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MANILA, Philippines – John Abou-Samra, a Lebanese-born Canadian, has been saving up for a grand cruise around the world in time for his retirement in late 2017. But his plans changed after his visit in June to Coron, Palawan.
Palawan has been recognized by global award-giving bodies for its wreck diving spots, pristine waters, and rich marine ecosystem.
Samra wanted to find these out for himself.
Samra, who just came from a trip to El Nido, Palawan, was having the time of his life in Kayangan Lake, Coron, when his trip took an ugly turn.
Accident in Palawan
“I was walking. Everybody was walking. Suddenly, I tried to turn left to sit down, then two of these pieces of wood, they split out and my right leg sank between them until my hip,” Samra recalled in a Skype interview with Rappler.
Due to the accident, Samra cut-short his visit that day. He visited the Coron District Hospital the following day after the pain on his legs did not go away.
“I went to the hospital, I meet Dr Edgar Flores, he examined me, and then two nurses came to me and they tried to make my legs relax, they cleaned it and everything,” he said.
During the check-up, he noted how, despite being small and “poor,” the hospital is clean and well-kept. He said that despite the lack of equipment, the service the hospital employees showed him was world-class.
“I was really impressed with the service and the care from all them – from the doctor to the nurses, the person who pushed the wheelchair to X-ray technician. All of them they were extremely nice to me,” Samra said.
On top of the excellent service, Samra said the doctors did not charge him anything.
This is after the doctors confirmed that the X-ray results showed no fractures.
“[Dr Flores] tapped my shoulder, and he said to me, ‘You are fine, sir. Just take care of yourself,'” he said.
Change of plans
The excellent service he received from the Coron District hospital prompted him to change his plans about taking a cruise around the world.
Instead of doing so, he decided to donate his P1.2 million ($23,300) worth of savings to buy equipment for the hospital.
The following day, he returned to the hospital to deliver the good news to Dr Flores.
“He looked at me and I could see tears in his eyes. He told me, ‘Are you sure, Sir?’ I said, ‘Yes, I have never been sure and confident in my life more than this moment,'” he said.
On Monday, September 18, Samra will be turning over an ECG, automatic voltage regulator, centrifuge, defibrillator, and stethoscope to the hospital.
“I trust Dr Flores that he will take care of the equipment and hopefully many thousands, even tens of thousands of people, can benefit from the equipment,” he said. – Rappler.com
$1 = P51.33