteered to drop the food. It was then that our true service began.

The team plus the center volunteers
We chased the 57 evacuees at pier 4. Unfortunately, we weren't able to find them on time. We decided to just give the remaining 50 food packs to Tinago center. Instead of just one, we covered 2 centers in all. :)

Getting ready to distribute!

Playing with Jollibee
Sunday Feeding Activity at Looc Sports Complex and Guadalupe Gym

Because of what happened to the Saturday activity, decided to text Looc contact for the update on the number of evacuees. Turned out,  there are only 37 evacuees left out of 125. If we give them 40, we still have extra 85 packs. We were in a haze to find a new center to feed. We were lucky that Guadalupe Gym was able to accept our packs at such a short notice.

Going to Guadalupe and then Looc was quite a hassle, so the Sunday team decided to just divide their group in 2. Guada team consists of Peter, JJ, Mitch, Ali, Dea and Florence. Looc team consist of Gem, Nelo, Corie and Jason.

To upload pictures of Sunday team soon.

Feeding Details. We started with the problem of not having enough to feed one center, ended up feeding 4 and still have money left. The remaining money will be allocated to relief packing. We will just be packing the goods and have them distributed to northern Cebu with our partners. Will post details soon.

Once again, in behalf of YPRO team, thank you so much for your kindness and generosity. May God give you more. Till next time.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

B2B Bantayan Ops

If I were to describe the situation of Bantayan in one word, that word would be “heartbreaking”.

Bantayan Island, a place that used to be a summer paradise is now full of debris, broken houses and fallen trees. The damage is visible wherever you look. Houses are missing their roofs, trees have lost their leaves. There was a certain gloomy feeling and coldness in the air. It was like winter, but without the snow.

Contrary to the rumors, there was no violence in Bantayan or in any point of our journey. We witnessed several children on the road stretching their hands out, waiting for food from vehicles passing by. But they were just waiting, not forcing their way to retrieve relief items. It was a pity, but there was only so much we could do.

We came to Bantayan fully prepared. We had a complete itinerary but we weren't able to follow it because we were delayed at the Hagnaya port due to the volume of people and trucks bound for Bantayan. It was a great struggle just to get the tickets. There was no systematic way of handling the situation. And it was accentuated by the Filipino’s natural trait of falling into a pile, instead of into a line. There was confusion, a lot of angry – and hungry volunteers, there was shouting everywhere. But we managed somehow. The team regrouped at Santa Fe port at 7 o’clock PM, more than 11 hours behind schedule.

It was already dark when we started our way out of Santa Fe port. There were no lamps on the street. Cement posts for the power lines are leaning 45 degrees over the road, threatening vehicles and people alike. It could probably take months before those are fixed. But even in the darkness, Bantayanons struggled to get to the Santa Fe Port because a group was distributing relief goods there. Some of them were riding bikes, but most were on foot. It was agonizing to see them struggle so much for a single pack of food.

After the port, it was smooth sailing towards our planned stops. We reached the Bantayan Municipal Wharf and unloaded the items for Hilotongan Island. We entrusted the goods to Uncle Nap, who then contacted Hilotongan locals for a boat that will take the goods there. The next stop was at Barangay Kangwayan in Madridejos, where we were welcomed by Julius and his family. We are very thankful for the food and hospitality they shared with us.

Then we proceeded to the two other barangays, Tabagak and Poblacion. Because we arrived there very late, most of the people were already asleep. We had no choice but to drop off the goods with our contacts instead of distributing them one by one.

After the drop-off, we hurried back to the Santa Fe port to catch the next ship.  We were informed that Island Shipping will be operating 24/7 because it was a busy weekend. When we reached the port at 12 midnight, we found out that we were misinformed. The port was closed and there was no one at the ticket booths. We slept on the truck or somewhere around the port while waiting for the gates to open. It was 2AM when people started gathering so we went there as well, hoping to catch the earliest trip. As expected, it was as hassle as the port in Hagnaya. Luckily, we were there early enough to get on the 2nd voyage. We reached Cebu City at 11:30AM.

