MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Like many other stranded commuters, sisters Ela and Frances Florendo complained about the heavy traffic caused by the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) rally on EDSA from the evening of August 28 afternoon to morning of August 31. (READ: INC protesters anger commuters, stranded motorists)
INC members – about 5,000, according to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) – flocked to EDSA near the historic People Power shrine Friday to continue their protest of the government’s supposed “meddling” with internal issues of the 101-year-old church. Authorities estimated that crowd numbers peaked at about 20,000 on Sunday night.
"The traffic and inconvenience that this event caused was so terrible,” Ela said in a Facebook post.
"My sister and I didn't experience commuting in that kind of situation. We couldn't do anything about the traffic," she told Rappler in an online interview.
Ela, 20, and her sister Frances, 16, did something else instead of ranting about the situation.
Sea of protesters
Ela said her sister Frances Faith floated the idea of giving out free water to commuters who were walking to their destinations.
"At first I just laughed at her idea about giving free water, but then I realized: 'Why not?' Everyone in our household helped us with this. Our driver, house helper, and titas. Even the guards of our building helped us distribute water. This was a really humbling experience," Ela told Rappler.
According to Ela, they pitied the strangers, some of whom had been walking for 4 hours just to reach home. They also saw how other commuters were exhausted, trapped in a sea of protesters that blocked part of EDSA.
“There were also kids walking with their parents. We saw how badly they needed water,” Ela said.
Women and men for others
The sisters’ act gained praises from relatives and netizens.
"Dad and mom are so proud of you guys! We thank God to have raised you to be men and women for others! We love you!” her mother Ester commented.
The Florendo sisters studied at Ela is in her 4th year at Mapúa Institute of Technology, while her sister is in her first year at the Ateneo de Manila University.
Inspired by the Florendos, many Facebook users posted messages for the sisters:
"Wow! Amazing! Faith in humanity restored!"
"Little acts of kindness will go a long way!”
"Something positive after a weekend of rant and sarcasm. I hope that you continue helping others."
One commenter joked: "Wala daw ba biscuit?" (Any biscuits to go with it?)
Ela quipped: "Tubig lang keri. Hahahaha! At least with ice yun." (We could only afford water. But at least it had ice). – Rappler.com