FLIGHT OF ANTICIPATION
Preparing for trip to the Philippines to help the Haiyan victims was not easy. The whole day of the Tuesday, November 26, 2013, the team members were busy preparing and running errands. We had to miss work in order to meet our appointments for the day and had to go around Bangkok to meet the sponsors to receive some equipment needed for the trip. The day was over. Everyone was excited and quite exhausted already due to lack of sleep and rest because we had to organize a big fund raising event at Central World, which came out very successful because of the huge support of the Filipino community and much more the Thai and foreign friends who, from the start of the campaign, with all their hearts, gave their support.
At Suvarnabhumi Airport, we met a team of Thai medical doctors with boxes of medicine for the victims. We were so proud and happy to meet wonderful people to help the victims.
FRIENDS WILL BE FRIENDS
When we arrived at Cebu City airport in November 27, 2013, a city in a big island near Leyte, we were picked up by a good friend of Bernie’s, Neil Aldrin Ko, who are with his friends, Caliph A. Mindalano Jr. and Larewin Garcia Lastimosa had been running relief operations already around Cebu, Ormok, and Tacloban. We were brought directly to Central Philippine Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist to meet some people. There, the team was interviewed and later, the footage was broadcast through the local Hope Channel. The team emphasized in the interview that the aid came from Thais, foreigners, and Filipinos from all walks of life and from different faiths in Thailand, and some from other friends abroad, thus the aid brought by the team will be shared to all victims regardless of religion. Right after the interview, we finalized what should be bought and packed for the relief operation. After the meeting, without rest and breakfast, we had to rush to buy all the things needed. After buying what we had to buy, we brought everything to East Visayan Academy for packing. But we realized that we had more money left after buying what we agreed to buy. The day ended, but the buying of goods was far from over. We had to cancel our boat trip to Leyte and resumed purchasing more goods the next day.
We got up early Thursday November 28, 2013 without breakfast again, we all separated ways to get all the purchasing done. Bernie had to buy all the kettles, buckets, vegetables, and many more. Elcid had to purchase more personal necessities, food, and many more. I had to buy the most challenging items – the women’s underwear. Our very supportive friends had to help rebooking and rebooking our boat tickets. Caliph A. Mindalano Jr., together with his students in the academy had to repack the goods. The students did a really good job. Just a few hours, they had packed all the things that were bought the other day! That was a good aid from those kids, and a great experience for them, too, helping for a cause. Our friends did a lot of help for us to do what we had to do in a very short period of time. Without them, we would be soldiers without a commander, lost and for sure, we would never get our assignments done with that volume of goods we had to buy. It was so much fun and exhausting. It was very challenging, trying to beat the time. In the afternoon, we were all set. The trucks were ready. The goods were ready. We went to the sea port again, but unfortunately, we were late. The boat was about to leave. We were at the port with our trucks, but the boat’s ramp was already 2-3 feet up. We had to cancel our trip again. We had lunch. We waited. We received a call from our driver. The rod connected to the steering wheel was broken, and he had to fix it. With a great miracle, everything was fixed with all the equipment needed there at the port. It was amazing! I found it a saving misfortune. Had we got there on time, and traveled that hour, we could have had a bad accident along the winding uphill and downhill road going to Tacloban. We had to wait till evening for the next boat.