‘Bayanihan spirit’ shines through as California residents try to survive impact of wildfires

PINOLE, CA — Pearl Parmelee Cabrera lives on a hilly area in Pinole, which is more at risk during California’s wildfire season.

She has recently cleaned out her garden to trim out the flammable parts of small trees.

In the last 2 days, Cabrera has been one of hundreds of thousands affected by the pre-emptive power outages by PG&E, as wildfires ravaged various parts of the state.

She is thankful for the power of social media that paved the way for help to come quickly — after she made an appeal for what she needed, such as a power bank — and someone bought it for her online.

Cabrera, who is used to giving to those in need, feels grateful to also be on the receiving end.

“I almost cried because it’s like, I just vent out in Facebook … I think venting out, telling people what you need…so they can give you the proper things you need. You can just say “I hate power outages” but tell them what you’re experiencing and share it.”

In the nearby town of Hercules, the community center became an evacuation center after the crocket fire forced many residents out of their homes.

Vice Mayor Roland Esquivias said thankfully many volunteers in the community were quick to help.

“They assisted in road closures and just made sure that you know everybody was safe and everybody was taken care it off, you know, and yeah and then we open our community center as a shelter for evacuees

The vice mayor added that in these trying times, the bayanihan spirit shines through.

For Esquivias and Cabrera, amidst the fear and uncertainty of the wildfires near them, they are assured that human kindness will carry them through — and that they can lean on the Filipino community for help when they need it most.

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