PHILIPPINES - The Air Force plane had just taken off after delivering relief goods to the quake-devastated town of Loon in Bohol when the pilot saw something that he found genuinely touching.
The town's residents had arranged the relief goods into the letters "TY" for the pilots and staff to see from the air.
Such expressions of gratitude from earthquake victims could be seen in many Bohol towns in the aftermath of the 7.2-magnitude quake that struck the province on Oct. 15 and left at least 200 people dead.
The words Daghang salamat (Thank you very much) were written on pieces of white cloths, wood and even cartons that were placed on the highways or hung on the streets for the relief workers to see and appreciate.
"Those signs scattered all over Bohol is so rewarding for us volunteers. It would make us forget all challenges we went through in our operations," said Anna Maris Igpit, a former Bb. Pilipinas World and a native of Panglao Island.
"I'm so proud that my fellow Boholanos are doing this. It shows how grateful they are for all the help and donations they've been getting," said Igpit, the prime mover of the Oplan Bangon Bohol donation drive for the quake victims.
The pilot of the Air Force plane, Capt. Juji Generalao said his eyes filled with tears when he saw the letters "TY" on the ground but he kept his emotions in check because he did not want to be seen crying by his female copilot.
But when he later got together with the crew, they turned out to be similarly misty-eyed and touched by the gesture of appreciation from Loon residents.
"You know that feeling when you're very tired and hungry but they all disappeared when you saw that sign? I told myself that even if I am just an ordinary individual, I was able to do something for fellow human beings," said Generalao.