Later on, a text message informed me that the goods were already distributed. The people were very grateful for the goods that we have given. In behalf of the Bantayanons, I express my sincerest gratitude for everyone who helped.

God bless you always!

Again, thank you to all people who helped in making the outreach a successful one.  We couldn't have done it without you.  We hope that the spirit of giving will not end here.  Let's continue to help our fellow countrymen.  Bangon Pilipinas.

Reported by Dea Mari Escalona - YPRO Bantayan Project Coordinator

Monday, November 18, 2013

B2B Bohol Ops

The planned YPRO team together with 2 impromptu volunteers arrived in Tubigon Port at 9:30 AM, Sunday November 17, 2013.

Team Picture. (Top to Bottom)
Bus to the boat.
At the boat.
Getting settled ready for Clarin.
While waiting for the other members at Pier 3.
Assembly at MM's Place. 
After loading the goods unto the provided pickup by Annie Dico, Brgy Bacani contact, the team had a quick stop at Tubigon plaza. The place is still bearing evidence of the catastrophic disaster that happened a month ago.

Devastations. (Top to Bottom)
Tubigon Municipal Hall.
House on the street on the way to Clarin.
Tubigon Church.
Clarin Church.
The Tubigon municipal hall was aweful with too many cracks. The church looks disastrous. If not for the people loitering the plaza and the tricycles, anyone would have thought that it was an abandoned place.

On the way to Clarin, the team was awed of the devastations. Broken houses everywhere. Although the street looks safe, you could see the remnants of the sands that were used to cover the cracks. It was heartbreaking to listen to their experiences.

More Devastations at Clarin.
Ate Gina, our Poblacion contact related that the aftershocks are slowly becoming their norms. People would wonder if a day passed without it. And each day, they feared for their safety.

Minutes later we arrived at Brgy Bacani. We stopped at a house beside the street. There were still few people but when we finally unloaded everything, the number grew.

The people are all smiles while the team is distributing. 
We wasted no time. Started the distribution as soon as Ate Annie handed the beneficiary list. With each name called, laughter followed. Everyone seemed happy and excited. The atmosphere was overflowing with humor. My heart swells. They truly embodied the unique Filipino traits, humorous still even in disaster. Hope in times of despair. After the distribution of 50 tarps, the distribution of medicine and grocery pack followed to a new set of beneficiaries. In total, YPRO provided 10 tarps to Brgy Poblacion c/o Ate Gina, 50 tarps, 50 grocery packs and 60 medicine packs to Brgy Bacani c/o Ate Annie. The distribution ended with them waving at us on the pickup. It was evident in their smiles just how glad they are that we came. We were all glad too.

Group picture with the residents of Brgy Bacani.
Thank you so much for the warm welcome and making our lives easier by being extra fun and cooperative. May the government never forget you and all of Bohol. Hope they will realize that you are still in need too. 
Lunch was at Ate Gina's house. And before the meal, we were given a "Suman" surprise.

We were so full after that we decided to loiter. We saw some more devastations. Around 1:30 PM, we decided to bid farewell. We left Tubigon aboard a fastcraft at 2:00 PM. The team reached Cebu an hour after.

And because we finished our mission ahead of time, the team took the time to roam and some photo ops. 
Bohol Team: Kring, Ristie, Bryan, July, Gilbert, Erwin, Victor, Lawrence
Benefeciary: Brgy Poblacion & Brgy Bacani, Clarin, Bohol
Contact: Annie Dico, Gina
Relief Provided: 60 tarps, 50 grocery packs, 60 medicine packs
Donation Total: PHP 24, 017.00

But of course, it wouldn't have been successful if not for these people who prepared the relief packs.
Thank you so much.
Your efforts will never be forgotten.


If you are interested for more details, don't hesitate to mail us.
Again, thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

YPRO Relief Ops Day 3

We've reached our target packs for Leyte last night. Yay! And today...we've reached halfway with our Bantayan target. The team is on fire! Still wishing for more to pack and give! This year's activity has been our toughest job yet. But as always, our desire to help is tougher. :)

The team: ristie, kweeny, veni, jerson, witzu, jellie, law, riza, mira, miki

posted from Bloggeroid