Written and Photographed by Leeane Padernal, volunteer writer and photographer
Every year, the resiliency of Ivatans is tested by small and big typhoons. In 2016, we once again witnessed it, but not just how they dealt with the weather disturbances but also with the storms in their personal lives.
Lolo Felimon is a native of Batanes Island. Since his early years, he had witnessed a lot of typhoons in life, which made him the person he is now.
The 70-year-old man has seven children – 3 already dead and 2 has their own families in Manila, which left him living alone in his small house in Brgy. Nakanmuan, Sabtang, Batanes.
When Category 5 Super Typhoon Lawin made landfall in Batanes Island, Lolo Felimon had his house’s main door secured with a rope. The next morning, he could not believe how strong the typhoon was when he saw that the rope he used was destroyed by the typhoon.
Although struggling to get back to normalcy after the storm, Lolo Felimon does not want to be a burden to anyone, especially to his children. With a positive outlook on life, Lolo Felimon accepted the cash for work program of the government for the typhoon-affected residents. His work every day is to clean the surroundings of their barangay. His everyday companion is his heavy wooden cart and a dustpan and broom.
When Operation Blessing Philippines heard about Lolo Felimon, he was handed 10 kilos of rice, which he placed inside his cart with a big smile. Though the help can only last for a short time, his big smile is an enough gratefulness for us to know that what we are doing is right. The rice relief pack became a source of hope and joy to Lolo Felimon.
The perseverance and optimism of Lolo Felimon were a blessing to the disaster response team. Help us reach more Lolo Felimons in the country. Visit www.obphil.com or send us a PM on Facebook. Thank you very much for all your help!