Aside from what he described as the "usual stuff," boxing star Manny Pacquiao gave away Bibles to evacuees who have taken temporary shelter in tents on the sprawling campus of Eastern Samar State University in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
The usual stuff, in Pacquiao's book, included a cash assistance of P1,000 to each of the 436 evacuees from Barangay 6.
To Pacquiao, however, giving away the Bibles was more important, urging each recipient to read the Holy Book. He went on to tell them in Filipino: "Please persevere. I also persevered. I did not stop asking help from God. I did not give up."
He reminded them that at one point of his struggling life, he was homeless just like them.
"I slept [with a piece of] carton [as mat]. I did not lose hope and just continued in believing in myself and keep trusting God," Pacquiao told the evacuees, as retold by Erlinda Sabarillo, 48, an evacuee.
Sabarillo said Pacquiao personally handed P1,000 to each of them. The cash-giving started from 11 p.m. on Saturday and ended around 3 a.m. Sunday, she said.
Linda Alharano, 48, said she could not contain her happiness seeing Pacquiao in the flesh, but she was more happy when she received the cash and a food package containing rice, noodles and tinned meat from him.
"He made us all happy. Indeed, he is generous and cares for the poor like me," Alharano said.
Since Nov. 22, the evacuees, all residents of Barangay 6 of the town, where Supertyphoon "Yolanda" (international name: Haiyan) made first landfall, have been staying at their tents donated by the International Organisation for Migration.
The eight-division world champion spent the night on Saturday in the tent city.