First of all, we thanked Cebu Pacific for making this happen.
It all started with our email conversation with PR agency, Stratworks Inc. (Cebu Pacific Air is one of their clients), who asked us if we were willing to celebrate (voluntarily) Christmas day in Tacloban and be there to help spend the season of joy and smile with the people of Tacloban. We immediately said ‘yes‘ because we really wanted to see Tacloban in our own very eyes since Typhoon Yolanda made that unforgettable landfall in the province that brought disaster and death in most of the Visayas region. We wanted to help in our own little way whatever we could and this was a great opportunity to share and contribute whatever means we have for the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda.
It was an early morning call as we head to the airport for the 4 AM flight 5J 2869 from Manila to Tacloban. Our plane was initially diverted to Mactan International Airport in Cebu due to zero visibility in Tacloban and we spent a couple more hours just on stand-by. By 9 AM our pilot got the go signal that our plane can touchdown Tacloban (D.Z.R.) Airport.
It is as if heaven is still grieving for the province as rain falls continuously but nothing will stop the people here from celebrating Christmas day.
We arrived in Tacloban at around past 9 in the morning and went straight to Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU). Lots of people were already present and have registered for Cebu Pacific‘s ‘Pasko ni Juan sa Tacloban!’ Christmas gift-giving celebration. About 500-800 participants came to the venue. Each members of the families coming were given stubs after presenting their invitation cards which were distributed prior to our arrival in Tacloban.
There was an early mass officiated by the local chaplain and welcome message from Cebu Pacific team.
After the mass, a Christmas program headlined by puppeteer WANLU and BAMBA delighted the crowd as well as poi and magic show that even for that moment washed-away the sadness in the eyes in most of the people present on that said morning.
Cebu Pacific’s Cabin Crew also contributed their part by performing in front of the people of Tacloban. We got teary-eyed as we distributed lunch for the survivors of the worst typhoon in world history.
The gift-giving is Cebu Pacific Air’s Christmas gift to the families affected by Typhoon Yolanda. The stubs were exchange for Noche Buena package and Learning Kits for the kids.
We left Tacloban before 2 PM and arrived in Manila past 3PM. it was just a one-hour flight. On our Cebu Pacific flight 5J 2884, the mayor of Tacloban Alfred Romualdez, his wife Cristina and children were on the same plane going back. Mayor Romualdez made trending news when his words to President Aquino got quoted and made headlined all over the country.
We would never exchange this experience for anything else. For us, this is a one-time opportunity to get close and personal to where that fateful day happened. We might not have more than what we can give to bring joy and smile to them but this is our own little way to spread happiness on Christmas day- by becoming a Cebu Pacific Volunteer for ‘Pasko ni Juan sa Tacloban!’ for a day.
Maligayang Pasko Tacloban!
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