ORANGE COUNTY, California - A Filipino priest visited the Filipino community in the US to raise funds for a garden for an orthopedic hospital in Quezon City.
But with the recent massive flooding in the Philippines due to the heavy rains brought about by the enhanced southwest monsoon, Fr. Arnold Abelardo's visit has now become a call for prayers and support.
"Prayer of solidarity para sa mga nabagyo at huwag sanang mawalan ng pagasa ang mga kababayan nating binagyo sa Pilipinas," said Fr. Abelardo
Abelardo said he hasn’t had much sleep since the floods hit Metro Manila.
He has been coordinating with the Philippine Orthopedic Center on relief efforts, and will now be helping raise relief funds during his US visit.
"Hinni ko akalain na ganun na pala yun baha. Tumawag ako sa ospital sabi nila, 'Father, maraming mga nurses ang hindi nakapasok. Ilang mga cook hindi nakapasok kaya walang nakaluto para sa ibang pasyente at bantay'," he said.
For some of the local Filipinos, his call and his prayers bring hope. Some of them have difficulties reaching loved ones from flood-ravaged areas of Metro Manila.
"Sana hindi kayo inabutan ng baha, sana ligtas ka," said Pinoy Ray Agustin.
Josie Castro meanwhile said that some relatives lived in flood-hit Roxas District in Quezon City.
"We also have some relatives in the Roxas District and from the news, they say the water is up to neck high in the Roxas District in Quezon City. We'll just pray that they're all well there," she said.
Father Abelardo is scheduled to return to Manila after stops in San Francisco, Texas and Chicago. He is planning to immediately help with relief efforts upon his return.