Pardon the long hiatus. So much has happened over the past weeks and I got busy volunteering to help the victims of super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).
November 11, 2013. Over lunch, my friends and I discussed how Yolanda wreaked havoc in Visayas and claimed many lives. Moved, we decided to help in our own little way by pooling some money and giving out some relief packs to our kababayans.
We did not want to just buy the goods then deliver them to government agencies, NGOs or private companies for packing/distribution. We wanted to give them out ourselves to ensure that the truly needy gets it. But since we received reports of some desperate people ransacking relief aid vehicles, we decided to join C.A.’s church group who had with them NGO volunteers and military/police escorts.
November 12-13, 2013. On these days, some of our friends who are not here in Cebu learned of our cause and decided to help us by sending money so we can reach out to more families. I was touched and at the same time, proud of them. It gave me hope too because I realized that in today’s world of I-me-myself-and-mine, people still care.
November 14, 2013. My friends and I shopped for the contents of our relief packs. We decided to include rice, canned goods, noodles, 2 liter bottled water, milk, medicines, biscuits, soap, and matches per pack. We also agreed to bring bread (picked up on the day itself to ensure freshness) so that they have something ready to eat.
We spent an evening packing them. Initially, we only had 75 packs, but this increased to 125 when more people pledged their help in the following days.
November 17, 2013. C.A. picked me up at 4:00 AM so we can proceed to our meeting place. I was pleasantly surprised to see volunteers (easily recognizable by their Tabang Sugbo shirts) crowd McDonald’s Mandaue. We were all looking bleary-eyed but inspired.
A little past 5:30 AM, we headed to Northern Cebu. When we reached Sogod, we saw for ourselves children lined up on the road with signs asking for help though Yolanda’s damage was yet to be seen. We did not stop for them though since one modus operandi that we were told of involved children on the road asking for help but when the car stopped, the adults would appear to hijack the relief goods.
Yolanda’s wrath and its effects started becoming prominent when we reached Bogo. We passed by houses that were either totally demolished or broken. Most were roofless. Trees were uprooted and a couple of electrical posts were down.
We reached Daanbantayan at a little past 10:00 AM. C.A.’s church was right in front of Daanbantayan National High School. The building where their church was was also roofless. So was the school and other buildings in the area.
We distributed the bread while waiting for church service.
Afterwards, we had lunch. We then distributed the relief packs.
And then decided to go to a barrio where the locals said the damage was severe and people were not yet given aid.
While there, we saw for ourselves how the super typhoon flattened houses made of light materials and rendered some people homeless. It was heartbreaking.
When the last relief pack was given, we decided to head home, but we promised to ourselves that we will be back. Soon.
PS: I wrote this post for documentation purposes. Thank you to those who helped our cause. You know who you are. God bless your good hearts.