By: Flyhigh Manila Staff
Flight attendants by nature have a genuine concern for others. This is something imbibed in them, brought by the nature of their work as safety professionals who ensure also the comfort of every passenger on board. In most times, this trait of flight attendants go beyond the aircraft, not only at 30,000ft in the air but on the ground as well. Last January 12, Taal volcano erupted, displacing 150,000 people.
Fortunately, no one lost their life during the eruption but sadly, many within the 14km danger zone radius lost their homes, left their belongings, and their livelihood as well. While safety was top priority, these people needed help and the whole nation responded.
Flight attendants were one of those who were quick to respond. Immediately, they used their available resources at their disposal to gather masks, medical supplies, food, water, and medicines to help our Taal evacuees.
We now share you two stories from two airline cabin crew members. One works for Emirates who was able to get help from fellow flight attendants from nearby Gulf carriers like Etihad and Oman Air in acquiring a lot of face masks, food, and medical supplies to be sent to the Philippines. The other cabin crew is from Philippine Airlines who created a team to help out in the Taal relief efforts.
Here are two of the many stories of our flight attendants who helped in the Taal relief efforts. May these sharings touch your heart and inspire all to always seek and touch lives, no matter how far and how high.
"UNITED IN WINGS FOR TAAL"
Words and photos from Katherine Fuller (Emirates)
I simply wanted to help my family and other families who are in need. My family is from Cuenca, Batangas. Despite the distance, this did not stop our Cabin Crew community and other OFWs to reach out, a Filipino tradition in times of calamities.
If there is one thing I learned from this whole experience is that in troubles times and sad moments, we always have each other as one nation and one flag, regardless of which part of the globe we are in.
A 2-day trip by my family from Abu Dhabi to Dubai and with the help of Analiza De Guzman and the team took care for the masks, something which was badly needed as stocks from around were running out and other shops were overpricing them to take advantage of the situation. We were able to message the crew on Manila flights and transport the masks to Manila on every Emirates and Etihad flights. We also had Pebrero Perez help us source out more masks and deliver them to crew accommodations. At the same time he has also organized a team with donations of masks and relief goods sent by other OFWs around Dubai.
We had delivered in a total of 26,000 masks. All these arrived in Manila and shall be distributed to the different towns and evacuation centers.
I was also able to seek help from my friend Vine Padernal who bought relief goods for evacuees from monetary donations from cabin crew and friends not only from Philippines but from Taiwan, Guam, US, Dubai, Abu Dhabi. All these were directly sent to Batangas and have been repacked to be donated to affected towns and evacuation centers. A next batch had been prepared for the Tuesday trip.
Donations also from the cabin crew of Oman Air poured out with the help of my cabin crew friend Nicole Groves. These donations are now included on the next flight to Manila with the Emirates Crew These include toiletries and clothes that she had been collected from from friends and others. More donations from Oman Air crew had been transported back on their Manila Flights.
Cabin Crew from Etihad Airways operating Manila flights helped out with the transporting of the masks and other relief goods to Manila.
With more hands joining together, we also reached church organizations and organizations in Batangas.
We wanted to reach the evacuees in smaller places where no donations is coming in. We were able to provide masks for those who are sick, pregnant, children, senior citizens, and families who are within the 14kms radius.
Towns reached: Cuenca, Agoncillo, Talisay, Lemery, Sta. Teresita, Tanauan, Lipa, Lungos, San Felipe, San Rafael, Nasugbu.
I truly believe that everyone had pure intentions to help our kababayans and because of one small movement we all did great in reaching the goal to help those in need.
I am happy to help! God Bless you and your family! SINO pa ba mag tutulungan kung hindi TAYO!
"RISE FROM THE ASHES"
Words by Erik Jon Portus, photos courtesy of Jayron Larsian (Philippine Airlines)
It all started with face masks.
When the news on the eruption of Taal volcano spread last January 12, people started to recognize the need for face masks for those affected by the ash fall. FA Cathy Abayon started to source out face masks from different parts of Metro Manila and in the provinces, specifically from Bacolod where she is from to distribute to those affected by the ash falls. A few days later, there was a clamor for basic necessities for the residents of CALABARZON as the number of people who fled their homes to take shelter in the evacuation centers increased exponentially.
It was in January 14 when the PAL Cabin Crew Charity Group, through the leadership of FS Jayron Lasian, FS Ronnie Gonzalez, FA Cathy Abayon and my assistance as trainer, started to ask for donations form current and former cabin crew and even from close friends and family.
An overwhelming out pour of donations – both in cash and in kind started to arrive in the next few days. Over five hundred thousand pesos in cash and material donation was collected in a span of only five days! Material donations included bottled water, canned food, sacks of rice, hotel toiletries gathered by the crew, baby diapers, face masks, toiletries, used and new clothes, face towels, toys, medicine, instant noodles, mattresses and milk, among others.
The group agreed to distribute the goods to the evacuees of several areas in Bauan, Batangas because at that time, it was reported that there was a scarcity of relief goods reaching the said municipality.
Last January 18, Saturday, a good number of PAL employees volunteered in the repacking of the relief goods at the IFC Multi-function Hall– admin employees, cleaners, and PAL cabin crew members who were either on day off, on reserve duty in the Inflight Center and those who just arrived in uniform form their flights. Also seen doing hands-on help and assistance were AVP for Cabin Services, Mr. Gerry Rustia and Inflight Serviced Department VP, Mr. Bud Britanico. The repacking activity started as early as eight o’clock in the morning and ended at around nine o’clock in the evening.
The relief goods were personally distributed by the PAL Cabin Crew Charity Group volunteers in Bauan, Batangas last January 19, Sunday. Two trucks and several vehicles were used to transport the crew and relief goods.
No donation and effort to help is too big nor too small for this task. The heart of the Filipino and Buong Pusong Alaga was seen ablaze during this time of need.
There were indeed a lot of flight attendant groups and individuals who through their own ways helped the Taal evacuees. Many of them used their available resources like transporting items from different places and areas around the country and the world to Batangas. Some purchased face masks while abroad to be donated.
We are posting these stories because we want to show the world how the Filipinos are united, regardless of which part of the globe they are in, and status in life. What we shared were stories from the eyes and hearts of flight attendants; and we are very sure there are a lot of touching stories out there of individuals and groups who helped out in the Taal relief efforts.
Para sa inyo, kababayan! Para sa inang bayan, at sa Pilipino!