Yellow boats sail to Estancia, Iloilo PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 July 2014 09:35

One of the hardest hit towns during Typhoon Yolanda was Estancia, Iloilo, the hometown of my father. If I am not mistaken more  than a hundred died since it is a coastal town. Estancia is known as the Alaska of the Philippines, a rich fishing ground. That’s why it also known as the place where the best Philippines dried fishes comes from. Fresh caught fishes are immediately being dried because of its abundance.

I was in Iloilo City that time and was able to go to Estancia 3 days after I heard the devastated news. It never crossed my mind that Yolanda will create big havoc there. Communications were down so was electricity. Though none of my relatives died, one house of my Uncle was totally wiped out leaving only one wall of the comfort room standing.  Most of the houses were destroyed even concrete ones.

When I went there everything was a messed especially the wharf area where many bancas or motorized boats were anchored that time.  Most of the fishermen are from the different islands and converge here to bring their fresh catches. The wharf serves as the buying station. It has a big market area, stalls selling different products, videokes, and hundred small houses where fishermen relax after a day’s hard work. Most of them stayed in their bancas and in the wharf when Yolanda came.

Nobody ever thought that this same area will be the place most of them will died. The sea surge brought by Yolanda crushed the whole area that afternoon with 4 to 5 feet of strong sea water. It never happened before and nobody knew the devastating effect of a storm surge. Actually, there are still many who perished are still unaccountable for. Their impoverished families waiting in the island homes are still grieving until now.

I am glad that Iloilo Funds for Little Kids a chapter of the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation (YBHF) was formed a year earlier in Iloilo City. Aimed at helping off shores communities have better lives, the group never thought that one day they will be traveling to the end of Panay Island to give and help with this great magnitude.

A day or two from now, yellow colored bancas will be turn-over to the people of island barangay Manipulon, Estancia. There are more or less 50 students in this barangay. In order to go to school, they have to cross the sea every school day to reach the nearby island which is about 5-10 minutes motor boat ride. Manipulon Barangay Captain said the island’s only service boat was destroyed by Yolanda.

A small version of the service boat like what they have before was donated to them but it takes at least 3 times back and forth travel in the morning to send the kids and afternoon to fetch them since the boat can only load a limited number of passengers. The parents of these kids are worried that when rainy season starts, it would no longer be safe for the kids to ride a smaller boat with overloading passengers especially if the waves are huge.

Through the full support of YBHF, Illoilo Funds for Little Kids in coordination with the I Can  Make A Difference –Iloilo Chapter were able to build 10 yellow colored boats from donations so that the island can have a simultaneous travel schedule across the other island. Soon, the kids will no longer need to endure a crowded space, they will no longer run late for school, and most of all they can travel and arrive at school safe and sound. Thank God.

Estancia is slowly recovering from the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda today. Help came in trickle from the national government during that time because (unfortunately) the local political leaders belong to the opposition I found out. In behalf of Estancia, I thank Doc Miamaerose Española Apostol and Doc John Conrad S. Carlos for being the prime movers of this noble project for my father’s townmates.

By Dante Corteza

It is in the nature of all of us to be selfish and want to put our own needs and desires before others. The Bible gives clear direction however on our need to give glory to God by helping others in need. God commands us to love others and also tells us we will be more blessed by doing this. 1 John 3:17- Love of God. “But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?”