Small Changes, BIG Differences: Our Typhoon Odette Response

On December 16, 2021, Super Typhoon Odette entered the Philippines. It was the 15th storm to hit the country in 2021 – and the strongest of all. With torrential rainfalls, violent winds, floods, and storm surges, Odette left a trail of utter destruction. Countless Filipinos were in dire need of help. Here is our typhoon Odette response.

What Does Water Mean To You?

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For many, water is commonplace. We open a tap and it runs freely. We can walk to any store and buy some if needed. It’s easy to forget that some people don’t have this luxury. 

And that’s just what water can become sometimes: a luxury. Water plays a big role in every aspect of our lives, health, environment, and culture. It is a prerequisite for all development, and having access to it is recognized as a human right. Clearly, water is more valuable than just its selling point price.

The arrival of Typhoon Odette destroyed water systems, power infrastructure, and tens of thousands of homes in the Philippines. Twelve out of the 18 towns and one city in Southern Leyte ended up with contaminated water supplies; the bacteria levels were so high that it was unsafe to drink. 

One of the affected places was San Juan. This is the town that our team member, Anton Niño Raquel, decided to help through an amazingly heartwarming impact project. 

“In 2013 we were also impacted by a super typhoon. The people of San Juan helped us, providing food, clothing, and donations. More than eight years later, it happened to them. I felt the need to give back, especially after the charity work I did after typhoon Haiyan. It was a life-changing event for me.” – Anton Niño Raquel

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How Our Boldranians Took Action

3,000 households and 4,500 families in the San Juan Municipality were struggling due to a lack of drinking water. Anton organized and led a Typhoon response project with the help of Mia Nicole Menez, Ninna Tansingco, Marlon Avendano, Jenico Anfone, Ragile Anfone, Justin Allan Pueblo, MJ Gadin, Kevin Enerez, Klyde Almero, Albert Loui John Alejandro and Gary Obillo.

The project’s planning spanned for about two months, in which our Boldranians gathered information, assessed the damages, and determined the needs to address. In the months leading to the implementation of Project Odette Response, the Local Government Unit (LGU) and Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) of San Juan supported our team by providing data on household units and water sources in the area. On the day itself, they also endorsed by providing manpower and helping out with the logistics involved.

Through this project, the families in San Juan received 500 5-gallon jugs of purified drinking water, 250 food packs, and 79 water filters from Waves for Water:

  • The  500 jugs of drinking water are presumed to last for one week, and the recipients can use the containers for many more years to come.
  • Aboitiz Foundation donated 25 food packs, 107 water bottles (6.6 liters), 15 boxes of meatloaf, and six boxes of sardines. The goods presented by Aboitiz Foundation were packed by the Eucharistic Ministers of the Our Lady of Fatima Parish and added 2 kilos of rice per pack. The food packs distributed are projected to cover 2-3 days worth of meals for families. 
  • The best part: the 79 water filters are expected to provide potable drinking water for the entire municipality for at least 5 years! 

Why Does Giving A Helping Hand Matter?

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We are proud to call Anton Niño Raquel, Mia Nicole Menez, Ninna Tansingco, Marlon Avendano, Jenico Anfone, Ragile Anfone, Justin Allan Pueblo, MJ Gadin, Kevin Enerez, Klyde Almero, Albert Loui John Alejandro and Gary Obillo Boldranians. None of this would have been possible without the enthusiasm and effort they put into this project. We asked them why helping others was so important for them. This is what they had to say:

“Helping simply gives hope. The people you help, hopefully, realize that the situation they’re in now is not the end of the journey. And through the help given, they can see tomorrow in a better light. I think helping is also magical; whether it’s intentional or not, humans tend to pay it forward to other humans in need. Imagine if we were to give more of it.” – Mia Nicole Menez

“Helping typhoon devastated areas is very important because they have a limited number of resources: limited food, water, money, and other essential commodities. The number of goods that we have donated will hopefully aid in the next few days or weeks. Helping them will boost their morale and perspective in life because other people care for them. This will also give them hope that more help is coming”. – Marlon Avendaño

“’ One small step for man is a giant leap for mankind.’ – I believe that beyond the self-fulfillment of helping others, we help other people to inspire others to do the same. What is humanity for if we choose not to care for others in need?– Ninna Tansingco

Helping others is what gives our work and lives purpose. At Boldr we are grateful for the opportunity to give back. We will continue to support our communities wherever and whenever we can. There is so much more is in store from our team members, and our dedicated Impact Team, exciting new projects, big and small, are sure to continue!

And to the people of San Juan, we toast in your honor to your resilience, grit, and fortitude.

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