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The pop megastar who is used to performing on a high-tech stage with pyrotechnics apparently enjoys showcasing his talent on a makeshift stage at a dilapidated evacuation center in Tacloban City.


TACLOBAN CITY — Pop superstar Justin Bieber brought “a lot of joy, hope and cheer” to the hapless victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan, especially the young, during an unannounced visit to this ravaged city last Tuesday to give boost to his “Give Back Philippines” campaign.

Coming from Australia for the last leg of his 14-month “Believe” world tour, the “Baby” singer’s private jet landed at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at 7:10 a.m. before he and his large entourage flew to the Visayas on another private plane rented from Willie Revillame.

The 19-year-old Canadian heartthrob visited a Tacloban elementary school that is being used as an evacuation center despite being heavily damaged by Haiyan, which left nearly 6,000 people dead and more than 1,700 others missing, and flattened entire towns and villages.

He took a quick walk around the school and checked a temporary learning space that was packed with about 300 children, before moving to an outdoor stage to sing, said Kate Donovan, a spokeswoman for UNICEF.

“He played a very beautiful set,” she said.

“He played a series of Christmas songs like ‘O Holy Night’ and some of his hits as well, including ‘Baby,’” Donovan said.

At another school also used as temporary shelter, Justin played basketball with some boys and gamely posed for pictures with his fans.

“Justin brought a lot of joy, hope and cheer to the hundreds of children who were there,” Angela Kearney, UNICEF’s emergency coordinator for Haiyan response.

He hugged and comforted shy children, exchanged high fives with thrilled residents, and distributed shirts, toys and basketballs to the kids.

Kearney said the money Justin’s campaign raises “will give some of the children who were caught in the path of Haiyan access to education, vaccinations, better nutrition, clean water and sanitation.”

When Haiyan hit parts of the Visayas in early November, Justin was among the Hollywood celebrities who volunteered to raise funds for the survivors.

He partnered with Prizeo and other private companies like Smart Communications to raise money.

By donating any amount to Prizeo, one will have a chance to hang out with the singer and watch him record new songs in 2014.

In an open letter posted on thr Prizeo website, Justin wrote: “I’ll fly you and a friend to join me in L.A. from wherever you are in the world. It’s gonna be awesome.”

The campaign has already raised over $600,000 as of this week.

“Most touching trip of my life,” the singer said on Twitter, also describing his Tacloban mini-concert as the last stop and “the most important one” of his global “Believe” tour.

“I saw the devastation firsthand today. They need our help,” he added.


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Justin Bieber plays basketball with young survivors of Typhoon Haiyan. in Palo, Leyte on Dec. 10.  (AP photo)

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