Restive Taal wakes volunteers from all walks of life

Published January 19, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By the Philippine News Agency 

BATANGAS CITY – The eruption of Taal Volcano may have shaken the lives of people in surrounding cities and towns. But amid the devastation, the Filipino spirit of volunteerism has also been awakened.

RESTIVE TAAL. Smoke billows out of Taal Volcano's crater as seen from the lakeshore in San Nicolas, Batangas. The volcano remains under alert level 4, meaning a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours or days. (PNA photo by Joey Razon)
RESTIVE TAAL. Smoke billows out of Taal Volcano’s crater as seen from the lakeshore in San Nicolas, Batangas. The volcano remains under alert level 4, meaning a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours or days. (PNA photo by Joey Razon)

Several organizations and foreign countries have sent sympathies and aid to the most affected population, with humanitarian workers in the frontline working round-the-clock.

While it is true that disasters spare no one, it is more heartwarming and inspiring to see how people from all walks of life respond to the call for help and give donations in their own little way.

Hundreds of bikers in blue– all Angkas riders– traveled to Sto. Tomas town to help those who have evacuated to safer grounds.

Hermie Garsota (Photo via PNA)
Hermie Garsota (Photo via PNA)

“Iba’t ibang grupo po kami pero iisa lang na sa Angkas. Ang layunin namin dito, magbibigay ng mga relief goods, pagkain, damit sa mga nasalanta. Iba’t ibang batch kami, sa kahapon mayroon din, ngayon iba din, pati bukas at ‘yong sa Linggo (We are different groups here but all are part of Angkas. Our goal here is to give relief goods, food, and clothes. We’re a different batch from those who went here yesterday, and those coming tomorrow and on Sunday),” Hermie Garsota, an Angkas rider volunteer and member of the Motor Xtreme South told the Philippine News Agency Friday.

His group brought at least 50 boxes of goods containing noodles, canned goods, and water—all intended for communities and families who are sheltering the displaced.

“Nag-start na ito noong Monday pa. Sa sobrang dami ng grupo, iba’t ibang barangay ang pupuntahan namin, hindi lang isang lugar (This task started Monday. With the huge number of groups, we’ll be going to different barangays, not only one specific area),” he added.

A group of Angkas riders with relief goods for the eruption-affected people rests at a field in Sto Tomas. (PNA photo by Joey Razon)
A group of Angkas riders with relief goods for the eruption-affected people rests at a field in Sto Tomas. (PNA photo by Joey Razon)

For volunteer Lito Melano, the donation drive shows how Filipinos are ready to respond and help others however meager their resources are.

“Ganito sa amin. Isang group kami na nagtitipon-tipon, nagsasama-sama para makatulong sa mga naapektuhan ng pagsabog ng Taal Volcano (We are like this in our group. We gather ourselves to help victims of Taal volcano eruption),” he said.

“Kung kinakailangan na ulitin namin ito, ‘di kami magdadalawang isip na ulitin. Personal namin ito sa group, nag-ambag-ambag kami, nagkusang loob kami na maglikom ng halaga para ibili ng mga pangangailangan para maitulong sa mga kababayan natin (If we need to do this again, we won’t hesitate to do so. We did this voluntarily and chipped in an amount to buy relief goods needed by those affected),” he added.

Aside from these motorcycle riders, there were also some small groups and prominent organizations handing out donations around the mostly ash-laden Batangas province, particularly in communities where people sought refuge after their towns were placed on lockdown.

A group of volunteer onboard a jeepney donates water and hygiene kits to the eruption-affected families in Tanauan. (PNA photo by Joey Razon)
A group of volunteer onboard a jeepney donates water and hygiene kits to the eruption-affected families in Tanauan. (PNA photo by Joey Razon)

In the Old Tanauan City Hall which served as evacuation center, donations and assistance continue to pour in.

‘Threat remains’

In the once-bustling towns of Taal and San Nicolas, abandoned houses covered in grey ash, a few men and dozens of dogs, cats, and goats were the only ones left.

From the lakefront in San Nicolas which is near the crater, the volcano which had been photographed belching massive ash plume and lightning streaks looked calm.

But its threat remains. Taal Volcano is still under alert level 4, meaning a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours or days.

READ MORE: More than 600 volcanic quakes plotted in Taal since Sunday

 
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