Natural disaster defines the goodness of individuals

Taal Volcano eruption sparks genuine volunteerism spirit to raise funds for the victims

It is an unsullied human reaction to help those who have faced the hardiness in life due to natural disasters and calamities. Thus, people react without any hesitation to mobilize all the efforts and resources to help the victims.

These tenets have become so true with the sudden eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas, historically known as “ A volcano within the lake; and a lake within the volcano.” And the first stage of eruption, up to level 4, has been giving so much havoc to the lives and properties of those towns within the 14-km of the volcano. Ashfall hit the neighbouring towns and cities and other parts of the country especially in Luzon, particularly the Calabarzon.

Batanguenos feared the danger of the eruption. People left their homes, their properties, domesticated animals for the sake of saving the lives of the victims. It is a narrative of helplessness, of fainted sanity and civility. The havocs of the eruption had left so much fear, so much danger for the fury of Taal Volcano.

With the social media and modern tracking of the situation by the Philvocs, various groups and individuals started planning to fundraise, and Winnipeg’s Filipino community members rolled down their sleeves and dedicated their precious times to help the Taal Volcano victims.

In the forefront of the initiative, Belinda Garcia, the president of the Talisay Association of Manitoba, immediately felt the shock of the recurring eruption and gathered all her officers and members to raise funds for the victims in Talisay, her hometown, and from other towns.

The Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba, through its current president, Virgie Gayot, had offered the centre as the place for the Talisay Association to raise funds.

Belinda Garcia, president of Talisay Association of Manitoba said: “We’re shocked when we found out that my hometown, Talisay, is one of the towns severely damaged by the eruptions. Looking at our town, looks like a ghost town and knowing the plight of our relatives, our neighbours, our kababayans and the loss of livelihood, the officers and members of the association immediately responded to raise fund to help our kababayans..” She continued, “Being unpredictable of the future dangerous eruptions, we have to focus more energy to help more, to bring back the liveliness of our town and to address the basic needs of the evacuees. And I have to thank everyone who have donated in cash and in-kind, giving us more resources to help the victims of the Taal Volcano eruptions.”
The Town Fiesta of Talisay will be held on Feb. 8, Saturday, at PCCM from 5 pm till midnight. This is the continuation of the fundraising effort of the Talisay Association of Manitoba.

Charmaine Hernandez, a realtor and the 204 Neighbourhood Watch under the leadership of Leila Castro, have been promoting fundraising effort beyond our community. Leila wants to reach the multicultural segments in Winnipeg to be involved in an effort to fundraise needed for the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption.

“My family’s ancestral house is in San Luis which is just outside of the 14-km danger zone of the Taal Volcano.And being connected with the historic Taal Volcano, I was moved to extend our help to provide some basic needs of the volcano eruption victims. With this in mind, it reminds me of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991, because, being married to a Kapampangan, still so clear in our mind back then, the devastation of what Mt. Pinatubo had done to the people and to the properties of those victims. Our experience with Mt. Pinatubo has triggered to help to the recovery and rebuilding of the many towns, and it would take longer to go back to normal life. They need our help and we are sponsoring “United For Tall Concert on Jan. 24th from 7 pm at the Maples Collegiate. And this is only the first wave of help for the Taal Volcano eruption victims,” Leila Castro said.

Zumba and dancing have been incorporated to raise fund to help the volcano eruption victims, Mithus Cabrera is so moved by the devastation of the many towns in Batangas and in Cavite, and she initiated “DANCE FOR A CAUSE”, a dinner/dance on Feb. 14, Friday, 2020 from 6 pm at Canton Food Buffet. With special participation of the RFIs and Zumba Instructors of Winnipeg. Mithus’ two sons who are based in Manila have been sending relief goods and continue volunteering to help the victims.

Mithus Cabrera, one of the organizers of “Dance For A Cause” said on volunteerism: “I believe this is my calling. I was given a second life, and as a cancer survivor, my mission is to help the needy especially to my relatives and friends in Taal, Batangas. I will never stop doing volunteer work and continue my legacy.”

Added to the fundraising via Zumba, the Group of Rhiz Aco who is organizing “Tindig Kabayan” with the cooperation of People’s Community Watch led by Alden Novallasca and it will be held on Jan. 25, Saturday at PCCM from 9 am. Come and join and donate any amount and the proceeds will be for the Taal Eruption victims.

Other groups have been involved to raise more funds, like the group who initiated the 1st Tala Flashmob for Taal led by Fran Vasu, Kelly Legaspi and Jp Sumbilo. The money raised had been sent to ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation. And the Quezon Province Association of Manitoba will be raising funds to help the evacuees who are temporarily living in some Quezon towns, like in Tiaong, Candelaria, Dolores, Sariaya and San Antonio where there are more than 12,487 evacuees. This is in response to the officials of the province according to Maggie Chan-Urbano, the president of QPAM.

“Rise from the Ashes” which will be held on Feb. 23, Sunday at the Filipino Seniors Hall at 29 Euclid Ave. from 6 to 10 pm. and presented by Filipino Music and Arts Association of Manitoba, Mario T. Mance P.Eng.Memorial Scholarship and AYOS TV with Papa Dee; Filipino Journal, as a media sponsor. This fundraising event is collaborated by the Filipino Seniors Group, Talisay Association of MB; and the Cordillerans of Manitoba. The following talents will be featured and these include Acoustic Live Wpg., Gangsa Rhythm Band and Manitoba local talents. Entrance is $15 and the proceeds will be donated to the Taal Volcano eruption victims.

Other groups had sent some masks needed by the thousands of evacuees like the Redublo Family and Nestor De Quiroz, a realtor. Nestor said: “Although our ultimate goal is to help our kababayans regardless of their status and where they came from, Batangas is somewhat close to my heart. I had lived just a few kilometres away from the affected areas. I had worked in Tagaytay Highlands/Midlands and befriended majority came from Talisay. We feel for our closed friends here in Winnipeg whose families back home are directly affected by this eruptions.” Winnipeg Max Restaurant initiated a $15-breakfast on Friday with World Vision.

We are opening our hearts to help and willing to share our blessings to the victims.Charity begins at home!