Growing up in Doña Pilar, Davao City, Basilan-Jumbo Plastic’s Allyn Bulanadi lived a normal life under the caring arms of his father Alberto and late mother Erlinda.
But things changed, however, when a then 17-year-old Allyn packed his bags and moved to Manila to pursue his basketball dream.
Upon his arrival in San Sebastian College-Recoletos in 2014, he saw how different the life here in the Metro compared to the province. Living in Quiapo, it was a normal sight for the young Bulanadi to witness children in the streets begging for alms which then opened his eyes to the realities of life.
Bulanadi wanted to help back then, but as a teenager left to fend for himself in the alleys of the nation’s capital, he only had enough resources for his own or sometimes, less.
And so, the Manok ng Bayan vowed that one day, once he finally earns enough for himself, he will give back to the people that became his inspiration to become who he is today.
“Dati ko pa lang gusto tumulong, lalo na sa mga bata sa Quiapo nung nasa Baste pa lang ako. Pero kaunti lang din kasi ang meron ako that time, you cannot give what you do not have ika nga. Ngayon, may trabaho na ako, masaya ang puso ko na nakakatulong na ako sa wakas sa ibang tao,” said Bulanadi.
Two days before he celebrated his 23rd birthday, the ace of Basilan during the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season drove around Alabang-Zapote – the place where he is staying throughout the course of the enhanced community quarantine – and handed out packed meals that included beef tapa, pork tonkatsu, rice, and softdrinks to the frontliners and the less fortunate.
“Maraming tao ang nagugutom at walang tirahan. I’ve always wanted to reach out to these people and lend a helping hand, but way back my resources were only limited or enough to feed myself dahil ako, nakikipagsapalaran din. I can only watch them from afar and silently telling myself na if God will bless me more someday, I will definitely share it,” he said.
It was also a tribute to his late mother, who taught him how to become resilient in times of crisis and extend his hand to those in need.
“My mom taught me to be resilient and never ever give up until I reach my dream. She was my inspiration kung bakit ako nag pursige kasi I’m doing this for her. Just like sa krisis na ito. Now is not the time to lose hope,” he continued.
With the fight against the pandemic at its peak, Bulanadi urged Filipinos to work with each other and practice proper sanitation.
“We should be each other’s anchor at this time of the pandemic. Disiplina at sakripisyo pa, most importantly tiwala sa Diyos. We need to cling to that hope no matter how small it maybe.”