Monday, Apr 19

Humanity beyond bounds and against all odds

March 03, 2018 | Jonas Trinidad

A barrage of coin banks rattle, affirming the dedication of Barangay Cupang’s 1,000 rice recipients in helping Tzu Chi help others. The volunteers will return by the end of March to collect the coin banks, regardless of the amount saved. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

Story Highlights

  • Tzu Chi volunteers reached out to Barangay Cupang in Antipolo City, Rizal on March 3, providing 20 kilos of rice to 1,000 indigent families and fulfilling the promise made last year.

  • Aside from rice, the recipients also got their coin banks for them to pool their contributions for the welfare of others. The volunteers will return by March 31 to collect the coin banks regardless of the amount saved. The eagerness of the families shows in their pledge to donate despite their current situation in life.


Fulfilling its promise last year, Tzu Chi on March 3 brought rice and blessings to the indigent families of Barangay Cupang in Antipolo City, Rizal.

With assistance from local social workers, Tzu Chi volunteers reached out and provided 20 kilos of “Love From Taiwan” to 1,000 families. The community was given priority in this year’s rice relief, as the residents were unable to go to last year’s activity at the Ynares Center. Most could barely earn enough to pay for the long trip to the venue and back home.

At the behest of Mayor Casimiro Ynares III, the Buddhist organization visited and earmarked households across Barangay Cupang on March 1. Last year, he had asked for at least 500 sacks to be distributed to the less fortunate.

But after a thorough census, Tzu Chi doubled the allocation.

“Five hundred sacks won’t be enough. There are a lot of indigent families here. That’s why we tried to include as many as we could today,” explains Tzu Chi volunteer Linda Chua, coordinating the relief effort.

Having known Tzu Chi since the relief efforts for Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana) victims, Ynares took it upon himself to teach his colleagues and constituents how to be grateful. Aside from rice, the recipients each received a coin bank where they would pool their contributions for other people in need. The mayor urged everyone, especially in the local government, to continue to help even when the day is over.

“Most people think that our work is simply an 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. job. After that, when you leave the office, you’re done with your responsibilities. So we teach our colleagues in the government that your obligations don’t end at 5:00 p.m. The moment you wake up, you have to think how you’ll help others today,” says Ynares.

“We can sleep soundly knowing that we can be of help somehow. Even if we can’t be physically present in disaster areas, we know that through Tzu Chi our help goes a long way,” he adds.

The volunteers will return by March 31 to collect the coin banks, whether they’re partially-filled or full.

Still helping

Majority of the households in Barangay Cupang have no stable income. Jobless heads of families make do with whatever their children or relatives bring home, be it money or basic needs. Still, many recipients were happy to receive a coin bank with their sack of rice. Many were more than willing to cultivate goodness no matter what.

The lack of a regular job won’t stop elderly couple Pedro and Alejandra Diangco from filling their coin bank. Learning about how a small amount can go a long way, they were filled with eagerness, especially the wife. It’s the least they could do in exchange for a life, as Pedro puts it, “blessed by God’s mercy.”

“It’s better to give than to receive. If you give, you help someone,” says Alejandra, even if her medications for diabetes and pneumonia take up the budget.

Meanwhile, similar constraints also define the life of Karen Lyn Borromeo’s family. Most of them stay at home to look after her old sister, suffering from complications of intestinal cancer. Last year, she underwent surgery to have her large intestine removed. She regained her strength for a time, but the cancer returned more dangerous than ever. Surgery is no longer an option as the cancer has spread to other organs.

“We all stay home and take turns in tending to her needs. She can’t walk on her own and can’t reach the things she needs,” narrates Borromeo.

The rice they received that day would alleviate their budget woes. Any savings they could spare would go to the coin bank, showing that they were still willing to help.

#HelpTzuChiHelpOthers. For as little as the cost of a cup of coffee, your donation can go a long way in alleviating suffering. Visit to contribute to the cause of love and care.

  • Mayor Casimiro Ynares III shares that a public servant’s duties don’t end after office hours. One must always be ready to help anywhere anytime. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • A Tzu Chi volunteer brings an armful of coin banks to be distributed to the recipients. The program prior to the rice distribution teaches them how as much as a peso can go a long way in helping the needy of the world. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Making good on its promise last year, Tzu Chi brings relief to the indigents of Barangay Cupang. The community was prioritized in this year’s rice relief activity, as its residents were unable to go to last year’s relief due to the faraway venue. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Elderly couple Pedro and Alejandra Diangco walks home with their share of Love From Taiwan. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Despite not having jobs, the elderly couple contributes what they can in the coin bank. They get by with the help of their children and their families living next to them. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The Diangco household has a low ceiling and is a loose assembly of salvaged materials. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Karen Lyn Borromeo (right) shows Tzu Chi volunteer Edison Hina (right) a picture of her older sister when she was still healthy. Now, her older sister is bedridden by complications of her intestinal cancer. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The rice from Tzu Chi will help the Borromeo household reduce food expenses, allowing them to afford the needs of Karen Lyn’s sickly sister. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】


  • LAST UPDATED: March 20, 2018 14:03 PM