Christmas in Albay after the storms

I couldn’t see their agony because they were all smiles when they saw us coming. I immediately felt the warmth of these battered people of Bacacay, Albay. They never complained the entire time that we were there despite the long, lazy lines and the humidity.

they waited in line patiently, rain and all

Even the 10-minute drizzle didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit, giving us volunteers the energy we needed to keep on. They were so cooperative, meek, and accepting.  It pains even me even more to feel their good nature despite all the wrathful lashes mother natured threw at them. Milenyo. Reming. Seniang. Mayon. These people seem to say, “bring it on.”

Red Cross Philippines volunteers worked hard to serve the people of Bacacay
the roads were covered in volcanic ash (lahar), with volcanic rocks scattered here and there
what was supposed to repair the roads also got buried in lahar
it was a family's home
how can something so beautiful cause so much despair?
hungry boy waits for his mother

There is no electricity still. Coconut trees were all dead. Roads are buried deep from lahar and mudflow. Boulders ruined houses and crops. Fishermen’s boats were gravely damaged. Houses lay deep under heavy mud. Amid all these, the Albayanons’ lives are moving on. They are as resilient as the typhoons and the volcanic eruptions that have come to test them.

It’s almost Christmas and I’m still in the office (alone on a Saturday afternoon, straight from the airport) working on the article required of me to write for my client. But how can I complain? The great people of Albay showed what true sacrifice and suffering meant. This is nothing compared to what they are going through for the last three weeks. And it’s just two days before Christmas. For goodness’ sake…

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