Blog 2017-05-05T09:39:34+00:00

Habitat Philippines Blog Page

Want to share and spread the news of Habitat for Humanity Philippines’ work or be up to date with the latest information and developments? Whether it be a new housing turnover or project underway, you can learn all about it here.

Of Hope and New Beginnings

It’s nine a.m. in the Fabiano residence; clothes are left drying outside, the washing machine rumbles faintly, and a cool gentle breeze surrounds the small area. 50-year-old Ate Rosalinda turns off the television and welcomes us, students yet strangers, inside her humble home. As we remove our shoes, we are welcomed by three-year-old Angela, who giggles behind her mother’s back, and two-year-old Mikhael, who gazes at us suspiciously hiding himself with a toy gun larger than his face.

All is well, as it should be; and today, we observe the simple and ordinary life of the Fabiano family. It’s a normal family situation, but behind the curious smiles, and the plethora of Hello Kitty trinkets found in all corners of the room, is a story of struggle and hope for the Fabianos.

I curiously look around the living space and the first thing I notice is a piece of yellow paper containing the family’s “house rules.” Written are generic house rules like ‘be responsible,’ ‘no screaming,’ and ‘no smoking.’ Ironically, a pack of cigarettes is beside the note to which Ate Rosalinda says, “Yung anak ko ‘yung nagsulat niyan. Nasa Manila siya.

The stay-at-home grandmother, along with her husband who, according to her, drinks often, has four kids—three of them work in construction while the youngest studies somewhere in Manila. I didn’t get to take note of exactly where the youngest studies as I was distracted by Ate Rosalinda’s grandchild, Mikhael, who eagerly starts shooting his toy gun at our direction.

After a series of awkward and stagnant topics regarding what her family is like or what they do, forced input about the weather, and awkward silences occasionally killed by the hyperactive and no-longer-shy grandchildren, we raise a question that leads to a sharing of the family’s personal struggle.

We ask, “Paano po ‘yung buhay niyo bago kayo lumipat dito?

Ate Rosalinda replies, “Walang kabuhayan [sa Silangan] tapos ‘yung asawa ko, walang trabaho, at ‘yung mga anak ko, pa extra-extra lang doon at nag-aaral pa ‘yung dalawa dati.”

During the conversation, she brings up the Ondoy tragedy which left parts of Manila in a state of calamity in 2009. “Madami rin kami nawala sa Ondoy eh,” she shares. “Wala kaming natirang gamit … nung inabot na kami ng Ondoy, nabaha. Kumuha na kami ng bahay dito kasi ‘di kami mapakali doon eh. Pagdating ng ulan, ‘di kami makatulog.”

After having their belongings wiped away and leaving their family with nothing, they found shelter in public schools and barangay halls. With the support of the government, Ate Rosalinda and her family was able to have a fresh start.

“Dito, kahit umulan, hindi na kami kinakabahan. Panatag na ‘yung kalooban namin dito,” she shares with a tone of gratitude.

In having a stable home, the Fabiano family need not worry again about their belongings being wiped away by floods. They can now sleep in comfort knowing they have a roof to protect their family’s heads as they sleep soundly.

With Ate Rosalinda’s stories and countless insights accompanies by noises from rowdy grandkids, we lose track of time and suddenly realize it is already time to leave. It’s 11 a.m., the household is surrounded by the aroma of the adobo that Ate Rosalinda has been heating, the rice cooker alarm goes off, and Mikhael and Angela’s mother tries to get a hold of them to prepare them for a bath.

It’s just a normal day and all is well as it should be in the Fabiano residence.

Photo and story by Eia Collantes// Benildean Press Corps
Eia is a Habitat for Humanity Young Leaders Build volunteer from the College of St Benilde.

Picking Up the Pieces

The sun shines brightly overhead as we walk to our assigned house. As we get near our destination, I take a moment to survey the neighborhood of Bistekville 1, taking in the plethora of colorful yet tightly-packed townhouses. The Ate accompanying us points to our stop, revealing a slightly frazzled-looking Norma Kamatoy who welcomes us to her home.

‘Small’ is the first word that comes to mind as she ushers us past the threshold of her home. Taking the offered seat, I look around the room curiously. In the corner of the living room hangs a clothesline with clothing set out to dry. To my left, their old television surrounded by piles of memorabilia fill the silence with the sound of this morning’s basketball game. My eyes wander to a rather narrow hallway leading towards the inner parts of their home, registering the simple kitchenette there as well.

