Thursday, Aug 06

Love for storm victims, lessons for volunteers

February 02, 2018 | Chloe Dela Cruz

Recipients cannot hide their gratitude after claiming their 20-kilo sack of rice. For a far-flung community like them, to receive aid from a Manila-based group is a blessing.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

Story Highlights

  • The first day of rice distributions for Tropical Storm Vinta and Tropical Depression Agaton kicked off on February 2 with 5,468 family beneficiaries from 21 villages in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte.

  • Despite the calamity that struck them, the recipients remain optimistic. Their positive outlook in life is an inspiration to Tzu Chi volunteers to continue serving.

On February 2, Tzu Chi Foundation’s rice distributions for the survivors of Tropical Storms Vinta and Tropical Depression Agaton benefitted 5,468 families from 21 barangays in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte.

Daniel Ramirez, a resident of Barangay Hinaplanon, shared that since he got his claiming stub on January 30, he had been unable to sleep because of excitement. A single father to his two children and with five other members to support, the 20-kilo of rice from Tzu Chi is a big blessing.

But more than the amount of aid they received, it was how Tzu Chi volunteers made them feel that the recipients will always treasure. “I learned that Tzu Chi Foundation can also be a source of love and giving,” observes Ramirez. “I also admire the volunteers because they still wear smiles despite a long, tiring day.”

Hydie Calunod, a beneficiary from Barangay Bagong Silang, emphasizes that it was love that’s circulating around the hall and not pity. “Other organizations will just give the relief and they’re done. Here in Tzu Chi Foundation, there are sign language performances and lessons,” Calunod adds.

Tzu Chi volunteer Cindy Kwok believes that there is no distinction between the giver and the receiver. It just so happened that the latter was struck by a calamity. Hence, whether under the heat of the sun or a drizzle, Kwok was there for the recipients. “This is my small way of helping,” she explains.

If Tzu Chi Foundation gave them rice, the recipients gave something back.

“They were devastated by storms during the Christmas Season. It only means that they celebrated their Christmas and New Year sad – without a home, without food on the table. Yet, they remain positive. Their optimism is contagious. It makes me stop and ask ‘who am I to complain with my life?” ends Kwok.


#HelpTzuChiHelpOthers For more details, log on to

  • A total of 1,182 residents from different families gather at Barangay Hinaplanon Gym to claim their 20-kilo sack of rice from Tzu Chi Foundation.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • More than 900 families benefitted from the rice distribution of Tzu Chi Foundation in Barangay Bagong Silang, Iligan City. Tzu Chi volunteers also teach the recipients Tzu Chi’s sign language culture.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Tzu Chi Philippines CEO Henry Yuñez tells the recipients that the rice is Tzu Chi founder Master Cheng Yen’s way of showing her love to the victims of tropical storms in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Iligan Congressman Frederick Siao reminds the recipients to be grateful to Tzu Chi. Siao clarifies that the rice is not from his office and that they are only helping Tzu Chi Foundation in the distribution.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Congressman Frederick Siao thanks the Tzu Chi volunteers for their effort and hard work in making the rice distribution possible.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • A Tzu Chi volunteer talks about Tzu Chi’s history and its four missions of Charity, Medicine, Education, and Humanity while the recipients wait for their turn to get the rice.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Tzu Chi volunteer Jimmy Chua shares how the organization’s aid beneficiaries in Manila are saving their coin donations in a coin bank or an empty plastic bottle to pay forward Tzu Chi’s help. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Daniel Ramirez enjoys doing the sign language presentation of “Nice to Meet You”.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Beneficiaries also receive Tzu Chi Foundation’s quarterly newsletter so they will learn more about Tzu Chi Foundation, its advocacies, and programs.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Recipients happily show their rice stubs while waiting in line.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers tie the rice stubs into ten to make it easier to get the final count of recipients after the distributions.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Tzu Chi Philippines CEO Henry Yuñez supervises the distribution of rice.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • A local volunteer helps a recipient carry the 20-kilo sack of rice. Since some beneficiaries are elders, fellow recipients volunteer to assist them.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Smiles are in every recipients’ face after getting their 20-kilos sack of rice. The rice aid will be a big help to their family and will give them peaceful nights, no longer wondering where to find food the following day.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • A local volunteer smiles as he carries the sack of rice for his fellow Iliganon. Volunteering is his way of showing his gratitude to Tzu Chi Foundation for helping not only him but his whole barangay.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • A recipient carries her sack of rice on her own. For her, the rice is tastier if she puts an effort to carry it up to their house.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • Hydie Calunod gestures a thank you for the rice donation. A local volunteer assists her in carrying the sack of rice.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】

  • The Tambobo family shows their gratitude through a hand sign. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】