11.07.2020

A usual 30-minute drive from Legazpi to Guinobatan, Albay took us an hour due to the moderate traffic caused by road mishaps; in one town, a truck caught low hanging wires in the road. These are some of the aftermath of the storm Rolly along with misaligned electric poles in the highway.

The weather was gloomy when we arrived at San Francisco, Guinobatan. It is one of the most affected areas by Rolly with lost lives and destroyed houses. There was a rush at the vicinity as everyone was being asked by the City Hall Officer to leave in preparation for another low pressure condition in the region.

We were advised to go to the evacuation center where the families are housed temporarily, including Salvador Manrique. Salvador is the father of Samuel Manrique, a boy whose body was swept away by the flood and was found 25 kilometres away from their home, unclothed and on the ground. I was deeply saddened by the news that the burial of Samuel was held yesterday. I didn’t make it.

Following a patrolman, we headed to the center where, similary, there was a commotion. The community was being evacuated into a new facility situated on a higher land. I and my companion Hiroki, walked along the pathways of the center and handed out relief packs to whoever we saw. Some were waving and were calling us. Some were preparing their belongings, waiting in front of their rooms, about to hop on a military vehicle…

Then finally, I went to the quarter where Salvador and his remaining children were staying.

“We find meaning in life by giving.” A word that remained in my heart from a recent conversation with a confidant.

Grief. We don’t know when will it last.

Hope.

Photographed on phone here are among those who are keeping shelter at the MORMS Evacuation Center, Guinobatan Albay. Please help them if you can.

Thank you to everyone who bought my photograph from LAWIG and those who supported this cause.