Volunteering for the Aftermath of #YolandaPH

It is one thing to watch the news about disaster-struck places, and another thing to be the news. Having been spared the wrath of Typhoon Yolanda, as Northern Cebu suffered the brunt of the typhoon, the least that I can do is help out in donating, repacking and distributing goods for the victims who are badly in need of help. Our plans to collect donations that quickly escalated to giving them out ourselves came at the right time, and I was ecstatic at the chance to extend greater help, and I was – still am – very eager to repack goods, ask donations from my family and friends, and collect and deliver them as well to our designated drop-off centers. Before I joined Psych Vols, I was a lazy sod who left the volunteering to other people. The half a year that I have spent as a volunteer, though, made me realize that nothing can beat the kind of joy, fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from making other people happy (somehow).

I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I first joined this group. All I knew was that we were biking around the city to promote Cebu’s culture, advocate for bike lanes and promote livability, and that we were having fun. However, I quickly came to the understanding that no, the group might be named Volunteers on Bikes, but that didn’t mean we were limited to bike-related issues. A few weeks before that 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook Bohol and its neighboring islands, we partnered with UC College of Law and Philippine Earth Justice to save the heritage trees that line the road that passes through Naga, San Fernando and Carcar. And now that Region 7 (particularly Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Samar) are devastated from the calamities that have struck, we are taking action to help those in need.

In 4-5 hours, we, the Psychology Volunteers on Bikes represented by Mishka Watin, Edna Lee and myself, Monica Manluluyo, will begin travelling to Bogo, Cebu, where we will distribute the relief goods that my family as well as other families and individuals have donated. I already feel so happy that my relatives are supporting me by responding to my solicitations, and I honestly do wonder, both in eagerness and apprehension, how today’s endeavor will turn out. Well enough, I hope. Fingers crossed!

Monica