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A Home of Their Own

By Focus FeaturesJanuary 22, 2017

Emily Salas of Ridge View

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Emily Salas and her family have lived in three houses after Typhoon Yolana demolished their old home beside the sea. She hopes that her latest house in Ridge View will be her family’s last.

At 35 years old, Emily is tired of moving her family about.

“Mas maganda rito kaysa doon na tabing dagat (This is better than living beside the ocean),” she said.

After Typhoon Yolanda, her family lived with dozens of other families at a temporary relocation center set up inside the City Astrodome. After some time, her family moved to the IPI bunkhouse, named after its landowner, International Pharmaceuticals Inc. (IPI).

Having lived in Ridge View for two years, Emily’s family has finally found a home of their own.

Lita Yepes of Kawayan Ville-Habitat

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Lita Yepes, 33, sells barbecue outside her house in Kawayan Ville-Habitat. Her husband, Amado, is a jeepney driver. They have two children.

Since moving into their new home last July, Lita and her family can breathe easy.

“Maupay (Maganda) dito. Sa dating bahay, mahadlok (madisgrasya) pa kami kapag malakas ang hangin (It is nicer to live here. In our previous home, it is dangerous if winds are strong).”

During Typhoon Yolanda, her family stayed in their house near the sea. They were able to leave just as the waters rose. They took shelter at a neighbor’s house on the second floor.

Lita hopes to make the most of her family’s new start in Tacloban North through her barbecue business. Her husband’s earnings are just enough for their family’s needs. She had to loan money for food supplies.

She wishes the government or the private sector would provide assistance to enterprising entrepreneurs like her.

Fely Garedo of Kawayan Ville-Habitat

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When she steps away from the small sari-sari store at her front porch, Fely Garedo, 57, keeps the peace in her new neighborhood of Kawayan Ville-Habitat.

Policemen are always around to help tanods like her. During neighborhood roving patrols, a policeman is always present. When they encounter trouble, tanods like her contact a police outpost nearby.

Fely and her neighbors come from all over Tacloban. Prior to moving into their new houses last year, they received values formation and community leadership training from Habitat for Humanity (HfH), who built the homes in their village.

“Dapat madisiplina muna bago mapunta dito. Kasi kakaiba yung nandoon tayo sa mga squatter area. Nakakaiba dito dahil village ito. Dito, bawal uminom sa labas ng bahay. (There should be discipline before one moves here. It is different when you live in the squatter area. Here, this is a village.  You can’t just drink liquor outside your home.”

Eriberto Basinang of Pope Francis Village-SM Cares

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Eriberto Basinang is glad he’s safe from disaster but wishes he had a steady source of income. In his former community of Alimasag, Eriberto was a fisherman. In his new community north of Tacloban, he repairs broken things.

To earn a living, Eriberto fixes his neighbors’ broken umbrellas and shoes. He charges P50 for major repair and P30 for minor repair. He earns about P200 to P250 every day. The rest of his family help provide for their needs. His wife, Elucia, is a beautician and manicurist. Their son, Queenie, is a haircutter. They earn about P30 per manicure and P50 per haircut. They earn about P100 to P150 per day.

Do they earn enough for their family’s daily needs?

“Minsan nagkukulang. Minsan tama lang. Wala lang naiipon. (Sometimes, it is not enough. Sometimes, it is enough. We don’t have savings though).”

Her son, Queenie, says with a chuckle: “Hintay lang kami sa darating na biyaya. (We are waiting for blessings).”

They add: “Mag-aantay lang kami kung may magpapa-service at yung income namin tama lang sa isang araw na gastos. Pero walang maiipon ka talaga. (We are waiting if there will be those who want to avail of the service repair to answer our costs for the day.  But we really can’t save that much.”

Joel Aradana and Juvilyn Luaña of GMA Kapuso Village

Joel Aradana and Juvilyn Luaña never expected to find love again so soon after they lost their spouses during Typhoon Yolanda. Both of them lived in the seaside community of Alimasag in San Jose, Tacloban yet both of them never got to know each other until after the storm.

Both of them were with their families and in their houses when the storm surge swept through their community. Joel lost his wife and two children. Juvilyn lost her six children and her mother who lived with them.

After the storm, the two of them and the other survivors of Alimasag became involved in a cash-for-work program for their community. The women sewed and repaired fishing nets while the men fixed boats damaged during Typhoon Yolanda.

“Yung panahon na nagkakilala kami, pareho kaming mag-momove on. Yung pinsan niya yung nagsabi sa amin, uy, areho kayong balod (byuda/widow/widower), bagay kayo. Tapos yung mga kutsa-kutsaan ng mga kaibigan, doon kami nagka-close. Hanggang napag-isip kami pareho na magkaroon ng pamilya, (When we knew each other, we are in the process of moving on.  His cousin told us that both of us have lost spouses and we are fit for each other. After the prodding of friends, that’s the time when we grew closer. Until the time we decided that both of us can have a family),” she said.

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Their love story was featured on the GMA television show Magkailanman. The publicity from their television allowed them to be given a house in GMA Kapuso Village, the TV network’s resettlement housing in Tacloban North.

Today, Joel and Juvilyn’s love for each other continue to bear fruit. They have a son, Jacob, one year and six months old. As of the interview, Juvilyn is six months pregnant and expected to give birth in April.