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“Hugs of thanks” from the Philippines to Switzerland

After several fund-raising events for the victims of typhoon Haiyan, Filipinos in Switzerland once again came out in full force on 23 November, this time to give thank you hugs to the Swiss.

Despite the chilly weather and the light pouring of rains, they organized “free hug” events to thank the Swiss people and other nationals and show the appreciation of the Filipino people for the assistance given to the typhoon victims.

Filipinos in big Swiss cities such as Berne and Geneva gathered in central locations with their banners saying “FREE HUGS from the Philippines”, “Danke, Schweiz”, and “Grazzie Svizzera” to participate in the hug marathon.

In the Swiss capital Berne, Filipinos young and old alike, oblivious to the pouring rain and freezing temperature, joined the hugging marathon and approached passersby, giving them big hugs and thanks for their donations, and for volunteering in the telethon fund-raising organized by Swiss Solidarity in partnership with Swiss public radio and TV, SRG SSR.

Eva Laurel-Bernhard, a Filipino married to a Swiss national who has been living in Switzerland for twenty-four years now and who rallied Filipinos to organize a hugging marathon in their areas, said, “This is our way of thanking Switzerland and the Swiss people for their generosity. They have given us so much. Through the Swiss Solidarity, more than CHF17 million or the equivalent of close to a billion pesos, was collected to help the typhoon victims in the Philippines.”

Some of those approached were even moved to tears, obviosly touched by the Filipinos’ gesture of showing their appreciation. END

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