Typhoon Odette — A Photo Series (Part 4)

Light At The End

Ariel, a resident of Pancil, walking down the main road of their village, which to this day has not been re-energized yet

March 5, 2022. Up to this day, several areas are still left without power.

To provide light was another goal we had laid out as we started this journey of helping those in need.

  1. Literally provide some sort of illumination, preferably solar, so people could go about their night time chores and routines.
  2. Figuratively provide light so we can comfort them in these dark times.

Atlas and MPowerd reached out to me, and with the support of YCG, donated several of their Luci solar lanterns. These collapsible lanterns had a small solar panel attached to it for recharging, an SOS mode, and was waterproof — perfect for the rugged conditions these lanterns were to be distributed in.

In contrast to the last relief operation, we included fisherfolk in the distribution of these Luci lanterns. These fishermen often relied on bulbs attached to car batteries for illumination in their fishing rounds.

We figured the rugged construction of the lanterns would be able to withstand rain and sea spray.

Barangay Pancil, if you remember, was one of the first areas we visited during our first relief operation. This area was one of the worst hit villages by Odette.

Luckily, no life was lost here, but people were left homeless in Odette’s wake.

In the past 2 months and a half, situations in areas such as Pancil’s has become better. People have started to rebuild their homes and their lives, but, power and electricity is still ways off; estimates being April for these interior villages to be re-energized.

As such, people have to cope with the dark for now.

Manoy Budo is the father of 4, most of them in school already. After the distribution of these lanterns, he explained how it would prove useful for his children’s school modules, and how they can now study at night.

When I visited Manoy Budo in his hut, I saw the grin on his wife’s face knowing their kids won’t be relying on candlelight to study. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but it really is heartwarming being able to help someone in this manner.

Who would’ve known, a simple led bulb, charged by a tiny solar panel, encased in a plastic housing, could mean so much for a family out there in the mountains.

Maybe these people don’t have to cope so much with the dark after all.

Salamat kaayo dong ha! Salamat kaayo! (Thank you so much. Thank you)

There were constant ‘thank yous’ in the areas we visited, much moreso with these lanterns we were handing out. I understood what living without the comfort of electricity brings, having gone through the aftermath of Yolanda myself.

And I knew how much of an impact being able to see at night meant.

This concludes me and my team’s relief operations down south.

In total we were able to gather P195,450 in cash and good donations. They are as follows:

  • 300 meters of tarp for immediate shelters
  • Food packets
  • Food drives
  • 15 jugs of gasoline for water refilling stations
  • Bottled water
  • Used clothes
  • Debris clearing tools
  • Solar flood lights for barangay halls and key establishments
  • Solar lanterns
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Hammocks
  • Water filters
  • Volunteers’ food and water

As I keep saying, I didn’t plan to put up a relief operation of this scale. I initially wanted to just help my family and loved ones.

But then again, I couldn’t fathom the thought of us living in comfort while our neighbors were struggling to find food and water.

Once again, I thank everyone who has helped our cause, and in turn, allowed us to help the people of Southern Leyte. I am forever grateful to all of you!

Our efforts have allowed people to stand back up, and figuratively given them light and hope.

Damo na salamat! Padayon la.

Odette Photo Series

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Photographer / UI Designer

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Nick Aguilos

Nick Aguilos

Photographer / UI Designer

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