Help 'Pablo' victims in Cateel
DAVAO ORIENTAL, Philippines – My 71st province in my quest to see the 80 provinces of the Philippines. After having seen so many picturesque landscapes for 6 years now, it still left me feeling awed by our country’s beauty.
Last August, my fiancé and I finally explored the towns of Davao Oriental. From Mati, we took what seemed to be a 4-hour bus ride to the town of Cateel, passing through the coastal towns of Caraga and Baganga, all for their breathtaking Aliwagwag Falls.
When we got to the town of Cateel, we were met by my friend’s brothers Kuya Nonoy and Kuya Dong, who were more than happy to show us around. We rode on their habal-habal and made sure the Falls was our first stop.
When we finally got there, hours of sitting on the bus with no vegetarian food available between stops was all worth it. We gazed at the waterfalls for what seemed like hours, just watching the water trickle down from the top.
About an hour later, we set off for Long Beach, an 8-kilometer black beach with fine sand and no resorts. I remember seeing a snake as we were approaching the shore and thought how lucky we were to see a place as beautiful as Long Beach still raw and undisturbed.
And then we headed back to Baganga, where we were to wait for a bus going back to Mati. We stopped by Mahoc Beach for some picture-taking before we set off for Baganga’s real gem: San Victor Island.
San Victor is a small island that’s easily visible from the highway. Some would probably miss it or intentionally ignore it because of its size, but those who venture out on a 5-minute boat ride from the highway are gifted with a little piece of paradise. Its warm waters are inviting, and the sand is powder-fine.
We would have camped there had we brought our things with us. We heard of tales of dolphins and whalesharks roaming the area. We would love to go back to witness that.
Distraught but hopeful
But after having seen the effects of “Pablo” in Davao Oriental’s coastal towns, I don’t know what’s left. I am distraught but I remain hopeful.
Just today, I literally felt heartbroken when I saw how Aliwagwag Falls looks like now. I don’t know how many more photo posts by my friend Olan Emboscado I can take, but the truth is, it doesn’t matter if I can take those photos or not. They are real, and they need to be addressed.
Now based in Davao City, my friend Olan has started a #HelpCateel drive and fortunately, kind spirits have been helping him out in providing the town of Cateel the help it needs. But Cateel, as well as the other towns of Davao Oriental and the province of Compostela Valley, still need our help.
Right now, I am working with a liaison officer from Compostela Valley and I’m also working with Olan for Davao Oriental. #HelpCateel is accepting cash donations while Compostela Valley needs goods, so if people from Manila would like to donate goods for Compostela Valley, they can coordinate with me.
The UN has already pledged to take care of their food for the next 6 months, and I am more than happy to hear that, but they still need our help.
I hear stories of people not being able to cook donated raw food to them because they don’t have pots, pans, and other essential kitchenware. They also need medicine, hygiene kits and new underwear. Candles and matches will also be useful because they don’t know when electricity will be restored. - Rappler.com
No help is too small. If you’re in Manila and would like to donate, please tweet @filipinadiver.
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