Residents of Barangay Rizal and Barangay Hiloctogan in Kananga, Leyte are all focused in the preparation for the turnovers of the prefabricated houses from Tzu Chi Foundation. The ceremonies are scheduled on November 5 at 9:00 a.m.in Rizal and at 11:00 a.m. in Hiloctogan.
Said residents were among those who lost their homes after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit Leyte on July 6, 2017. The quake caused power interruptions and left extensive damages in different parts of the province.
Among the affected is the town of Kananga.
Due to threats of landslides, the local government has prohibited the residents living near the mountains from returning to their homes. Seventy families transferred to government-provided relocation sites at Barangay Rizal, while 50 families moved to Barangay Hiloctogan.
Immediately after the quake, Tzu Chi Foundation began the emergency phase of its disaster relief operations. Tzu Chi distributed eco-friendly blankets, used clothes, Jing Si multipurpose foldable beds, and sacks of local and Taiwan rice to 2,184 families from the worst-hit communities in Kananga and Ormoc City.
Barely a month after the quake, Tzu Chi moved on to building prefabricated houses for the affected families. Seventy units were constructed in Barangay Rizal, and 50 units were put up in Barangay Hiloctogan.
Residents of the Great Love City, Tzu Chi’s housing village for Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors in Barangay Liloan, Ormoc City, helped in the construction of the houses. The beneficiaries from Kananga also pitched in help.
After almost two months of working all day, the units of prefabricated houses have been completed and are now ready for occupancy. Tzu Chi volunteers and the residents of Kananga, thought of a way to celebrate this momentous occasion and came up with the idea of holding a simple turnover ceremony.
Tzu Chi Foundation Deputy CEO Alfredo Li plans to bring the people from the Tzu Chi Great Love City to the two barangays to witness the events. During the ceremonies, certificates of ownership for the prefabricated houses will be given to each family recipient.
Li challenged the housing recipients from both barangays not to spend money in their preparations for the turnover ceremony. He encouraged them to bring out their creativity instead of spend their money on the preparations. For Li, it’s the thought that counts.
In Barangay Hiloctogan, the people are planning to set up a stage for the ceremony. They are also eyeing to put up an arch to welcome the Tzu Chi volunteers and the visitors to their village.
Danilo Gorgonio leads his neighbors in constructing the stage, which is made of bamboos and with different leaves serving as the background.
“In our preparation for the turnover ceremony of the prefabricated houses, we did not spend any amount of money. Yet, we feel satisfied and delighted. It may not be a grand stage, and the materials may not be expensive, but it is made out of our love and gratefulness. We really want to make a unique stage, so we give our 100% efforts and hard work in making it,” says Gorgonio.
In Barangay Rizal, since they don’t have enough space to build a stage, they are planning to turn their resting place into a magical one by decorating it with a lot of flowers, leaves, bananas, and banana blossoms.
“Everyone here in Barangay Rizal has a part in the preparation; some of us went to the mountains to gather flowers for decorations, while some are in-charge of the food. We are really united and coordinated in doing the works,” says Mary Cris Potoy, who came up with the idea of filling the place with flowers.
Potoy says this is the least thing they can do to show their appreciation for all the help Tzu Chi has given them.
Come the turnover ceremonies, a parade will occur and will be joined by Tzu Chi volunteers from Ormoc and the housing recipients. There will also be a donation drive where the residents will donate their savings; the fruits and vegetables they harvested will be auctioned. Its proceeds will be donated to the earthquake victims in Mexico. This is the housing recipients’ way of radiating the spirit of helping and sharing.
Tzu Chi volunteers from Manila, who came to help with the preparation and to witness the turnover ceremonies, share about their observation.
“The residents of Rizal and Hiloctogan are very, very kind. They care for each other. I think they stick to each other as a group, as a family. They are helping each other. I think this is what the world needs,” says Richard Tan.
Another Tzu Chi volunteer, Ferdinand Dy, appreciates the gratefulness of the residents.
“After seeing how the residents of Kananga prepare for the turnover ceremonies, I can really say that the spirit of love and sharing radiates in the community. Now that they have their shelters, they want to give back to Tzu Chi, first is by putting so much love for the upcoming turnover ceremony. Second, they want to give back to Tzu Chi by helping other people as well. Together with the people of Liloan, they will also donate whatever they can for the victims of the earthquake in Mexico,” says Dy.
Dy also hopes that the love and compassion in the hearts of the residents of Rizal and Hiloctogan will continually grow and eventually spread throughout the world.
Tzu Chi Philippines Deputy CEO, Alfredo Li, together with other volunteers had a meeting with Kananga Mayor, Rowena Codilla, for the parade and turn over ceremony that will happen on November 5.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
The ladies at Barangay Rizal are busy on preparing for the posters that they will hold during the parade. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Tzu Chi volunteers, Manuel Siao and Richard Tan are amazed on how intricate the residents are for the decoration of their stage. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Tzu Chi volunteers, Richard Tan, try to help one of the residents of Barangay Rizal in putting the flowers for the arch. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
This ‘Thank You’ design made of flowers will be put in the arch at Barangay Rizal, this is their creative way of showing their gratitude for Tzu Chi Foundation for giving them pre-fabricated houses. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Mary Cris Potoy, applies what she learned from her art class at school, in transforming the banana leaves into a beautiful decoration for their resting place-turn-stage for the turn over ceremony. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
The residents of Barangay Hiloctogan, despite of the heat of the sun, continue on working with the stage where the turn over ceremony of their houses will happen. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
The youth of Barangay Hiloctogan are in charge in getting leaves for the decoration of the stage and arch. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
The materials used to create the word ‘Hiloctogan’ are old newspaper and skin of a dead tree, the residents wants to maximize their creativity without spending any single amount of money. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
After the construction, the residents of Barangay Hiloctogan are now busy in putting decorations and poster on the stage. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】