Lola Crising, Lola Miguela ang Lolo Pidyong fled their village in Lemery, Batangas, when Taal volcano started to sputter thick plumes of ash on Jan. 12.
Frightened by an impending calamity, they left in haste with their families.
Two days later, they found themselves in Mabacao, a remote barangay in the town of Maragondon, Cavite. It was a 37-kilometer-long exodus.
The three elderly individuals said they were grateful for the kindness of the villagers who took them and all of 19 families in. They were welcomed and helped without hesitation by people they hadn’t known until then. They were offered a roof to lay their heads under, food to nourish their tired bodies, and friendships to keep them sane.
Barangay Mabacao is a community of adherents of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI). The dampened spirits of the displaced elderly and their companions were further lifted up by the emotional, spiritual and material support extended by various parish communities of the Diocese of Cavite.
When authorities lowered the Taal volcano danger alert level from IV (violent eruption possible in hours or days) to III (violent eruption possible in weeks) 17 days after, they said goodbye to their friends and returned home. Greeting them were partially collapsed houses, fields and streets covered in ash, livestock dead.
A sobering realization hit them: They lost everything. Worse, they did not have the slightest idea how and where they would begin rebuilding everything.
Where will my children stay? How can I feed my family? How can I pay our debts? Where is my livestock and harvest? How can I sustain our daily needs? Questions barged in relentlessly.
But, there too they rediscovered their strength. They were determined to re-emerge and reclaim what they lost. They picked up their resolve and then got their hands to work. They were certain they could cope with the challenges of their situation; they could stay in their homes once again, and survive the difficult days ahead.
To this day, the families of Lola Crising, Lola Miguela ang Lolo Pidyong thank the faithful whose kindness sustained them. They saw the frightful might of Taal, and lost much to it, but they also saw the best of people’s generosity, in strangers who tempered their grief with gratitude. To this day, too, IFI communities and faithful are thinking up ways to support relief and early recovery efforts.
Kapit-Bisig facilitates the regional humanitarian mission of the IFI South Central Luzon Bishops Conference (SCLBC) through which relief assistance was given to displaced families. As the affected populations slowly return home, Kapit-Bisig seeks to provide support to the recovery needs of displaced families post-disaster.
SCLBC continues to encourage donations for the benefit of the communities affected by the Taal volcano eruption. It remains engaged — through Kapit-Bisig — in humanitarian mission to meet relief, recovery and/or rehabilitation needs of families returning home.
For those who would like to extend help, please send donations to:
Account Name: Iglesia Filipina Independiente – Ramento Project for Rights Defenders
Account Number: 002410123976
Account Type: Peso Savings Account
Bank and Branch: Banco de Oro Taft-Pedro Gil
Swift Code: BNORPHMM
By contributing to Kapit-Bisig humanitarian mission, we can help families get back on their feet, bring people closer together, and care for each other.