Short introductions are made before we move into the actual interview. Ate Norma comes off as timid, if not awkward, at our initial exchange. Not that we could blame her, after all, who were we but strangers borrowing a moment of her time? She starts with a gentle apology at the state of her home, “Magulo ang bahay, ‘daming inaayos.” We are quick to reassure her that it was indeed no problem. Though admittedly it was a bit distracting talking to her when, less than five feet away, a man lay asleep on a mattress. She had just gotten home from her 10pm-to-7am shift as a caregiver, admitting she forgot she was expecting guests.

The Kamatoy family had only just settled into their current home, a result of rough transition brought about by Typhoon Ondoy in 2009. She recalls her decision to move here to Bistekville 1, “Napilitan lumipat eh.”

In the wake of one the of the worst natural disasters to hit the country, Ate Norma and her family found themselves part of the hundred thousands of Filipinos struggling to stay afloat in its aftermath. It only took one calamity and all their belongings were gone; trapped for days atop a tree seeking refuge from the flood that hit the greater metro.

A large part of Ate Norma’s daily struggles stem from a lack of financial stability. It’s not as easy as it was before, she claims; explaining that her old sari-sari store/pa-loadan wouldn’t be ideal in a village like this. She just can’t afford the risk of lugi, especially not now when money is as tight as it was. Instead, she makes ends meet working as a ‘stay-out’, where she would do odd jobs such as housekeeping and laundering for whoever would take her. It was her acceptance into an agency for caretakers that really seemed to turn the tides of their luck.

During the interview, Ate Norma attends to her grandson,  nicknamed Macho by the family. She shares that Macho became the panganay in their little family when her eldest son passed away long before their relocation. Macho’s father, Jhon (the man sprawled out on the mattress from a long shift at work) is the other breadwinner of the household. Because of their situation, Jhon opted to drop out of college and instead help Ate Norma with the household expenses.

Mae Anne is the youngest of  Ate Norma’s children, and her mother is determined to get at least one of her children through to college. Worry and frustration is evident as she thinks of the increasingly expensive school fees for the next year. “’Di naman pwede [na] ‘di bilhan ng libro,” Ate Norma states, wearily.

The progressively somber air was suddenly cut by a loud cheer. My attention momentarily shifts to Mae Anne, who watches gleefully as a player on the screen shoots yet another basket for his team.

Our interview seems to take a lighter route after that. Despite the tiresome nature of life, Ate Norma shares the simple joys of the townspeople, even if it’s just for a time: from something as small as touching a passing celebrity’s hand as they settle in the area, to more intimate moments such as past birthday celebrations spent in the solemn beauty of a church. These are the small moments that make hardship all the more bearable for people like them.

Our interview comes to an end I see the true power of a mother’s love in Ate Norma’s soft smile as she cradles Macho. In the tragedy of 2009, Ate Norma found herself scrambling to pick up the pieces of their lives. Now, years later, she continues to move forward, armed with enough hope and drive to create a better future for her and her family.

Story by Agatha Ramos / Photo by Mac Ypon / Benildean Press Corps
Agatha and Kyle are Habitat for Humanity Young Leaders Build volunteers from the College of St Benilde.

Tanza Relocation Site

Bgy. Tanza, Navotas City National Capital Region

RATIONALE AND BRIEF BACKGROUND:

The massive destruction of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) last November 2013 brought Habitat for Humanity Philippines and
various local government units, private corporations, organizations and individuals together to help rebuild the lives of families affected by the disaster.

Barangay Sulangan in the town of Bantayan in Bantayan Island, northern Cebu was identified by Habitat for Humanity as one of the relocation sites for survivors of Yolanda.

Rebuild Philippines: Yola...

Barangay Sulangan Municipality of Bantayan, Cebu

RATIONALE AND BRIEF BACKGROUND:

The massive destruction of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) last November 2013 brought Habitat for Humanity Philippines and
various local government units, private corporations, organizations and indivuduals together to help rebuild the lives of families affected by the disaster.

Barangay Sulangan in the town of Bantayan in Bantayan Island, northern Cebu was identified by Habitat for Humanity as one of the relocation sites for survivors of Yolanda.

Stonewell

Zone 1 and Zone 2 Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro

BACKGROUND:

The Philippines has a housing backlog of around 5 million. This number does not take into account families affected by both natural and man- made calamities which strike the Philippines every year. Therefore, millions of Filipinos lack access to permanent and decent housing and if there is no intervention to this national issue, the number of houses required is estimated to reach 6.5 million by 2030.

Some of these families have the means to acquire a simple, decent home. In Barangay San Pedro in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, families particularly comprised of public and factory employees fall into this category. However, there are not enough homes offered in the market that fits their financial capacity. Therefore, many families are forced to rent a place that they must share with other families.

