Thursday, Apr 15

Students from Taiwan help build houses in Kananga

July 15, 2018 | Jamaica Digo

Assisted by a local volunteer, the medical students from Tzu Chi University in Taiwan try their hands on installing a unit of prefabricated shelter in Barangay Sto. Niño, Kananga. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

Story Highlights

  • Tzu Chi Foundation is eyeing to build another Great Love Village in Barangay Sto. Niño in Kananga, Leyte. Construction of 120 units of prefabricated shelters for the survivors of the 6.5-magnitude last year in a 2-hectare land donated by former Ormoc City mayor Edward Codilla’s family began in the last week of May, 2018.

  • Medical students from Tzu Chi University in Hualien, Taiwan numbering to 26 joined the installation of houses on July 15.

  • Villagers who will be the beneficiaries of the houses extend their gratitude to the visiting students by preparing snacks of boiled bananas, yam, and coconut juice for them.


Another community of Great Love is hoped to rise in Barangay Sto. Niño, Kananga in Leyte with the ongoing installation of 120 units of prefabricated shelters in a 2-hectare land donated by former Ormoc City mayor Edward Codilla and his wife, Violy.

Construction began on May 21, 2018. Residents of the said village were mobilized under a cash-for-work program to build the houses.

It can be remembered that Tzu Chi Foundation had launched the same program in putting up its housing communities for the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda in the town of Palo and the city of Ormoc in 2014. This brought back the dignity of the calamity victims as they feel that they are part of their own recovery, helping themselves and their fellow typhoon survivors.

This is the same idea Tzu Chi hopes to bring to the Sto Nino villagers.

Kananga was hit hard in July 2017 by a destructive earthquake and many of the villagers were affected. While others had left behind their houses after they collapsed in the ground shaking, some strived to rebuild their lives by putting up shanties using old tarpaulins, wood, and tin sheets.

On July 17, construction of their new houses continued with medical students from Tzu Chi University (TCU) in Taiwan, who are in the Philippines for a volunteer service mission, joining the locals in the installation.

As a former engineer, Huang Tsung-Rung was particularly fascinated by the efficiency and convenience of the houses’ design.

“It is very easy to build so it is useful when disasters happen. We can easily provide a comfortable home for the survivors,” commented the 29-year-old Huang. He is currently studying Traditional Chinese Medicine at the TCU.

Like the diligent scholars that they are, the students worked hard to learn how to assemble the prefabricated shelters.

As a homebody, the experience was nothing like Lee Yun-Ting, 19, a Nursing student, has ever done before. “I am so proud of myself and of my schoolmates for having accomplished this. We are all grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the beneficiaries’ new lives,” she said.

Grateful, the locals had prepared coconut juice, yam, and boiled bananas for the volunteers.

“Everyone in my neighborhood agreed that we will have something to offer our visitors. One of us has many banana plants so he harvested bananas to boil, while the other went to gather fresh coconuts. Those of us who don’t have any crops volunteered to cook the food,” shared Renelyn Madanglog, 31.

“We may not have much but we wish to show our gratitude to them, even in a little way, for helping the people here,” Renelyn added.

Rebuilding takes a lot of time and effort, but with a little help from each other and a little gesture of gratitude for each other, the road to recovery will be easier to walk on.

  • Installation of prefabricated shelters in a 2-hectare land in Barangay Sto. Niño, Kananga is on-going. Tzu Chi hopes to build 120 units of shelters for the survivors of the powerful earthquake last year. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Former Engineer now Traditional Chinese Medicine student Huang Tsung-Rung lauds the houses’ design as it can be easily assembled and provide shelter in the wake of calamities. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Medical students from Taiwan work hard to learn how to install the prefabricated shelters. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Grateful for the students’ efforts in building the houses, the beneficiaries gathered and cooked their own crops to serve the visitors. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • A villager serves the snacks to the volunteer students. Both are thankful and happy to have met each other. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】