If there are two things that the world has to know about our beloved country then it’s that: one, that the Philippines is an awesome country and two, we Filipinos stand up for each other like one big family. The recent 7.2 earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu last October 15, 2013 is one of the strongest shake recorded in our country damaging both province’s beautiful historic churches, houses and infrastructures costing more than a billion pesos. But the disaster has again made our bond as Filipinos even stronger.
Boarded a fast craft at 2Go Terminal in Pier 4 Cebu to join a youth group in Tagbilaran in distributing relief goods to 3 (three) remote areas in Bohol and a destroyed church in support to the #BangonBohol Project. 8AM as Jen Vega of The Freeman and I arrived at Tagbilaran Port and noticed very visible trails of the strong quake.
The city of Tagbilaran was lucky to incur minimal damage from the quake. Now, most Boholanos from the city are back to their daily lives. Major groceries, hotels and resorts and food establishments are also back in business. Like Cebu, Tagbilaran is one of cities in the country sending help to the neighboring towns that is badly affected by the quake, even if Tagbilaran was also a victim of the calamity.
After picking up the volunteers’ lunch and cases of water for the relief packs, we were set to go to our first stop, Hunan Buenavista Bohol. The ride to our first destination was both shocking and heartbreaking. We saw so many houses that had toppled and tumbled down, government structures badly damaged, some of Bohol’s famous chocolate hills turned white as some of them eroded during the tremors and landslides sent boulders of rocks and trees at the hill’s foot and roads.
Fear of staying inside their homes because of the aftershocks, many families are staying on improvised tents. The tent town of Hunan Buenavista was our first stop.
This kid they call Doy showed me the improvised tent where he, his family and brother’s family sleeps. A total of 8 people sleeps inside the tent. Some tents even houses 3 (three) families or 12 people.
It’s good to see that people get to smile after that scary ordeal. One mother even narrated her experience laughing . She mentioned that it was like a clip from a movie, as everything was shaking and in a swirling blur. And she was thankful to God that nobody from her family was hurt after what happened.
The kids laughing as they’re playing under the sun somehow is an assuring sign of hope. That even this will pass and everyone will be able to stand again.
After distributing relief packs to more than 400 families in Buenavista Bohol we then headed to our next stop, Napo and Kawayan Inabanga.
Since it’s already late in the afternoon and we still have 3 stops on our itinerary, we had a quick distribution 0f relief goods in Napo and Kawayan Inabanga Bohol to 100 families. We then headed to the damaged Clarin Church to drop some boxes of canned goods and bar soaps. Then off to our last stop, Pangangan Calape. And since the bridge to Pangangan Calape was badly damaged and the bus carrying our relief goods can’t pass, we instead turned the relief goods over to a person from the municipal office. A fulfilling day for us 12 volunteers, reaching out to more than 750 families affected by the earthquake.
The next day, we headed to the towns of Maribojoc and Loon Bohol to do an ocular on schools for a possible iLearners #BrighterFutureProject in Bohol. Landslide, cracked roads and a destroyed Abatan bridge were among the sad sights along the way. An even more heartbreaking scene was seeing the wrecked Maribojoc and Loon Churches. Both Maribojoc Central and Loon South Central Schools were also badly damaged by the quake. An old watch tower in Loon wasn’t spared as well. The quake possibly moved the shoreline of Loon. As per a fisher folk we talked to, the water has receded and it stayed that way since the quake.
Relief goods are still badly needed in so many areas of Bohol affected by the quake. You can bring your donations at the following Cebu drop off centers:
1. ABS CBN Complex Jagobiao Mandaue City Cebu
2. GMA Kapuso Foundation, GMA Complex, Nivel Hills, Lahug, Contact Anne Marie Tan at 2320353 or 2314829 for more information.
Rice, water, canned goods, blankets and clothes are badly needed. And refrain from giving noodles and other food that needs water to cook (aside from rice), for most badly affected areas are suffering from water shortage.
This recent calamity that hit Visayas left so many families homeless in the beautiful island of Bohol. You can help the province of Bohol rebuild what has been lost by visiting the awesome island. Why not book a weekend holiday with you and your family at great resorts of Panglao. Enjoy a great fun holiday and be a #HumanitarianTourist at the same time! \m/