Habitat for Humanity Philippines aims to break this generational cycle through developing communities such as Stonewell in Bgy. San Pedro, Batangas. Through this project, Habitat is partnering with all sectors to address these underserved families.

Pasig 2

Molave St., Sitio Nagpayong Bgy. Pinagbuhatan, Pasig CityNational

RATIONALE AND BRIEF BACKGROUND:

Thousands of informal settler families live in houses made of light materials along Metro Manila’s waterways, particularly the Pasig River. These make shift houses easily deteriorate and offer little or no protection, as areas on or near waterways are easily prone to flooding when rain and storms affect the city.

Habitat’s Pasig 2 site is intended to provide safe and secure homes that will provide sustainable protection for families living in these areas, or in other dangerous areas of the city.

Pasig 1

Bgy. Pinagbuhatan, Pasig City National Capital Region

RATIONALE AND BRIEF BACKGROUND:

Thousands of informal settler families live in houses made of light materials along Metro Manila’s waterways, particularly the Pasig River. These make shift houses easily deteriorate and offer little or no protection, as areas on or near waterways are easily prone to flooding when rain and storms affect the city.

Habitat’s Pasig 1 site is intended to provide safe and secure homes that will provide sustainable protection for families living in these areas, or in other dangerous areas of the city.

Karismaville

Bgy. Panghulo, Malabon City National Capital Region

RATIONALE AND BRIEF BACKGROUND:

In early 2000, the Philippine National Railway opted to renovate railways located in Malabon City. Thousands of families at the time lived beside those affected train tracks, in makeshift houses made of ply board as walls and corrugated iron as roofs.

Habitat’s Karismaville site is intended to provide decent homes for those affected by the railway renovation, by relocating them to an unaffected, safe area in Barangay Panghulo.

Rebuild Bohol

Vargas Lane, Bgy. Culiat, Quezon City National Capital Region

RATIONALE AND BRIEF BACKGROUND:

The Rebuild Bohol project aims to assist families in areas affected by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that rocked the province in October 2013. Habitat for Humanity Philippines is partnering with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), local government units in the province, relief and recovery agencies, and corporate donors to rebuild 8,083 earthquake-resilient homes across 17 of the hardest-hit towns in Bohol.

Habitat Philippines has identified the following towns as priority areas: Buenavista, Inabanga, Clarin, Tubigon, Sagbayan, Carmen, Danao, Calape, Loon, Balilihan, Antequera, Catigbian, San Isidro, Corella, Cortes and Maribojoc.

 

Bistekville 4

Vargas Lane, Bgy. Culiat, Quezon City National Capital Region

RATIONALE AND BRIEF BACKGROUND:

Housing the largest number of informal settlers in the country, Quezon City* has more than 200,000 families** living in areas considered danger zones – 80% of which are informal settlers. Many of those families live in patched-up houses made of salvaged materials they find in dump sites.

Habitat’s Bistekville 4 site is intended to provide homes for those families currently living in the area as informal settlers, and other areas of the city including: under bridges, along waterways, on private or government land, and in doubled-up homes with other families.

* According to the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (2010)

**According to Quezon City, Urban Poor Affairs (2010)

 

Bistekville 1

Bgy. Payatas, Quezon City National Capital Region

RATIONALE AND BRIEF BACKGROUND:

Housing the largest number of informal settlers in the country, Quezon City has more than 200,000 families living in areas considered danger zones – 80% of which are informal settlers. Many of those families live in patched- up houses made of salvaged materials they find in dump sites.

Furthermore, only 35% of teachers in Quezon City have the luxury of having their own homes, with the remainder left to rent, squat or live in places far in distance from their work.

Habitat’s Bistekville 1 site is intended to provide homes for those teachers and their families, and families living along or in danger areas of the city, private or government land, and doubled- up homes with other families.

Bistekville 1 home partners pay a monthly amortiziation of P2,500, over a 25-30 year mortgage term through PAG-IBIG and Social Housing and Finance Corporation.

 

French Habitat Daanbantay...

Barangay Agujo Daanbantayan, Cebu

RATIONALE AND BRIEF BACKGROUND:

The “hypar” house design is intended to withstand up to 275kmh winds and Intensity VIII earthquakes.
The smooth-curved shape of the roof, and its concrete make-up deflects typhoon-speed winds; with the cement “bulb” footing reaching the depth of the hardest part of the earth, the houses also remain stiff against earthquakes.
Habitat’s Agujo relocation site is intended to provide safe, secure and sustainable homes for families whose houses were totally damaged by Typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda), especially those who were living along the shoreline.