It feels great to make a difference in the lives of other people. Recently, one of the worst disasters struck the Philippines. Thousands of people are left with nothing–literally nothing. Houses were pummeled by the fierce winds. Water washed away their livelihood and everything was gone in a matter of hours. News on TV was filled with death & despair. The question now is, what’s next & what can I do?
P.S. Thanks to our friend Apple Santos for helping us complete this comic.
A week ago, I was given a chance to go to Iloilo. I know you are wondering why Iloilo? Why not Tacloban or Ormoc? While everyone is talking about the damage in these places in these places, it seems that people have forgotten that there are a lot of other places that were damaged as well.
The day started at The Hub, 2Go Travel’s Lounge. We met with a couple of other blogger friends who were going to join us in this trip. At the Hub, we met the COO of 2GO Travel, Stephen Tagud. Even before the tip started, we discussed a return trip to Iloilo with more goods in tow. They generously & gladly approved of this plan of ours. After this short meeting, we then went to the terminal to board the vessel.
Sunset on Board the 2GO Travel Ship en route to Iloilo
One of the major advantages of riding a ship is that we can carry a lot of things on board–75 kilograms for the regular passenger. This is a very cost effective way of moving relief goods to areas struck by the typhoon. The trip takes 20 hours from the port of Manila to Iloilo. I know some of you would already complain that it is a waste of time to ride a ship if you can take a plane and get to the destination in an hour instead.
However, 20 hours is nothing if you think about the number of people that you can help with the boxes of goods with you.
View from the top deck of the 2Go Travel Ship
Ilollo is one of the provinces on the Panay island–west of the Visayas region. It is also a place that is rich in culture & history. There are centuries old churches that you could visit, food that the rest of our country has learned to love: the likes of chicken inasal, la paz batchoy, barquillos, barquiron, puto manapla, fresh seafood and more! There are also a lot of things that you can do in Iloilo and tourism is one of the sources of income for the city. So, by visiting, you are also helping the local economy and in the process, you are also helping them to rebuild their lives.
Stained Glass Inside the Molo Church
After a quick trip around the city, we then went to the disaster relief center in Jaro, Iloilo. We were able to talk to Mr. Gilbert Marin, the one running the operations from the Provincial Capitol in Jaro, Iloilo. According to them, they still need all the help they can get. There are places in the island were badly damaged and they are helping these people out. While the water supply is pretty stable, food & building materials are still needed.
Ruins of the Mariano Ledesma Lacson Mansion in Talisay
After this brief visit, it was time to go since we have to catch the ship in Bacolod, the capital city of Negros Occidental–an island adjacent to Panay where Iloilo is located. To get there, we rode 2Go Travel’s Supercat from Iloilo to Bacolod. Upon arriving at the dock, we were welcomed by the Masskara dancers. Typically, the Masskara festival is held each year on the island of Bacolod every third weekend of October nearest October 19 to celebrate the anniversary of the city. It is characterized by colorful masks and a very animated dance. Since we still had enough time before the ship leaves for Manila again, we went to the Ruins of the Mariano Ledesma Lacson Mansion in Talisay.
A very animated Masskara dancer in Bacolod donning his intricately crafted mask
It was a fun and fulfilling trip knowing that we were somehow able to help in our own small way. However, we still feel that it is not complete and that we have to continue our mission and visit Iloilo once more for another relief effort. Together with other bloggers, we will be boarding the 2Go vessel once more on December 10. For those who are interested in sending relief goods & donations to Iloilo, kindly send us an e-mail via this address ([email protected]). We will be constantly updating this post for donations & pledges that we have received.
Thank you for all your help in advance & thanks as well to 2Go Travel for generously making these trips possible!
Update on Donations & Pledges:
As of November 30, 2013, 08:00pm
Aside from the proceeds from the of the wedding invites that have already been donated to the Ateneo Disaster & Relief Management Team and the 4 boxes of goods donated during the first visit, we are starting this donation process by donating another 10 boxes of noodles. Now, it’s time for you to do your share.
As of December 1, 2013, 12:00pm
500 hygiene kits ( toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo) > > > Donations coming from The Blue Kitchen! Thank you very much!
As od December 3, 2013 12:00pm