> PLAY > Day 66 of #ISANGDAAN Journey
Read first the conversation so you can understand how I became a “Big Brother”
James: Hello, pwede ba ako magsabit ng hammock sa malapit sa may tent nyo? (Hello, can I hang my hammock near your tent area?)
Connie: Taga-saan ba kayo? Anung ginagawa nyo dito? (Where are you from? What are you doing here?)
James: Taga-Manila ako, nandito ako kasi gusto ko bisitahin ang tent city at nagsusulat din ako ng libro sa mga adventures ko. (I’m from Manila, Im here because I want to see the Tent City and write something about it.)
Connie: Sige kuya, okay lang. Anu pong pangalan nyo ulit? (Sure Kuya, it’s okay. What’s your name?)
James: James, Kuya James nalang tawag nyo sa akin. (James, you can call me Kuya James)
Honey: Ay sige kuya, pwedeng-pwede. (Oh sure! You can!)
(2 kids came along, Heidi and RJ)
James: Hello, ang gwapa naman nito (Heidi). Unsa imong ngalan? (Hello, hey, this kid is so beautiful)
Honey: Kapatid ko po yan- si Heidi (She is my sister, her name is Heidi)
James: Gwapa kaayo! Asa man magulang mo? (Sooo beautiful. Where’s your parents)
Kid 1: Wala po. (Not here.)
James: Wala? Nasaan? (Not here? Where?)
Honey: Wala na, nakasama sa baha. (They are gone. They died because of typhoon Sendong)
James: Whew! (Stunned! Speechless!)
Connie: Kuya, 5 yan sila magkakapatid, yung dalawa nilang kuya at mga magulang nakasama sa naanod sa baha kasi niligtas silang 3. Sila nalang natira, sinasamahan ko na lang sila sa tent kasi kami ng pamila ko, kumpleto naman, mga pinsan ko lang yung namatay ng Sendong. (Kuya, they are 5 in the family, 2 of their older brothers and their parents died because of the flood. They are the ones left and I am just helping them in their tent because our family is complete. Only my cousins died during the typhoon.)
Typhoon Sendong claimed more than a thousand of lives in Iligan City, CDO and Dumagute City. One of the deadliest typhoons in the Philippines.
<< REWIND << Day 65 of #ISANGDAAN Journey
Iligan City 4 Months after Typhoon Sendong
I saw first-hand the victims of typhoon Sendong (during December 2011) and my heart cried. My excitement of seeing Tinago Falls again was replaced with unexplainable sorrow. My thrill turned to despair. Why? Because hundreds, no make it thousands of my kababayans are still homeless, living in a tent with no enough supply of water, no proper comfort rooms, no electricity.
So, instead of exploring more of Iligan City, I decided to slow down and observe. I want to somehow feel them. I’m not contended with having sympathy, I want to be empathetic to the kids, the young people, the victims.
So I asked my local friend and travel blogger Lai to bring me to Bayug island or ground zero (this is where most lives are taken) and tell me stories about the flood. She and the Iligan Bloggers Society are the ones who spearheaded the fund-raising and relief-distribution, a very successful drive called ONE FOR ILIGAN.
I was teary-eyed and heart-broken after the story, I decided to leave the place asap because I might get depressed (Note: I’m not an emotional person).
Visiting the “Tent City”
The following day, I decided to go back and see the “Tent City” near the bus terminal. The “tent city” is the temporary evacuation center for the victims of Sendong flood. Even if someone wants to sponsor my stay in a hotel, I told Lai that I want to spend a night at Tent City and observe the people there. I have a background in counseling and youth development so I somehow want to help them. I was planning to use my hammock and spend considerable amount of time so I have a much deeper story about the place.
>> FAST FORWARD >> Day 67 of #ISANGDAAN Journey
Here’s the video of their answer and what happened the next day:
For 2 day and 2 nights I spend time with these kids, I became a big brother, I brought them to Tinago Falls so they can play and for a minute forget about what just happened. Even though I was strict on spending Php500/day, this is different, I didn’t mind over-spending that day.
My gratitude also goes to Lai aka Pinay Travelista (thanks for touring me around) and Alex of Choose Iligan City (who became our photographer during the trip, most of the shots are taken by him). Thanks for chipping in for other expenses during this trip.
James Wearing Four Different Hats- a series of some unforgettable moments during my #isangdaan journey.
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This is post part of ISANG DAAN Journey. ISANG DAAN is a personal journey and challenge to backpack around the Philippines the cheapest way possible for 100 days.
If you want to follow my steps, I have an interactive map