Post-pepeng in Baguio
- Amphibian tricycle
Still stranded, I’m helping the sisters and the baranggay council attend to emergency needs of our neighbors. TV and the newspaper must have given you sufficient images & data of the severe damage & loss of lives here in Baguio-Benguet. An entire family of 8 were buried in mud after a terrible landslide along Marcos Highway near the Kitma road junction. The mother, Leonore Andrada, studied in St. Martin. They were able to recover the bodies only Saturday morning when the torrential rain stopped. By then the road block in Crystal cave was also taken and were free to move around to help in relief operations. All 7 of us were at the barranggay gymn with Leonore’s parents to receive the 8 wooden coffins Saturday afternoon. The deep silence expressed their unfathomable sorrow. Their neighbors also lost their houses & all belongings in the landslide that can still be seen from Marcos highway. Tomorrow we are delivering emergency relief goods to 60 worst-hit families of our baranggay. Our St. Martin alumni/ae have been leading the rescue & relief operations for many days now. We are working with them.
We are also helping Miss Benitez of Café-by-Ruins (she’s a San Lo graduate), where hot meals are prepared daily to reach evacuees where government & other organizations have not yet reached. Her Café is a literal melting pot. The staff give up their free time to cook the food. Friends, other Baguio-based Manila alumnae bring in rice & vegetables daily even if the price goes up by the hour to sustain the feeding project. We contributed some sacks of rice & blankets & saw people young & old bring in their vegetables, etc. Student volunteers bring the cooked food immediately to different evacuation centers beyond Trinidad valley. It’s the same beautiful alay-kapwa I’m seeing since Ondoy in MetroManila to here, Pepeng in Baguio.
Our own property has damages, too. There is a terrible landslide outside the sacristy facing the creek. Catherine saw waters gushing forth from the soil even when the rains were dying down bring the whole hill down to the creek ! Fr. Jay Alipio sent an architect-engineer to study & make recommendations. Sr. Fe & Melania are finding all means to come up to attend to these needs. Front page of almost all papers show how we are cut off and how dangerous are the first attempts through Kenon Road. I’ve been asking God why I’m here...I begin to suspect God wants me to feel more deeply the pains of his people and the great responsibility we have to take care of our earth. For days, I stayed with the psalmist’s words : I turn my eyes to the Lord from whom all help comes. And my heart knows the Lord will come to our help. We need to be sensitive to recognize & welcome this help.
Sr Regina Victoria
October 12 - Baguio