OUR GANG OF FOUR AND “SHARING 2016”
By Apolinario Villalobos
Our gang of four is not involved in any illegal activities, most especially, with drugs. We share blessings that we can afford. We just concluded our rounds of distribution of goodie bags, yesterday morning for the year 2016. We started sharing them as soon as the two in our group arrived from Canada and America earlier than expected which was the last week of November. We are consistent in our plan of concluding our activities within the first week of December. The other member of the group and I are based in the Philippines.
The banks of Pasig River and identified sidewalk-dwelling families in Recto Avenue were our beneficiaries. As mentioned in my earlier blogs, our group strictly follows the rules, such as not giving of our real names, wearing only of the simplest street clothes without jewelries not even wristwatch, and no taking of pictures. Mobile phones had to be turned off as we do our rounds. We talk less and if ever, only in whispers because most of the beneficiaries are still asleep, so we just had to put the bags beside them and leave immediately. We take our breakfast at an open-air carinderia in front of the Post Office (Lawton) where we park the van that we used. Several years before, we used to park the van in front of the Binondo church when it was not yet fenced.
While about 70% of the shared blessings were donated, the rest were shouldered by two members of our group from Canada and America. Without mentioning names, I would like to thank 6 donors from Philippine Airlines who unselfishly shared a portion of their bonus, 2 Philippine-based ex-PALers and 4 based in America also sent cash donations. The two grandchildren of the Fil-Canadian who joined us last year did not make it this time because of the current political condition.
Extra cash had been purposely set aside for the “kariton” (pushcart) project in my care. For this I would look for the nearest source of second-hand materials (wood and wheels) where the recipients dwell. While I have already found a junk shop at Bambang for the Recto recipients, I have yet to find one near Pritil in Tondo. As soon as the pushcarts are finished, the recipients pick them up. They eventually, become their home on the road and storage for junks that they pick up from garbage bins and dumps. Six families have already benefited from this project last September.
For the curious, while the three of us are past 60, the most senior being 64, the Fil-Canadian physician, the youngest in our group is 52. Despite our age, we are thankful that we could still endure the tedious walk from Lawton to the Pasig River, with the trek that starts from Sta. Cruz side towards the vicinity of Divisoria. The driver of the Fil-Canadian and the nephew of our Binondo-based colleague help us all along with the load on trolleys. Just before the sun is up, we trek back to Lawton.
I am sharing this information to show that anything for the good of others can be possibly done, most especially, by praying fervently for them…whoever you are. By the way, all of us in our group of four do not belong to any religious denomination, as we are all Free Thinkers, hence, with heart and mind open to all Faiths.