The thought of transferring to a new flat is already a nightmare. The actual transfer to a new home is an agony. Be it physical, mental and even financial. Good thing Bayanihan is very much alive in Dubai.
Since 2005, we have been living in Jebel Ali and have stayed in four flats already. We always find helping hands every time we move out and move in from brothers and sisters of our community CFC, SFC, SOLD and HOLD.
Moving out means repainting the walls back to its original color. This is where Julito Bungcasan and Jun Bayla come in. Days before we finally move out we start transporting small boxes, personal clothes and breakable items in private vehicles. Here we are grateful to Nelson Pate, Mel De Leon, Jimmy Monreal, Ronald Esguerra, Jun Pajunar, Edward Ducusin, Felino Angubat, Ronnie Dizon, Buboy Redaniel and, again, Jun Bayla.
Moving in means installing the curtain rods, the chandelier and the wall mirrors, as well as assembling the cabinets and connecting the washing machine. We cannot forget Tom Avenido, Ricky Gardoche, Francis Galgana, Ronald Bucad, Edwards Licas and Flor Manalaysay.
During one of our move ins we were ‘fed’ by Merla Bungcasan, Lanie Decena and Esel Garcia. They brought food on our first days when we were vertical neighbors — we were exactly under their flat. Being really good friends and neighbors, we exchange meals and refreshments and we never missed greeting a birthday celebrant personally. Merla’s brother Juno has also extended his muscles several times.
We find Jebel Ali like a province in the Philippines where a call for help is just a shout or a block away. You will never get disappointed because when someone you asked for assistance is not available then there are others who can take his or her place quickly.
Another Bayanihan in action is the ongoing preparations for the December 15 Bayanihan Festival led by community leaders Tata Dayot and Ericson Reyes.
What they are doing, together with the various organizations of FilClub, validates what I had written nine years ago. This is an excerpt from my Philippine Independence Day (PID) 2008 message in the souvenir programme: “Bayanihan has been prevalent in the various working committees where each member representing groups with divergent interests are collaborating admirably as if we have gone back to the era where communal sharing is the way of life. Just imagine the nipa hut being carried by men, with the women following and carrying food, which they will prepare upon arrival at the new location of the nipa hut dwellers. A fiesta is held afterwards.”
In the last meeting of the 2008 PID working committees a few days before the actual celebrations at Al Nasr Leisureland I told the leaders and volunteers that it would be nice to have a yearend program that would see all organizations working together again soon. In previous years the organizations come together in the first quarter of the new year to plan for the June celebrations. The lull is usually more than half a year from the Thanksgiving Party in July to the first meeting in February.
It was in the July 2008 thanksgiving party, a month after the PID celebrations, that I officially launched the yearend program in the presence of the then Consul General, the late Ambassador Benito Valeriano, and named Dante Delizo to head the committee. The yearend program was eventually named Bayanihan Festival as suggested by Cherry Pye Zablan.
Just like the centuries-old Bayanihan way of living in our homeland, Bayanihan in Dubai, in the UAE, and in the Middle East is very much alive. Let’s keep the spirit in our hearts and mind, dear kabayan leaders. For this spirit will one day raise the flag of our image as a truly united ethnic group contributing excellent services and products in the Middle East.