Jio Jalalon did not go out during the first two weeks of the region-wide enhanced community quarantine.
But once he was able to go out, he saw a whole new world, with every street looking like a ghost town. And it made the 27-year-old native of Cagayan de Oro realize one thing — he needs to give back to the frontliners and the homeless.
“Nung second week ng quarantine, du’n pa lang ako nakalabas. Ako lang mag-isa nu’n so nag-ikot-ikot ako,” recalled the Magnolia Hotshots floor general. “Nakita ko ‘yung mga nagche-checkpoint dito sa amin, so naisip na grabe ‘yung sakripisyo na ginagawa nila. Mayroon na ngang virus na nakakatakot, pero araw-araw pa rin silang nasa daan.
“Naisip ko sa sarili ko na puwede ako magbahagi sa kanila ng food… Kahit merienda lang.”
Gathering friends he met in the NCAA, such as ex-Lyceum guard Dexter Zamora and former Perpetual Help swingman Gab Dagangon, they made sure to do their part in giving back.
It started last Wednesday, when Jalalon and Bohol-native Zamora went around checkpoints in Manila to give meals to the military men stationed.
“Niyaya ko ‘yung kaibigan ko na si Dexter Zamora na mag-ikot. Bumili kami ng 200 pieces ng burger, tubig, at juice. Kahit kaunting tulong lang, ang importante ay napasaya namin ‘yung mga bayani natin.”
That was not enough for Jalalon, though. A day later, he called on Dagangon to help him distribute packs of goods to Manila’s homeless.
For him and Davao-native Dagangon, they know the hardships that come in every crisis. This was their way of helping them just for a day.
“Tapos nung sumunod na araw, ininvite ko naman si Gab. Sinabihan ko naman siya na mamili kami ng bigas, sardinas, at pancit canton para sa mga tricycle driver natin na hindi makabyahe; mga tao sa kalsada lang natutulog; at lalo na sa mga vendors na naapektuhan ‘yung kanilang mga trabaho,” shared Jalalon.
“Isipin mo, walang katao-tao sa daan, kaya wala silang hanap buhay. Kahit kaunti lang ‘yung naibigay namin, masaya kami ni Gab na makapagbigay sa kanila kasi pareho rin kaming laki sa hirap,” he continued, as Dagangon has found his niche with MPBL club Basilan-Jumbo Plastic.
“Siyempre sa ganitong panahon, ma-rerealize mo na-bless kami ni God, kami ng family ko. Kami ni Gab, kailangan namin maibalik ‘yung blessings namin sa mga nangangailangan. Pareho kami na naranasan namin ‘yung hirap ng buhay.”
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