Calamities, whether it be man-made or natural, have brought out the best in Filipinos, who are known for the "bayanihan" spirit.
This came into the fore once again in the recent eruption of Taal Volcano when thousands have poured in donations to ease the plight of those affected.
For Melvin Crisostomo, dean of the Student Affairs Office at the City University of Pasay (CUP), the surge of donations for the evacuees in Batangas corresponds to the number of Filipinos who value their kababayan in time of disasters.
"Our university would like to promote 'pakikipagkapwa-tao' [human relations] among our students. Letting them feel to empathize with others, in helpfulness and generosity in times of need and that when disasters occur, students could be able to extend assistance a helping hand," Crisostomo said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency on Friday.
He said he is grateful to those who donated and never have second thoughts in helping a fellowman.
When Taal Volcano erupted on January 13, Crisostomo said they have 50 students who have been affected by the heavy ashfall.
He said the school administration's immediate response was to raise donations from the students, their partners, and other institutions.
Crisostomo said the CUP immediately met on January 15 to discuss any augmentation they can extend to the victims of the volcanic eruption.
The donations-- including food items, used clothing, sanitary and hygiene kits-- were promptly raised and poured in through social media, he said.
The camaraderie among CUP students, he said, was demonstrated by providing relief assistance to their fellow students' affected families.
"In our minds, we are not just helping our fellow Filipino but also we are molding our students to promote humanity," he added.
On top of the donations, the CUP administration and its student council also raised financial aid to buy more relief goods for the evacuees.
CUP's Community Outreach head Rosalinda Regala said the overwhelming response of their students and their willingness to donate without asking them to do so, is heartwarming.
"It is very heartwarming to see the willingness of those students to donate and help that you don't have to force them. They're the ones doing their way to help. This is just a small thing but if you put that little help together, it could create a bigger relief to those who needed it," she said.
Meanwhile, Brian Aris Bolante, CUP student council president, said reaching out to fellow Filipinos in times of crisis is not just showing sympathy but also promotes nation-building.
"This is how we could get through all ups and down, by working hand-in-hand and help each other," Bolante said.
As of this posting, the CUP has been coordinating with the Philippine Air Force's Civil-Military Operations (PAF-CMO) and the Student Supreme Council of the Philippines in the repacking and distribution of the donated items to the evacuees in Batangas.
Source: Philippines News Agency