Sunday, May 09

Fire victims adopt coin cans to help others

September 08, 2018 | Donna Sayson

After the fire, Glorito Linanggan found the coin can that was given to him last July by Tzu Chi Foundation in the ashes of his burnt house. He gave it back to Tzu Chi volunteers and asked for a new one to replace it.【Photo by Donna Sayson】

Story Highlights

  • On August 29, more than 300 families took shelter in Jun Torres gymnasium after a fire at the residential block of Brgy. Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City.

  • Tzu Chi given each family a set of relief goods and 10-kg sack of Taiwan rice.

  • One of the residents was able to find the Tzu Chi coin can while scavenging over his burnt house.


Tzu Chi conducted a fire relief for the fire victims of Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City.

On August 29, a total of 140 houses on Blk. 34, Welfareville Compound, of Brgy. Addition Hills was burned down due to faulty electrical wirings.

The fire started at around 1:30 p.m., reaching the third alarm by 2 p.m. The fire spread quickly because the houses were so close to each other. It was declared fire out at around 3:33 p.m. with zero casualties.

Based on the barangay disaster report, 336 families – or 1,219 individuals – were temporarily sheltered at Jun Torres Gymnasium. The belongings they saved were used as division between families in the evacuation center.

In the morning of September 8, Tzu Chi extended assistance by giving sacks of 10-kilo Taiwan rice, sleeping mat, blanket, plates, spoons and forks, cups, cooking pot, detergent and clothes to the fire victims, benefitting a total of 330 families.

Prior to the distribution of relief goods, a Tzu Chi volunteer introduced Tzu Chi Foundation and talked about Master Cheng Yen who started the foundation with 30 housewives who shares the same vision – to help the people who are in need.

Volunteers performed the sign language to the song ‘One Family’; beneficiaries followed the hand gestures joyously. But the smiles of the 34 years old Abigail David was replaced by silent grief as Tzu Chi volunteers lead the prayer.

“When I was listening to the prayer, it [the prayer] reminds me of my father who passed away, and the memories we had together for 38 years in the house that was burned. This fire left us with nothing but the ruins of the house that we once own.”

It was different the first time Tzu Chi came to their community last July 7th to distribute 20-kg Taiwan rice and the coin cans. But this time, Abigail has to face the reality of the situation and she hopes that together with her family, they will be able to help each other stand up again.

Glorito Linanggan, 55, returned the burnt coin can he saved from the ashes of his burnt house and told the volunteers that he has been donating to his coin can since he owns a mini store. Although his house and mini store are gone, but he said: “Even just by donating what we can daily, I know that I could help a lot of people. Thank you so much, Tzu Chi,”

Glorito adopted a new Tzu Chi coin can and he is determined to help others who could be in need just like him now.

Unfortunately for Helena Talacay, 57, she regrets that she was not able to save the coin can together with her other belongings during the fire. 

She believes that the coin can brings luck. She would utter a prayer whenever she donates and she was able to encourage her son to do the same. She believes that her son was able to get a job because of this practice. “It’s like a blessing for us and that is the reason why I continued to donate,” she said.

“Because of Tzu Chi Foundation, I learned how to share,” Helena said after asking for a new coin can.

During the sharing, one of the Tzu Chi volunteers asked what the recipients know about karma. Helena answered that there are two types of karma: the good and bad. Whatever one does, either good or bad karma, it will come back in the future.

“I learned that from Tzu Chi. I’m happy and thankful that I was able to listen to the teachings.”

  • Tzu Chi volunteers distributed claim stubs to assure an organized relief operation.【Photo by Donna Sayson】

  • This residential block turned into an empty lot after the fire.【Photo by Donna Sayson】

  • Abigail David was moved to tears in recalling how her and her family were before the fire.【Photo by Donna Sayson】

  • Fire victim Helena Talacay answered enthusiastically when a Tzu Chi volunteer asked the crowd on their knowledge of karma.【Photo by Donna Sayson】

  • Glorito Linanggan receives his pack of relief goods, 10-kilogram Taiwan rice, and his new Tzu Chi coin can.【Photo by Donna Sayson】

  • Brgy. Addition Hills fire victims are all smiles when they received their relief goods.【Photo by Donna Sayson】

  • Glorito Linanggan brought the coins he saved from his burnt house to the Tzu Chi Foundation as his donation. These coins will be sent to the bank to check if they are still of value. 【Photo by Judy Lao 】