TORONTO — Filipino-Canadian tourist Rina Maramo, was traveling from Laguna to Batangas when she witnessed first-hand Taal volcano’s recent eruption, and saw the smoke and ashes spewing from the volcano.
“It was a horrible experience. Akala ko hindi nangyayari ang ganun.(insert subtitles: I didn’t think that would happen.) Once we got to Santo Tomas, that’s when we noticed ashes on the car. Once I got home, I looked down on the volcano from the rooftop and that’s when you can see the smoke and the fire itself. Even inside the houses, we closed the windows and the doors, but still ashes can get in to your house.”
Like many stranded travelers, Maramo’s flight was delayed by almost a week, which allowed her to take part in the relief operations.
“People helping each other even poor farmers donating their harvest of vegetable. If I can help, I would rather help people who lost their homes. Some houses are crushed out.”
The bayanihan spirit is also evident in Toronto, as Fil-Cans from Gawad Kalinga Canada and Ating Bahay showed sympathy, raising funds and donations for Taal evacuees however they can.
With Philippine experts monitoring Taal closely for signs of a major eruption, more than 145,000 people remain in evacuation centers in Batangas, in desperate need of supplies.
And Filipinos in North America are doing their part to make sure help is on the way.