by Arturo Tahup

I arrived in Sulu-an Island last Monday and stayed there for four and half days with Glinly, Jessie and Jason, my colleagues from RE-Charge Philippines, to carry out Household Survey in preparation for the Solar Home System Project funded by Christian Aid

Sulu-an, home of the mystical giant Maka-andog and the farthest island in Guiuan where Yolanda first made landfall almost three years ago, always takes my breath away.

Its serenity is an amazing thing to behold. More precious than the gems coveted and covered in platinum or gold. Beautiful white sand beaches on the western front. Breathtaking cliffs and rock formations on the eastern side facing the Pacific. Maka-andog’s giant fossilized footstep in enchanted Pamlaran beach. Five hundred steps stairway leading to the damaged lighthouse. Pambuan Cave’s open terrace etched by strong winds. Sulu-an’s white church. Bountiful ocean harvest. Friendly, hospitable Sulu-anon fisherfolk who drink Tanduay Rhum 65 after returning from a day’s work.

Though Morong remains my home and my work is in Tacloban, there is an invisible umbilical cord linking me to Sulu-an and Sulu-anons since I visited the island more than a year ago – when our RE-Charge Team installed 23 solar street lights to brighten 16 community tap stands, the Plaza Stage, the Barangay Health Center and part of the compound of the Sulu-an Integrated School, directly benefitting 354 households in the island; when like pirates of the Caribbean we listened to the story of the giant Maka-andog told by our fisherfolk friends over bottles of rhum under a new moon.

We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.

Sulu-an is always on my mind.