At a certain time when everything seemed to be happening everywhere, except, perhaps the spot where I was—where I gazed, wide-eyed, caught up with the vastness of stagnation and void – there was a particular kind of impulse. It could be moral fiber; but really, it was just a matter of chance.
By chance I became a part of the Disaster Response Team of the Philippine National Red Cross in Davao City in 2006. My high school classmate called on one of those boring days during the semestral break, which I spent over-feeding fishes and coiling in the couch to watch Shrek for the nth time. He invited me for training on Disaster Management. Because I was hungry for something to happen, I was glad to be part of anything that could break my monotonous days. Besides, if there were a gang war in our ghettoized neighborhood in Santo Niño, Matina, I thought I might be able to help. Yet I had never thought I could respond to a disaster with a sense of planning and order. I was one of the most panicky people I knew. Then again, I attended the training despite my father’s displeasure, saying in his coarse voice that I am too frail and small, “basi ikaw pa’y tabangunon.”
The five-day training was attended by undergraduates from different colleges and universities in Davao City. Some of them came in batches of three and five. Almost half of the class were nursing students from Davao Doctors College. There were eighteen trainees and I was the only one who came from the University of the Philippines Mindanao.