John Abou-Samra | Photo CTTO
A proof that hospitality goes a long way.

The Philippines has always been known to be the land of naturally hospitable people — something that is one of a kind.

As this seems too common for us, Filipinos, we do not realize how it greatly impacts people from around the world, especially the westerners, that they find such deed life-changing.

One perfect example is the firsthand experience of this tourist that go by the name of John Abou-Samra, a Canada bus driver who planned to have his 'vacation of the year' in the country.

The tourist initially spent his few days in El Nido, Palawan last June before heading to the other side of the island to explore. Everything was fine until it rained on his parade. Hence, what was supposed to be a day for nature tripping took an ugly turn and brought Samra to the hospital instead.
John Abou-Samra | Photo CTTO

He was supposed to have fun as he bask under the welcoming sun. With the tropical weather that's inviting, Samra decided to go skinny-dip. But prior to that, he got someone to take him a picture first before getting himself soaked in the blue waters of Kayangan Lake, a gem hiding in the mystic side of Coron, Palawan.

However, Murphy's rule always has its way of ruining happy moments.

As soon as the photo was taken, the floorboard he was stepping on split causing him to fall in between the woods with his right leg plunged.

“I asked someone to take a picture of me, and then after she took picture, I moved to this side to sit down. While I moved, two of this wood, they split, and my right leg sank between them up to my hip. Until now I still have the pain,” said Samra.
John Abou-Samra | Photo CTTO

Due to the what happened, Samra went black and blue for weeks. Nonetheless, he is thankful there was no bleeding. When the accident took place, the bystanders rushed towards him for the assistance he needed at that time.

According to Samra, they pulled him up, used ice and cold water to soothe his bruises, then helped him walk up over a steep ridge where he could catch a boat that would bring him back to his hotel. Little did he know, the wounds would later cause him disturbing pain. The following day, the staff on the hotel where he was staying arranged to get him to Coron District Hospital to get checked out.

Dr. Edgar Flores, the attending physician, sent Samra for X-rays to make sure no bones had been broken and advised him on his injury treatment through the use of hot and cold water, combined with rest.
Photo CTTO

While waiting, the tourist had the chance of observing the small hospital's poor condition. There, he found out that the equipment necessary for medical assistance were either non-existent or age-old already. But that did not hinder the hospital's staff to treat him with so much respect and genuine care. Reason why he was totally impressed with the way he was treated.

“Two nurses took care of me in a way I could not imagine, plus in the half an hour I stayed in the hospital, I heard the word ‘sir’ more than 25 times. Even when I was wearing something very casual; I looked like a homeless person, they never stopped calling me sir,” he said.

The brief experience left a great impact on the Canada-based tourist, making him think on how he could repay their kindness. He was amazed with how the Filipinos work. So much so that he returned the next day to ask how he could help. Speaking with the physician who attended him, Dr. Flores gave him a small donation box. But Samra had a better idea.

Photo CTTO

He was about to retire that time and the money he would get is allotted for his supposed tour around the world. But since his planned cruise upon retirement could be put on hold, to return the favor, he offered to procure the medical equipment for the hospital that helped him in Coron. The good Samaritan communicated with the doctor and asked him to compile a wish list that could help him be a better doctor by empowering the hospital to provide better services to its community.

Despite not having much to give, Samra believes in contributing to his community as he has been longtime supporting the food bank in the Tri-Cities.

After a few months and only few weeks after his retirement from Coast Mountain Bus Company, Samra has was set to fulfill his promise. The grateful Canaadian ordered at a local medical supplies company for the medical equipment like ECG machine, oxygen gauge, stethoscopes, a centrifuge and even a defibrillator. All these with the help of his friend from the Filipino community, Freddie Baguno, to coordinate with the Philippines’ consulate in Vancouver to transport the equipment to Coron.

The bill will amount to more than $16,000. But the figure no longer matter for Samra as the items to where his funds will go would surely be beneficial for so many lives.

Impressed still, the tourist said “If you give them the means, they can work miracles,” adding “I like to make a difference”.

Samra was set to come back to Coron late September last year to personally witness the first batch of his donation's arrival.

Indeed, this man's sincerity to pay it forward is both commendable and heartwarming. May this act of kindness influence others to do the same.
Screengrab from ABS-CBN News report 

Watch the video below:

Sources: Tri-City News ABS-CBN Pinoy Thinking

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WATCH: Tourist cancels trip around the world to donate P1.2M to PH WATCH: Tourist cancels trip around the world to donate P1.2M to PH Reviewed by The News Feeder on 15 January Rating: 5

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