Crisis brings out the best in Cebuanos

NO ‘ODETTE’ EXHAUST The cargo ships and smaller boats that have sought refuge in Cansaga Bay in Consolacion City, Cebu Province, look like messy toy ships after being swept away by strong waves generated by Typhoon “Odette” (international name: Rai) last week. —POTO CONTRIBUTED

CEBU CITY — A young artist immediately left for Metro Manila when he noticed that most Cebuanos were searching for water following the devastation caused by Typhoon “Odette” (international name: Rai) on the island, which killed at least 96 people.

But Andre Sanchez Chan, 24, wasn’t trying to shy away from the inconvenience of having to live without water, electricity and phones or enduring long queues at grocery stores and gas stations where food supplies can be found. and fuel were low.

Chan traveled to Metro Manila to raise funds to purchase bottled water which he would then send to Cebu to help alleviate the supply shortage. In one day, he was able to collect 200,000 P, which he used to buy more than 15,000 liters of bottled water.

Chan is just one of the countless Cebuanos who have decided to lend a hand, however small, amid the devastation caused by the most powerful typhoon to hit Cebu in recent years.

Ordinary people have stepped up to help typhoon survivors scrambling to find water, food and other essentials as well as building materials to repair their homes.

After Cebu was plunged into darkness when the power supply was cut off, the water pumps also stopped working because they needed electricity to run. Water delivery trucks were also unable to enter many areas as the roads were blocked by overturned trees, utility poles and debris.


Those from neighboring towns converged on Cebu City, hoping to buy clean drinking water only to find none.

Communication signals remained a problem as strong Odette winds damaged or destroyed cell site towers, hampering the functioning of local government command centers that had difficulty receiving reports from the ground.

As of December 23, 96 deaths had been reported on the island, but the numbers are expected to rise as reports, especially from south Cebu, which was hit hardest by the typhoon, poured in due to communication problems.

Chan, who runs an art studio, saw how desperately his neighbors on Escario Street in Cebu City needed water.

“People, whether rich or poor, are looking for water to drink,” he told the Inquirer.

He arrived in Metro Manila on December 19 after spending 12 hours at the airport due to delayed flights. Chan, while staying with friends in the nation’s capital, used his social media account to raise funds (through his GCash account 0917-3206680) for his fellow Cebuanos.

Crates of bottled water purchased with the money he collected would be sent to Cebu through the Philippine Air Force, with the help of another friend.

“My vision is that there will be water in Cebu… It’s my driving force,” Chan said, noting that he wanted to pay it forward now that he has the capacity to help others.

THIRST CLEANING At least 27,000 liters of potable water are ready to be shipped from Villamor Air Base in Pasay City in Cebu Province, where typhoon survivors urgently need clean water. Cebu-based artist Andre Sanchez Chan has helped raise funds to secure this essential supply for his fellow citizens in the province. —POTO CONTRIBUTED

Friends initiative

A group of friends also decided to use Facebook to raise funds to buy water for cities in southern Cebu.

Michelle Padayhag, Ricardo dela Cruz Jr. and his wife Phylline, and JP Ocat have asked their friends to donate only P5 (through GCash account 0917-9644799) so they can pool money for buy food and water for the survivors.

In two days, the group raised 40,000 P. Ricardo, who was in Quezon City, used most of the money to buy 2,000 bottles of water. Those in Cebu bought canned goods (sardines and corned beef), rice and toiletries (shampoo, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste).

They were able to prepare at least 100 packages of relief items that would be distributed to Padayhag’s hometown of Badian once the bottled water shipment arrives from Metro Manila.

A friend, who owns a truck, offered to bring relief to the town and to the Badian District Hospital.

Once they raise more funds, Padayhag plans to deliver relief supplies to other towns in the south, such as Alegria and Malabuyoc, which were hit hard by the typhoon.

VOLUNTEERING Volunteers Michelle Padayhag (left) and Phylline dela Cruz prepare relief packages for families displaced by Typhoon “Odette” in south Cebu. —POTO CONTRIBUTED

Desire to help

Photos of the devastation in Badian sent by his neighbors prompted Padayhag to do something, fearing that his city would be left behind and forgotten amid the trail of destruction left by Odette in Cebu.

“I cannot, in [good] conscience, do nothing to help, ”she added.

Victor Fernandez bought a small generator set so that their neighbors in Sitio Tabaylawom, an inner sub-village of Barangay Tisa in Cebu City, could charge their cell phones for free.

Her brother, Carlo, who is a city councilor for Tisa barangay, buys fuel for the generator, making sure it will run continuously, according to their brother, Noel.

When asked why his brothers were doing this, Noel replied, “Just to help. We need all the help we can get these days and it is only important for us to help each other at a time when communication is vital.

The desire to help pushes many people to open their homes to those in need.

On December 19, Mayflor Durano posted on Facebook that his home in the town of Consolacion, which has a working manual water pump, would be open to people in need.

“To my friends from Consolacion and / or the surrounding area who need (non-potable) water. Our door / gate is open to you. We have [a] ‘poso’ manual water pump for ligo, laba (bathing and washing) or for toilets, ”she posted.

The Weigel complex in the city of Lapu-Lapu opened its doors to anyone who wanted to charge their cell phones because it had generators.

Cebu University Law School has opened up the Dean’s Office for students who need to charge their phones or have a place to sleep.

The pupils can bathe there and each receive four bottles of drinking water upon their return home.

An owner, who operates a water filtration facility in Barangay Catarman, in the town of Liloan, provided two 5-gallon containers free of charge to each of his neighbors.

Mothers to the rescue

A group of mothers, whose members call themselves “Manila Imports” after moving to Cebu for reasons of love, business or friendship, has raised at least 1.6 million pesos for the victims of the typhoon on December 22.

The proceeds were in addition to goods, water and other essentials that would be delivered to the “Courage Cebu” group and their partner, the Philippine Red Cross.

Charina Altarejos Tan said their group, consisting of Divine Lee-Go, Bong Aromin-Go, Gretchen Choa, Christine Benedicto, KD Syiaco Tiy, Dianne Gandiongco-Huang, Kira Wong and herself, have started fundraising in March 2020 for primary care physicians. and others affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

They also raised money to distribute relief supplies when Typhoon “Ulysses” (Vamco) hit Luzon in November last year. Now, they are back to help the other Cebuanos affected by Odette.

“We have our own experience with Odette. The homes of two of our members were damaged. Most of us have businesses that were deeply affected by this typhoon. But we chose to go above and beyond to help, ”said Tan.

Help, Tan said, doesn’t have to be in the form of money. It could be in-kind or as part of outreach so others can help as well, she added.

She said they also wanted to teach their children that no help is too small.

For Cebuanos, even the smallest act of kindness is more than enough to make a difference in someone else’s life, especially in times of crisis.

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About Ferdinand Caldwell

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