Despite the ongoing crisis that the whole country — and the world — is going through because of the pandemic, it is truly heartwarming to see people responding to the call for bayanihan (cooperation), like this network of 700 doctors who are offering free consultations online.
It’s not just doctors and health care workers responding to the call, though. In the town of Malasiqui, Pangasinan, a farmer and his family have gone viral on social media. The reason? They are giving away their harvest of eggplants and other vegetables to their community!
Pangasinan Farmer Gives Away Vegetables Amid Lockdown
Joel Espinoza, a 31-year-old buko (coconut) juice vendor and farmer, has been giving away eggplants and other vegetables to the people of Barangay Binalay in Malasiqui. Also known as “Erning Kalabaw,” he comes from a family of farmers, just like most of the town residents.
“Napanuod namin yung video na inuudyukan [ang] mga mayayaman na tumulong sa mga nangangailangan ngayong krisis (We saw a video of a man calling on rich people to help those in need during this crisis),” Espinoza said during a video call interview, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported.
“Mahirap lang kami pero yung mga kabarangay namin wala nang maulam, kaya kung ano yong sobra-sobra sa amin, pinamimigay na lang namin (We are poor but some people in our barangay already lack food to eat, so what we have in excess, we’ve decided to give away),” he continued.
Espinoza explained that their community has been on lockdown since a positive case of the outbreak was confirmed. The residents are unable to leave, and only buyers of their products are permitted to enter and leave the community. Unfortunately, there is no satellite market nearby, and the only food they have is what they have grown on their fields.
“May mga relief goods pero kulang pa rin po (There are relief goods but they are not enough),” he stated. “May mga wala nang maulam (Some people no longer have viands).
Responding to the need for bayanihan, Espinoza and his family have decided to let people pick eggplants and other vegetables grown on their one-and-a-half-hectare field.
“Kadalasan mahigit 200 kilos ang naha-harvest namin dito na talong every other day (Usually, we harvest 200 kilograms of eggplant every other day),” he said. “At sa loob ng dalawang araw, napitasan na ng mga kabarangay namin ang kalahating ektarya (In just two days, the people in our community have picked the produce in a half-hectare land).”
OFWs Send Donations to the Community
After the video featuring Espinoza went viral, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have sent donations, which were then used to purchase rice for members of the community.
“May nagpadala po nung isang araw, mga OFWs na nasa Israel at ipinambili po namin ng apat na sakong bigas na naipamigay na rin namin sa aming mga kabarangay (The other day, OFWs from Israel sent donations that we used to buy four sacks of rice, which we have already distributed to the community),” he shared.
Espinoza thanked the donors, as well as the local government of Candon City, Ilocos Sur, for bringing them home before the province of Pangasinan was placed under extremely enhanced community quarantine. He continues to call for donations in behalf of his community.
Notably, since Espinoza’s video was posted on 2nd April 2020, it has garnered over one million views! Check out this video of Espinoza (a.k.a. “Erning Kalabaw”) sharing his vegetables to people in need, as posted by his neighbour, Osmundo Barboza, on Facebook: