by FIS correspondence
#BangonBisaya, this was the common cry of the netizens after the Super Typhoon “RAI” Odette hit the Philippines last Dec 16-18, 2021. It simply means, Rise up Bisaya! Bisaya, a name given to those living in the Visayas or Cebuano speaking people. It was a cry of hope amidst the devastation that this category 5 typhoon left the Islands of the Visayas, Mindanao and Palawan. After 3 weeks of experiencing the wrath of this super typhoon, people are still trying to get back on its feet, filled with faith, hope, and love amidst the uncertainty of their future.
Teresa, a kindergarten teacher and a mother of 11 lost their house in a fire last December 13, 2021. In the evening of December 16, 2021 they again experienced another tragic event with the wrath of the super typhoon. However, she would say that amidst the difficult situation that they are into, she is still thankful to God that her family is still intact and are all safe. Just like Mary and Joseph who were rejected while looking for a place to stay in Bethlehem, they too experienced it when they were looking for a place to stay after the fire destroyed their home. She said that people would not accept them in their homes because their house got burned. With this experience, all she can turn to is her faith in God. Her prayers were answered when a relative allowed them to temporarily stay with them in their living room. Amidst all the challenges that they have experienced, her greatest consolation is that as a family their faith has deepened. As one family they happily pray together, and her husband now joins them as they go to church and attend Mass.
Hope is evident with the family of JB who lost their father in September of 2021, their house on December 13, 2021 and 3 days after, experienced the wrath of the super typhoon. A triple catastrophe for the family in 2021. These events even made JB, a Salesian youth-education sponsored is determined to study well to help his family get back on its feet. The same is true with his siblings who are all determined to study well for them to be able to help their mother in the future.
Shiela Mae, a graduating college student, whose house was also destroyed by the super typhoon immediately helped her mother a day after the storm. They did not immediately clean nor repair their destroyed house because they must look for money for them to have something to eat. They need to survive. Together with her mother, they served as house helpers to their well to do neighbor. She would say that as a student, she felt helpless in helping the family because she has no money to provide for them. Her father could not help them since he is still suffering from stroke. She gladly helped her mother earn something because of her love for her family. She said that even without money her gift for her family last Christmas is her love for them.
The Salesian Philippine South Province, through the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes Sponsorship Program with Ms. Regina V. Palencia as the in-charge, gave cash assistance to have the houses of Teresa, JB and Shiela Mae repaired. Disasters may have destroyed their houses, it may have destroyed structures in the Salesian settings but with Faith, Hope, and Love, and the help of generous people we will be able to overcome everything. The cry of Bangon Bisaya continues… We shall Overcome!