CEBU CITY, Philippines – In her more than three decades growing up and living in Tuburan town, northwestern Cebu, never has Robelyn Cebuano witnessed floods as worse as those that hit them last December 2, 2020.
Robelyn, a 35-year-old barangay health worker, lost her home in Purok Romahan, Barangay 8 (Otso) when a tree trunk hit it and toppled the whole house, which was made of light materials such as wood.
The trunk was part of the debris brought about by the floodwaters that inundated at least 20 of the 54 villages in Tuburan last December 2 – considered as the locality’s ‘worst floods in the past 40 years’.
“Wa mi mag dahom nga ma ing-ani nga wala mi madala nga butang. Dili lalim, gihagoan baya na namo tanan unya sa usa ka pagpamilok, wa na,” said Robelyn, a mother of five.
(We didn’t expect that this would happen, that we wouldn’t be able to keep anything. It’s not easy, we worked hard for everything and in one blink of an eye, we lost it all.)
There were ten individuals residing in Cebuanos’ home.
Robelyn said they started packing up things when they saw floodwaters surrounding their house rise on the morning of December 2, 2020.
“Naa ko sa sud (sa balay) kay akong pamilya giuna naman ug bakwit dinhe sa CTU. Among gamit naa pas balay so ako sang gihuwat akong bana mubalik para magkuha sa gamit,” said Robelyn.
(I was inside the house because I evacuated first my family to CTU. Our things were still in the house so I waited for my husband to come back to get the things.)
“Pero pagbalik niya, nidako naman ang tubig… Wala nalang namo gibitbit ang gamit ug ilisan sa mga bata namo. Kung among paningkamoton ug kuha kay lagi importante man, mas importante siguro among kinabuhi kay kanang tanan butang makita pa na,” she added.
(But when he got back, the water rose… We decided not to take our things and clothes of our kids. If we tried to get our things which we knew were important, we thought what was more important were our lives because all of those things can still be replaced.)
After the incident, the Cebuanos stayed on the second floor of the barangay hall of Poblacion, until they can rebuild their house soon.
Nevertheless, Robelyn said she was grateful everyone in their family was safe from harm.
“Mag Pasko na. Wala man siguroy malipay ani. Pero, malipay mi nga Pasko, bisag sakit, kay kumpleto mi,” she said.
(It’s going to be Christmas. Nobody would be happy about this but we should be happy that it’s Christmas and, even though it’s painful, we’re still complete.)
In the meantime, Robelyn said she and her family are looking forward to whatever help they will receive, including building materials, as they try to get back on their feet.
“Kung naa pay ihatag sa amoa nga mas kinahanglan, dakong salamat namo… maningkamot sad mi makabalik mi sa among panginabuhian,” said Robelyn.
(If we can receive things we can use, we will be grateful…We will really try to get back on our feet.)
The local government of Tuburan has assured victims of the floodings there, including the Cebuanos, that they will provide assistance to them. The Cebu Provincial Government had also pledged to extend more aid.