This is a continuation of my first blog…
3:30 A.M – I woke up from my 3 hours sleep. Ron and his father went to our place to load the sacks of relief goods to the canter that will take us to the island. After picking up a few volunteers, we left Cebu City and head on to Bantayan at around 6:00 AM. Since we have to stop to Liloan to buy food and to have the tires vulcanized, we arrived in Hagnaya at 11:30 AM.
The heavy traffic was unusual going to the port of Hagnaya (except for Lenten Season maybe). The long lines of vehicles wanting to get into the barge never bothered me at all. It overwhelmed me instead seeing a lot of help coming from different people and organizations.
Since we cannot afford the Php 2,600 two-way ferry ticket for the canter, we were advised by one resident there to just park our vehicles in paid parking lots (150Php for on overnight parking) and just carry the relief packs to the barge.
So we did as advised… when suddenly the canter van tire was split into two. We were in great despair because we were thinking vulcanizing shops were closed due to power interruptions. Good thing there were people in Hagnaya who were so kind to help us fix the tires.
So we went on….
Under the scorching heat of the sun, our Karga boys (Ron, Eralp, Mark, Gian, Harvey, Alexis, Jojo, & JR) untiringly carried the sacks of relief goods and boxes of bottled water. Since there are only 8 Karga boys, they have to go back to load the other half of the goods to the barge. And take note it was 12 noon where the heat of the sun was nearly intolerable and they have to travel around 150-meter walk (I’m no good in estimating distance) going to the barge.
I remember everyone was in rush because the barge is about to leave. By God’s grace, we were able to leave Hagnaya almost 1 PM… It was not until when all of us settled on our seats, that we remembered to eat lunch. It’s past 1 PM and we haven’t eaten yet. And the funny part is, the hanging rice (pos0) were with the other volunteers who took the separate barge and what’s left of us is the lechon baboy. So, we are left with no other choice but to eat lechon without rice. It was yet a very funny and worth-remembering experience.
At around 3:00 PM, we arrived safely in Bantayan Island. We thought the vehicle that will take us to the different Barangays of Bantayan was on standby. But when we get there, we have to wait for 30 minutes for the truck to arrive. Some of the volunteers found comfort in the waiting area as they finish a full meal (with poso this time) 😛
All of us where surprised with the vehicle…. We never thought the truck that we will be riding is a garbage truck. Instead of complaining, we jumped into the dump truck and enjoyed the free ride as we do our own matrix moves every time there are twigs blocking our way.
The first Barangay we visit was Biaktos which is a barangay located in Sta.Fe, Bantayan. We were able to gave 60 relief packs in that community.
We then head on to the Municipality of Bantayan. We distributed 70 relief packs to the evacuees who were staying in a certain public school in Bantayan.
We were supposed to finish the distribution of goods in Kabak and in Madredejos on the same day but since authorities say that it’s not safe to travel at night, we then decided to push through with our mission in the following day.
All of us did not expect a reward on the same day but people with great hearts allowed us to occupy a beach house in Sta.Fe. Despite of our unlikely odor and body pains, the team were pampered with a night of lush relaxation at the Bobel Hayahay Beach Resort.
We left the beach resort around 10 Am. We head on directly to Kabak – one of the barangays in the Municipality of Bantayan and distributed 80 relief packs.
I talked to one residents in Kabak and she said that during the typhoon, the air was really strong that it turned down a fishing boat. She said that part of their houses (which are mostly made of light materials) were flying elsewhere as strong wind crushes the whole island.
With that, one mother asked me if we have tent (trapal) which they can use for temporary shelter. Without second thoughts, we gave to her a tarpaulin that we used to cover the relief goods. As she received it, there is a genuine joy on her face.
Our last destination was the farthest and the most challenging- the Poblacion of Madredejos. The number of people who were desperate in getting goods exceed the number of the relief packs that were left of us. Since we only have around 70 relief goods, people start to feel desperate too to get their goods. Some were yelling at each other and commotion starts to set in. Hence, we were forced to leave the place immediately.
The desperation that were reflected on the faces of the victims who haven’t received relief left us with disappointments too. There is still a strong desire for all of us to give a pack of goods to the people begging and yelling for help in the street, but we can’t because we were left with nothing.
Yolanda might be strong but the Filipino spirit is stronger. We all left Bantayan tired and drained but we brought with us a heart filled with bliss and fulfillment.