After an eventful few days in Cebu City which included a talk at PechaKucha presentation at Politcs Cafe, we headed north by bus and ferry to the beautiful island of Bantayan in central Visayas where stayed for the rest of our time in the Philippines. In the town of Santa Fe where we stayed, pristine beaches and aquamarine waters lent to an atmosphere of peace and tranquility but the island was ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan in Nov of last year.
It decimated many of the communities, tearing down 1000s of homes, halting any tourism as well as the vital fishing and egg farming industries. Island residents already living a simple and almost rustic life, often without electricity are still recovering, many still living in now tattered tents and temporary housing structures provided by groups like UNICEF and Oxfam or even simpler structures made from the land. We learned that many of the island residents survive with young families on just a mere $2 a day(!) There is so much need for help there.
We visited a school where 700 children from the Okoy Barangay community study, the 5th and 6th graders under a blue tarp as the classroom was destroyed in the Typhoon (school admins asked us to share their story in hopes somebody might help make their dream for one new classroom come true.) After a crazy fun day at the school we spent a day at the Okoy Banrangay Hall where we mixed it up all day with kids, families and the communities elders making photos and albums all day.