Justin Bieber’s visit to the Philippines to help Typhoon Haiyan victims raised awareness and funds for the relief effort, and according to UNICEF the teen star “brought a lot of joy, hope, and cheer” to hundreds of children.
The 19-year-old singer arrived in Manila from Australia on Tuesday, December 10, for an unannounced visit.
Shortly after, Bieber and his crew jetted into the city of Tacloban, the badly-hit capital of the Leyte province.
The singer didn’t come empty-handed. He and his team brought water, shirts, books, basketballs, snacks and toys, to be distributed to communities in need.
The “Beauty and A Beat” star visited San Jose Elementary school, currently a temporary home to around 300 families. Justin also visited a Unicef relief shelter, hosted in a City Central School that reopened on December 8.
While there, he performed an acoustic concert singing Christmas carols and some of his own hits such as “Baby,” “Mistletoe,” and newer song “All That Matters,” from his upcoming Journals album.
Justin also played basketball with local youth and Vincent “Chot” Reyes, who is the head coach of the Philippines national basketball team.
Taking to Twitter at some point before his unplugged concert, Bieber wrote:
“About to perform the last #believetour show. The real last one and the most important one of the tour. #GiveBackPhilippines.”
Angela Kearney, a United Nations Children’s Fund emergency coordinator, said of Bieber’s visit,
“UNICEF is very pleased that Justin Bieber wanted to visit Tacloban, and stopped by City Central Elementary School which has suffered a great deal of structural damage.”
The coordinator added:
“Justin brought a lot of joy, hope and cheer to the hundreds of children who were there.”
pic.twitter.com/eiKshV00BW true happiness
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) December 10, 2013
Kearney said money raised by Bieber’s efforts will provide some of the children who survived Haiyan “access to education, vaccinations, better nutrition, clean water and sanitation.”
Hours after his show, Justin returned to Twitter describing his visit as, “the most touching trip of my life.”
Urging his fans to “get involved” in the relief effort, he posted numerous Instavids and photos from his time in Tacloban.
Bieber recently launched his own #GiveBackPhilippines campaign, hosted by fundraising platform Prizeo. Within three days, nearly $670,000 (and counting) of its $1 million target has been raised.
The quick response is likely a result of the campaign’s multiple prize draw and grand prize offer, in which the winner wins a trip to a studio to watch the singer record some of his forthcoming album.
Monies raised goes to UNICEF, Action Against Hunger, and the Philam Foundation.
Speaking to Britain’s Mirror newpaper, Justin said,
“I came to the Philippines to help my fans understand the importance of involvement on all levels. It’s easy to pledge my commitment to this cause, but it’s staying involved that matters most to me and that is exactly what I plan to do.”
“I want to bring as much awareness to the devastated areas as I can. Seeing the suffering first hand and interacting with the community was an experience I will never forget.”
On November 8 Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines. The disaster killed nearly 6000 people, with more than 1,700 missing and millions more displaced.
An indication of how much Bieber’s visit meant in the Philippines is evident in one survivor’s quote to Manila’s TV5 Television describing the Canadian star’s acoustic concert.
“It was like we were not hit by the typhoon, like Yolanda never came,” one girl said.
See below and here for details on Bieber’s #GiveBackPhilippines campaign.