By Valentine Temple
Marabut, is a town in Eastern Samar located near San Juanico bridge, home to several fisherfolks, farmers and known for the caves that is used by women mat weavers.
It was sunny when I arrived and whenever I look I saw smiling faces and people offering their fresh catch from the sea. This town was heavily devastated five years ago by the super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). I interviewed some people to know better their experiences and how they are moving forward as a community.
We were greeted by Azucana B.Bagunas, a jovial 45 years old lady. She’s involved with the Barangay Health Center and also works with keeping tabs on the household census. Her work plays a vital role in the aftermath work of NGOs in their area.
She is also the head of the women’s organization named Unhan Kababayen-an Tinabanan. They are involved in the program of disaster risk reduction in their area and backed up by the National Rural Women Coalition (PKKK). This association is also promoting gender equality and women empowerment.
She has 6 children and their house got destroyed by the typhoon but luckily for them, they were able to evacuate in their house of her mother.
She got back her life and build a new house but the change in environment became more drastic after that disaster. “When it rains, our place got easily flooded because of the increasing illegal logging activities and the kaingin process of other farmers wherein they burn a part of the mountain for charcoal making,” she said. But she cannot blame the farmers because it is their means to send their children to school.
Another thing that she noticed is the growing waste problem of the community. But on their own small way they teach people on segregation and proper waste disposal.
Modesto Ariaso (fisherman) and Villamor Butuan (farmer)
I also got to meet a fisherman Modesto Ariaso and a farmer Villamor Butuan.
Modesto is 56 years old and lives in Marabut with his wife and five children. His house was located near the sea and it got washed away during Yolanda. He noticed the drastic change in the climate since then.” The winds and rains got more stronger and I had a hard time fishing nowadays because I only use paddles and in addition to that I got injured due to a bad fall,” he said.
On the other hand, Villamor a 60 years old farmer who lives in the mountains have no escape on the wrath of Yolanda. They got hit by the flashflood but they survived by seeking refuge in a concrete nearby.
The people of Marabut noticed, through their observations of nature, the effects in their everyday lives. Longer and more frequent rainfalls prevent farmers to work and ruin the crops. “For two sunny days during rainy season we now have 1 week of rain” said by Villiermor.
I think that its good the people in Marabut have their own ways to deduct the changes in their environment but it will be better if there is a scientific study on these changes and effect that will be beneficial for the town.
The last but not the least I want to share about Aimee Bacunas an 18-year-old woman who is part of a youth organization in Marabut.
“Our organization aims at giving a voice to the young people of the community. We organize activities such as Flores de Mayo and conduct religious activities to children.” Aimee said.
Now Aimee tries to help her generation with her organization by conducting seminars, field works and meetings. They work with a girls’ advocacy alliance and attend solar scholars’ trainings.
She strongly believes that climate change will have an impact on their generations. Aimee notice that the river changed its colour into brown-yellowish unlike before it is different. . Typhoons are more frequent, and the storm track changed from a path from the western Pacific would hit Samar, then bicol and go up north to Batanes to a path in the middle of Visayas (like Yolanda typhoon) or passes through Mindanao (like Pablo typhoon).
For her having a climate consciousness among young people is essential since this next generation will have to live and create new perspectives to adapt it.