Kapamilya stars gathered for one cause at the "Tulong Na, Tabang Na, Tayo Na! An All-Star Benefit Concert" at the Araneta Coliseum last November 16, 2013. Photos by Mike Bagtas for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA - Do you know how many people bought ABS-CBN's "Tulong Na, Tayo Na, Tabang Na" T-shirts?
According to ABS-CBN Licensing, over 1 million of these charity shirts have been sold since it was launched a few days after super typhoon Yolanda hit the country last November 2013 as part of the network's fund-raising campaign to help the survivors.
What started as a simple shirt eventually became a symbol of Filipinos' solidarity, hope and courage to rise from the tragedy caused by the super typhoon.
The ubiquitous shirt has been worn by people from all walks of life. Hundreds of customers lined up at the ABS-CBN Store in Quezon City at the peak of its popularity.
“The people had no complaints. They patiently waited under the sun even for hours just to buy Tulong shirts,” shared Vanessa Aldanese, a sales staff who manned the store.
“The surge of people was incredible. We were too busy on those days, but all the efforts were worth it knowing that our job was also to help the Yolanda victims,” she added.
The fund-raising effort proved that the Filipinos’ bayanihan spirit is still very much alive today.
ABS-CBN received overflowing support from various groups that volunteered to distribute the "Tulong" shirts not only in Metro Manila, but also in the provinces and abroad.
Support from business
Retail stores such as Jag, Mossimo, Team Manila and Boardwalk produced their own version of Tulong shirts and made them available in their respective boutiques and stalls.
Even non-apparel brands such as Bacolod Chicken Inasal, Karat World, and Gold's Gym sold Tulong shirts in their different branches.
Online retailers Lazada and Zalora also helped in selling and even waived their transaction fees and commissions.
Ayala Malls, Festival Mall, Power Plant Mall and Sta. Lucia Mall provided for free areas for the selling of shirts.
Provincial malls Island City Mall, City Supermarket, Inc. Mall, and NCCC Mall, meanwhile, also carried the shirts in their stores, making it available to Filipinos outside Manila.
Aside from malls, people from the provinces could also bought the Tulong shirts at ABS-CBN provincial stations and Universal Storefront Services Corporation remittance centers nationwide.
Courier company JRS Express shouldered the delivery of over 100,000 shirts to far-flung areas.
Leah Ong, a managing director at a manpower provider company in General Santos City, noticed the spirit of volunteerism in her office after she bought more than 20 Tulong shirts for her supervisors and field workers.
“When they saw us wearing the shirt and learned what it stood for, they became interested and purchased their own,” Ong recalled.
Overseas Filipino workers were also able to send help to the typhoon victims after ABS-CBN Global produced shirts in North America, Middle East, Europe, Canada, Australia and in the Asia-Pacific region.
Araneta Coliseum was also transformed into a vast sea of white as the audience in ABS-CBN's two sold-out Solidarity Concerts wore Tulong shirts to the event. (See slideshow above.)
Others companies, like 30-year-old Abesamis Dental Clinic, opted to forfeit their Christmas party to save funds for donations. Its finance manager Noemi Abesamis bought Tulong shirts to reward her colleagues for their willingness to sacrifice their annual party.
Abesamis said she was overwhelmed with how her co-employees positively reacted when they received the shirts. She recalled, “They were happy, knowing where the money spent for the shirts went.”
Linking of arms
With the warm patronage of the people towards the Tulong shirts, it truly reflected the essence of "Tulong Na, Tayo Na, Tabang Na" logo printed on the shirts.
“The logo shows an image of linking arms, which also looks like an advocacy ribbon. It also seems like Jesus Christ’s fish symbol. It symbolizes kapit bisig,” shared ABS-CBN creative communications head Robert Labayen.
Proceeds from the Tulong shirt went to the calamity fund of ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc.’s disaster emergency and rehabilitation arm Sagip Kapamilya, which has helped 724,995 families affected by Typhoon Yolanda, as of February 2014. It continuously rebuilds the livelihood of the typhoon survivors through crab cultivation, agriculture, weaving and ecotourism.
Moreover, Sagip Kapamilya has given more than 100 boats to some families in Basey, Samar and Dulag, Leyte, the two areas assigned by the government to ABS-CBN as a development partner.
There are 4,000 more boats to be distributed to other coastal areas.
Sagip Kapamilya has also begun building seven new classrooms in Dulag National High School and three classrooms in Basiao Elementary School in Basey.
Tulong shirts are still available at the ABS-CBN Store in ELJ Communications Center at www.abs-cbnstore.com and www.lazada.com.ph.
ABS-CBN Licensing has also expanded the Tulong Na, Tayo Na, Tabang Na line to include kids' shirts, tote bags, teddy bears, tumblers, key chains, bag tags and buttons. Profits will still be added to the Sagip Kapamilya calamity fund. -- from a report by Kane Choa, ABS-CBN Corporate Communications
ABS-CBNnews.com is the news website of ABS-CBN.