Pagbangon. A combination of scrambled letters that sequels to a Filipino word most of us have known since our childhood. A nine-letter word we’ve encountered, especially as Filipinos, specifically, as Negrenses and often goes together with bayanihan.
Imagine being at the comfort of your home, preparing for the next day of class – with your heart filled with enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. Imagine preparing your kasuotang Pinoy, and anticipating the annual Buwan ng Wika salo-salo in school, only to be embraced by the unforeseen Typhoon Goring where Bacolod City was placed under State of Calamity and led to the suspension of classes and offices last August 30, 2023. Scared, distressed, and the constant fear of the dark and what’s beyond – these were exactly how our kapwa Negrense felt as Typhoon Goring lashed out the smiles from our city, Bacolod. The unbearable fear they felt within themselves as they had to transfer to the nearest evacuation center due to the bustling and loud thunder and the flood that streamed faster than a river.
But despite this unforeseen catastrophic occurrence, these victims never failed to bring their smiles with them. As we visited Punta Balas, Pahanocoy, one of our adopted communities in school – we were welcomed by their warm smiles, hospitality and genuine gratefulness, especially Nanay Linda, who had shown her utmost appreciation from the moment we arrived, to the exact time we left. Nanay Linda, shared with us little fragments of memories she had during the storm, together with lifelong lessons I carry up until today. Through this, we got to reminisce how Bacolodnons had always remained resilient and how we’ve fought through the strongest storms with a smile on our faces, during all these years of uncertainty.
Through Project Pagbangon, and our combined hardwork and love for service, the utmost support and generosity of donors, not only were we able to turn over 30 packs of goods but we were also able to stand as pillars of love, service and hope during the stormy days caused by the aftermath of Typhoon Goring.
This bittersweet storm, bridged us to learn and relearn in the process, and just like the rotary year’s theme, it created hope and reminded us that we, always have the capability to transcend and beam light to our kapwa Filipinos – and that there is always a brighter and sunnier day beyond us, that’s yet to shine and make way.