Last November 29 and 30, I went to Tacloban together with GMA Artist Center talents Kylie Padilla and Miakel Daez. The two recently became Save the Children celebrity representatives and we all wanted for them to go to Tacloban, which was struck hard by Yolanda, so they could see for themselves just how affected the kids (and everyone else) are still over there. We wanted them to meet the kids and see their living conditions and get to know them. That was the only way they could be credible as ambassadors. That was the right way to start being ambassadors.
It was a quick two-day trip but it was very fulfilling.
On the first day, we met Gerald and his family, who are survivors of the typhoon. Gerald has 10 other siblings. They experienced the wrath of Yolanda, but they all survived. That reminded me how family is all that matters.
In the limited time we spend with Gerald and his family I saw him interact with his parents and siblings and those little moments were more than enough for me to assume that he’s a good soul. You know, good son, diligent student, fun brother, fun friend. He’s that kind of less fortunate kid you want to sponsor or even adopt.
In the afternoon, we met up with more kids and had a blast doing art projects with them. We were handed sheets of paper and crayons, and I doodled together with the kids. I realized it’s been a while since I last doodled, and that I missed it. I had fun handing out my artworks to the kids so they could color them. It was also touching when one little boy copied everything I was drawing.
The next day, we went to the house of another Yolanda-affected family, and we had to brave a muddy and slippery trail to get there. It was pretty fun and exciting, actually.
When we got to the house, we met a couple with 10 kids. They all experienced Yolanda, too, but they are all thankfully alive and doing good. The mom even shared that there was one morning she woke up and saw her kids partially submerged in rainwater – all asleep. One of the kids also used to be severely malnourished but thanks to Save the Children, she is okay and healthy now.
We’re all back in Manila now, after our flight got delayed three times, from 6pm to 7pm to 8pm to 7am, but I am happy I got to visit Tacloban. The trip has made me realize a lot of things and it’s made me extra grateful for a lot of things.
I am also very proud of Mikael and Kylie. They are not just good-looking and talented celebrities, they are also compassionate and kind souls and I am happy we chose the right people to pitch to Save the Children.
I can’t wait to visit more places with them and the save the Children team.
To find out more about save the Children and how YOU can help, check their site HERE