Salford University footballer Lia Masibay is appealing for donations to send to the Philippines to provide clothing for those affected by poverty and the aftermath of Typhoon Goni.

Donations in Salford are organised and collected by Lia and then picked up by fellow Manchester footballer Mervin Evangelista, of Bien and Myrna Express Cargo UK, to be shipped across the world to the islands for typhoon victims.

Donations requested include clothing for both adults and children as well as shoes.

Typhoon Goni first hit land in the Philippines on October 31st and over a million people have been evacuated as a result. 32 people have lost their lives and over 390,000 people have since been displaced. The typhoon has damaged approximately 100,000 homes, leaving thousands of people homeless and without any property, including clean clothes.

Once all the clothes are collected, the company pack and transport them in bulk to the Philippines.

These balikbayan boxes are then distributed by Filipino company Atlas, to areas that have been affected by the typhoon and to charities who ensure people have clothes.

Lia Masibay with a large clothing donation

A balikbayan box is a collection of items, boxed up and sent by overseas Filipinos.

The balikbayan is a modern take on the Philippine practice of pasalubong – where Filipino travellers bring gifts from their destination to their families and people back home, after they have been gone for a period of time.

“Here we have everything we need and want. Unfortunately, other countries do not have much. So that is why we are giving back and helping them. Because we care about them,” says sports rehabilitation student, Lia, who was born in Mindanao, The Philippines.

“This is us raising awareness of the typhoon and getting together, in a social distanced way, and giving back to the Philippines”

Bien and Myrna Express Cargo UK was founded in 2016. Run by Bien and Myrna with the help of their son Mervin, they ship hundreds of donations at a time to the Philippines.

(Centre) Bien and Myrna, pictured with their daughter and son Mervin (Left)

“The importance of donating is not brought up in the bigger light that it should be,” says Mervin.

“The unemployment rate in the Philippines is the 3rd worst in Asia, so the people affected by the recent typhoon do not have any means of making income to pick themselves back up from a natural disaster.”

“This is important to me and my parents because before migrating to the UK in 2000 we ourselves lived in a province that was hit by a typhoon half the size of this one.”

“The damage was unbelievable, we had luckily had strong housing however our belongings were completely flooded, therefore cutting off electrical supply across town and a lack of clean clothing to wear.

Bien and Myrna writing addresses on Balikbayan boxes

“That typhoon we experienced was minor in comparison to the recent one, so I can only imagine what the victims are going through.”

To organise donations in Salford, contact Lia Masibay via instagram – @lia.perl

To organise donations in Greater Manchester, contact Mervin Evangelista on 07896296030 or via Instagram @mpevangelista

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