Injured Canadian tourist gives back to local Palawan hospital

by Marieton Pacheco, ABS-CBN News


It was supposed to be John Abou-Samra’s vacation of the year.

After a few days in El Nido, Palawan last June, Samra then traveled to Coron to explore more of the beautiful island.

But the vacation took an ugly turn while he was exploring Kayangan Lake.

This photo was taken just a few minutes before the accident happened.
“I asked someone to take a picture of me, and then after she took picture, I moved to this side to sit down. While I moved, two of this wood, they split, and my right leg sank between them up to my hip. Till now I still have the pain,” said Samra.

The injury left Samra black and blue for weeks.

But he is thankful there was no bleeding given his medical condition.

“Praise God I was very lucky I did not bleed, cause if I bled I would die in 5 minutes — I am on a blood thinner. But only scratches and bruises. And immediately the lifeguard and tour guide ran to me, they lifted me up, I could not stand up and gave me ice and cold water to relieve the pain.”

Samra was brought to the Coron District Hospital the next day for X-ray and treatment.

“Two nurses took care of me in a way I could not imagine, plus in the half an hour I stayed in the hospital, I heard the word ‘sir’ more than 25 times. Even when I was wearing something very casual; I looked like a homeless person, they never stopped calling me sir.”

The brief experience left such a mark on the tourist, he’s paying it forward by doing something the hospital will never forget.

After weeks of communication with the hospital’s Dr. Edgardo Flores, Samra has ordered the initial batch of equipment for donation, which includes an ECG Defibrillator, and many more.

Kababayan Freddie Bagunu has worked with Samra in fundraising events for typhoon victims in the Philippines before, and he is helping him coordinate the delivery.

“How can I deny a Lebanese guy who loves to help people, he has a track record of helping a lot of people, no one can deny that,” said Bagunu. “That accident in Palawan, instead of suing the resort, he is donating to the Philippines; he is giving money to our country.”

Samra and Bagunu will head to Coron late September to personally deliver the donation.

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