Leyte, a province East of the Visayas region in the Philippines has been severely battered by a very strong typhoon Yolanda last year. The location of the province is apparently unlucky to receive such kinds of storms from Mother Nature.. but I came to visit anyway and was surprised when foreigners were roaming around Ormoc.. guess they are international volunteers taking a break from their activities.
I was kinda surprised too that German volunteers, who are professional architect and engineers, lived in very remote areas of the province just to help locals build a sustainable house that can withstand typhoons and earthquakes.. and these houses are not that expensive because materials are made from readily made bamboos or coconuts who have fallen after the storm. The sustainable house needs to be proven by having another super storm or earthquake though, but I hope it wont happen!
While I travel around, my Filipino companion, a returned international VSO volunteer, was also telling me that Vanuatu, an island nation in the Pacific, is always stricken by typhoons too, but their houses are designed to withstand these.. just like the houses in Batanes..
It was also nice that mangroves were plenty in coastal areas.. these mangrove trees reduces erosion and protect the coasts from storm winds and floods, as well as tsunamis.. we rode this boat when we visited a very remote area in Palompon.. and mangroves were plenty..
It was also great that people are using solar powered lights… they don’t need to be burdened by electricity bills.
And people are farming! If you have a fish farm, you don’t have to buy fish… If you have an organic farm, you don’t have to worry about veggies! Even if you don’t have land, a rooftop can serve as one. I see free range chickens too..
People are living a self sufficient lifestyle in the places that I’ve visited.. because monetary funds and other donations might not be readily available, and it is better to stay alive without it rather than always appear needy and be dependent on aid.
In fact, people are selling food and shell accessories as a self sustainable livelihood project.. Donation is great, but supporting these people by buying their products is better because you are helping them stand on their own. Who wants to buy shell lanterns and other accessories?
For the curious and would like to know how people are living in that area, homestays are available.. let me know if you want to visit or volunteer and learn how people are having a self sufficient lifestyle.
My life quote for this journey: “Some people are so poor, all they have is money”