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Author Mitch Albom offers help to typhoon-hit Tacloban

Mitch Albom (Photo from Twitter)

Mitch Albom (Photo from Twitter)

American best-selling author Mitch Albom (“Tuesdays With Morrie”) is in the country for a special mission: more than his goal of promoting his latest opus, “The First Phone Call From Heaven,” he is also here to extend help to the survivors of “Yolanda.”

“I’m here to try to see if I can also call some attention to the Tacloban area and the victims of the typhoon,” Albom shared in his one-on-one interview with Jessica Soho on “State of the Nation.”

“To be honest, I’ve been asked to come to the Philippines every year for the last 10 years and I always say ‘no’ because it’s very far away. I get to ask to go to different places but when I saw what happened with the typhoon I was very moved,” he added.

Albom is set to visit Tacloban on Monday, after doing his rounds of book-signing for “The First Phone Call From Heaven” over the weekend.

“I’m donating 40 boats up there, but more importantly than that, we’re gonna try to reopen some libraries and put books from myself and some of my author friends from America like Stephen King, Amy Tan and John Grisham,” he shared.

The sports journalist-turned-novelist has been doing a lot of charity work in the past years. Among his efforts is setting up an orphanage in Haiti in 2010, which he visits every month.

“I’ve seen what devastation looks like and I realized how sometimes victims can be forgotten. After a certain amount of time everybody moves on to another story… My hope is that maybe we can draw some attention to the situation (in Tacloban),” Albom said.

For Albom, the visit could not have been as meaningful if not for this purpose. “It wouldn’t be a reason enough for me to just come here if all I was going to do is to promote my book. That’s a little self-serving. But if I can do that, and maybe help in the situation up there (in Tacloban) a little bit, then it makes the trip worthwhile.”

Albom rose to fame in 1997 with his first hit novel “Tuesdays With Morrie.” This was followed by “The Five People You Meet In Heaven,” a book Filipinos have come to love because its story is set in the Philippines and one of its key character is named Tala (Filipino word
for star).

His other novels are “For One More Day,” “Have A Little Faith,” and “Time Keeper.”