Saturday, Feb 29

Giving Hope to Fire Victims

April 10, 2019 | Katrina Mina

Noemie Dilao cradles her two-year-old son Bon Ivan ‘Buboy’ Dilao inside their temporary shelter at the road side. 【Photo by Katrina Mina】

Story Highlights

  • A total of 829 families who were victims of the fire in Barangay Damayang Lagi were given relief goods by Tzu Chi Foundation last April 6, 2019.

  • To Noemie Dilao, the fire served as a wake-up call to have her two-year-old son checked by a doctor for his health condition.


For everyone in Barangay Damayang Lagi, it seems fire was another tragedy that they have to endure from time to time. Fires and other disasters were nothing but a periodic occurrence that everyone has a history to tell. But to Noemie Dilao, it was more than a misfortune; it was a catalyst to save her son not from the fire, but from something that could affect him for the rest of his life.

Bon Ivan was the second child of the Dilao family, after having a fever on his 9th month, his health worsens. Noemie procrastinated in bringing him to a doctor and now his mobility is affected.

When Tzu Chi Foundation distributed aid to the fire victims of Barangay Damayang Lagi, Noemi was one of the recipients.

“My happiness has doubled. Because I saw your help was intense.” said Noemie. “I am thankful because Tzu Chi gave this kind of help to us. Rice, plates and pots, it’s a big help for us. Maybe we can eat this in a month, and we can save from our supposed daily expenses.”

Other residents of Barangay Damayang Lagi were also grateful for Tzu Chi’s constant help during times of disaster. Pacito Binondo and Federico Chiangco remembered how Tzu Chi helped them and their families recover from a fire in 2017. Now they are even more grateful to Tzu Chi for extending help to their community again.

“I am thankful for the help you’ve given all of us. Even my children, they are very happy.” said the 88-year-old Pacito.

Federico Chiangco even kept the thermal eco-blanket they were given in 2017. One of his children was a fire victim in 2017 and gave him the blanket; now that he is facing the same predicament, Federico made use of the Tzu Chi blanket as a roof during hot days and as a floor during cold nights.

Now, Federico was happy to receive relief goods from the foundation especially because he no longer has to share a single pot with his child.

“I am thankful because it is a big help, the rice, the pot. I don’t have a pot. The pot I have here is used by my son when he goes to work... So now I have a pot, I can cook rice. I can boil things, (purify) the water. It’s a big help.” said Federico.

Volunteer Charlie Centes said that the relief mission last April 6, 2019 gave 829 families new kitchen utensils, clothes and a sack of 20-kg rice really helped in their day-to-day existence.

“What we did is very important because to people who are victims of a fire, almost every day they have to struggle to find food.” he said.

Noemie said that the 20-kg sack of rice is a big help especially since rice is a staple food for Filipinos.

“Of course, we Filipinos need rice. It’s alright not have viand but we cannot live without rice. Because it’s easy to find viand but if you don’t have rice, it’s no use.”

  • Volunteers shared the foundation’s history and missions with the recipients. 【Photo by Katrina Mina】

  • Noemie brought her son to the relief distribution. Without a stroller, it was hard for Noemie to bring her son around. 【Photo by Katrina Mina】

  • Federico Chiangco eagerly showed the eco-blanket given by Tzu Chi way back in 2017 when one of his children became a victim of another fire. 【Photo by Katrina Mina】

  • Noemie joyfully received new kitchen utensils with a sleeping Buboy in her arms. 【Photo by Katrina Mina】

  • A recipient beamed with joy as she carried the relief goods back to their temporary homes. 【Photo by Katrina Mina】

  • Recipients also showed their generosity by donating to the foundation. 【Photo by Katrina Mina】