TACLOBAN CITY- They only wanted to see the vessel that was washed inland during the onslaught of supertyphoon Yolanda eight months ago. But Americans, S/Sgt Bobby West, T/Sgt Joshua Morris, T/Sgt Gabriel Peterson and T/Sgt AJ Mester, ended up donating basketballs and playing basketball with the young men in the area.

The four Americans are part of the Pacific Partnership 2014 went to Anibong District on July 6 to personally see the vessel that was washed inland due to the storm surges generated by Yolanda. The Pacific Partnership 2014 is a humanitarian mission composed of soldiers and doctors coming from the United States, Japan, Australia and Malaysia, which was held in Tacloban and ended on July 14. Aside from conducting medical missions, the group also worked for the repair of several public school buildings and at the Tacloban City Hospital destroyed during the onslaught of Yolanda on November 8, 2013.

The four Americans first visited Anibong on July 6 to see MV Jocelyn and saw several young men playing basketball. The four then decided to return to the area on July 12 to give a present to the young men basketballs. But this was not the end of it as the young men offered to play basketball with the visiting Americans who, in turn, readily agreed to play with them. The friendly basketball game, witnessed by residents marked with cheering and clapping, lasted for 30 minutes under a scorching sun.
Mester lauded the local for their skills on playing basketball, a game popularized by the Americans but the game was invented by their Canadian neighbors.
“They are really good and very fast,” he said.

Mester added that he was glad to see residents of Anibong and of the city, recovering from the devastation so quickly which only proves the Filipinos much talked about resiliency. “They are really great and friendly, I hate to see what had happened but it has been more seven months after the typhoon and we saw how strong Filipinos are. You have a lot of endurance and we know that you can prosper and come back again,” Mester added. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)