I am part Bicolana on my Mother’s side, so the devastation wrought by Typhoon Reming this previous week tugs at my heartstrings with a heavier pull. I just finished reading the latest article on Philippine Star’s Online edition regarding the declaration of a state of national calamity and my eyes almost welled up with tears. I’m seriously debating about whether or not I will include this article in Mom’s daily dose of news from home, because she might end up even more depressed than myself.
I had offered to have her watch the newsfeeds from GMA 7 yesterday but after a half hour, she stood up and decided to go and rest, saying the news was all the same and it wasn’t good. She kept repeating over and over again, Kawawa naman ang mahihirap. (Pity the poor people.)
My Mom hails from a far-flung part of Bicol called Bulan in the principality of Sorsogon. While Legaspi City is around 14 hours away by car or an hour away by plane from Manila, from there, you have to drive another 4 hours or so to make it to my Mother’s hometown. Although my last trip there was practically 15 years ago or so when my grandmother passed away, I have never lost touch with my roots. In fact it’s ironic that I am now learning how to speak the dialect as my Mom and I have taken to conversing in her native tongue for privacy.
I tried watching the latest feeds and I just had to turn it off because it was too much heartbreak for a people already steeped in poverty. I cannot imagine how their Christmas will be like this year — considering many have lost family members and those who survived have lost their possessions and the roof above their heads.
I’m grateful that Mom’s town was spared from the wrath of the typhoon so we know our relatives are safe. Every year, my mom throws a small party for the children in her little barrio, Barangay San Vicente where my uncle is the barangay captain. They feed them with some party fare like spaghetti and she gives away clothes she buys from her own money. Just a simple outfit for the kids to wear to mass on Christmas morn. At least those kids will have their Christmas day — those who survived the wrath of Reming will probably wish Christmas away.