Blue Eagles do their part in relief operations

Justin Chua helping out with relief operations at the Ateneo covered courts. (Photo courtesy of Anna Natividad …

It's the quality of bayanihan that Filipinos are proud of especially when it comes to times of crisis. Last week, Metro Manila was victim to the heavy rains and floods that people feared it was Ondoy 2.

The week-long suspension of classes turned Ateneo into a relief center. Living in Paranaque, I had relied on social networks Facebook and Twitter to keep tabs on the situation in Loyola Heights and Marikina.  As I scrolled through my news feed, I saw pictures of my batchmates and friends drenched in the rain, managing and carrying donations. And one of the pictures that was shared the most was a picture of Justin Chua carrying in a case of water as well as a picture of JP Erram with a bag of donations, so I sat down with the two Blue Eagle centers and had them paint me a picture on what went down at the relief operations.

Help had started Monday night and the Cervini dorm hallways were crowded with donations with the dormers already taking action. Justin and Poy are both dormers along with most of Ateneo's athletes so they're always the first to get their hands dirty and manage the relief operations.

I sat down with the two Ateneo big men recently, and they talked about the joining Ateneo's relief operations. Excerpts:

Justin: I went to the covcourts. Kiefer was there, Bacon, Chris Newsome, John Lasa and a couple other Team B guys. Para sa akin, yung pinaka-okay dun was when we were helping AJMA unload a truckload of water — "Hope in a bottle". They parked near the tennis court so medyo malayo siya sa covcourts so nagform kami ng line. I was throwing to Jumbo (Jason Escueta) one case then he passed it on. Kasi sobrang dami ng cases and it was raining so hard, yung plan dapat all the guys form two lines tapos pasa-pasa ng water then the girls, magpapayong kasi ang layo talaga. Nangyari, wala na nagpapayong sa amin. Surprisingly nagulat din ako kasi may babae na din bumubuhat kasi sobrang kulang na sa line.

JP: So nahihiya na kami kasi imbis na nagpapayong sila, sila na yung nagbubuhat. Yung iba dun malliiiit na tumutulong, pagbinabato ko sa kanila, sobrang nahihirapan.

JP Erram also helping out with relief operations. (Photo courtesy of Anna Natividad)

Justin: Tapos isa pa dun, konti na lang, siguro mga last 50 cases na lang, then yung mga nag-organize said we should stop because the rain's pouring so hard na. But me, Jumbo and Poy were shouting "wag na", parang let's finish this na kasi konti na lang…

JP: Atsaka basang basa na kami…

Justin: We said we'll just finish it, tapos yun yung nakita niyong picture. Yun na yung last kasi binuhat ko papasok na.

Justin and J-Poy were only two of the hundreds of students who helped out at the relief operations. Without a doubt, the whole community was doing what and all they can — be it in manpower or prayer.

Justin: It's already normal na sa amin na I'll do what I can to help. Like the relief op, donations. Pero deep inside, I want to help more to the people still affected. All I can do is help nga sa relief ops and pray for them para maging okay sila. One thing na naging uso na rin ngayon is that you can retweet something na parang this guy is an emergency, i-hashtag mo yung rescue then people can help. So I was also on Twitter the whole day just to help, kahit retweet lang and its heartwarming din na napasa mo yung message kung na-save na siya.

JP: Sa akin naman, siyempre yun din yung part na gustong tumulong pero may part din na guguilty ako kasi may mga times na nakastay lang sa dorm kasi sobrang lakas ng ulan tas naghihintay lang kami for practice parang yung time na yon nasasayang.

Despite putting in a lot of time helping out, the boys still managed to have some energy left to play some ball in the rain. With the weather settling down and the UAAP resuming, the Blue Eagles finish out round 1 of the eliminations against the FEU Tamaraws on August 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed in this post.

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