On the night of December 16, 2021, a super typhoon with gusts up to 270 km/h and with maximum sustained winds of 195 km/h has shaken the faith of the people of the Visayas and Mindanao.

This typhoon lasted for five to nine hours but its effects lasted for more than month as immense numbers of public and private properties have been destroyed. From tall buildings to towering trees, Super Typhoon Rai (locally called Odette) left the entire region with shattered glasses, toppled posts, and even drought. Electricity, water, ATMs, signal, and internet were almost non-existent. The once vibrant ambiences of cities like Cebu all turned into grey

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much,” Lola Linda

“Abi kog kataposan na sa kalibotan (I thought it’s the end of the world),” recalls Lola Linda (name withheld), a 65 year-old woman in Barangay Cotcot, Liloan who was trapped inside her house capsized by heavy trees and debris. “Dili ra kay mga bug-at nga mga punuan, hasta sad baha naa (Not only that the trees were heavy but flood also ravaged the area)”, she nervously squeezes her hands in an interview with Nucleus, as the grim incident flashed before her eyes. It took hours before her relatives from the other block came to the rescue.

She was almost prepared of it all. She almost lost hope.

Odette did not only take the silver of livelihood, homes, and buildings, but also the fathers, mothers, children, and friends who have lost their lives. The

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much,” Lola Linda expressed her deep gratitude to our brothers as they aided her to a shade to let her talk her heart out. “Your presence is highly appreciated,” she said.

death toll in December last year rose to 407, as reported by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council(NDRRMC).

December 16 would not stand as a Christmas season but also a tragedy engraved to the hearts of its victims whom got crumbled of their strongest scaffoldings, as well as the bonding they could have had on Christmas Eve.

This prompted JCI-Cebu to reach out to communities, talk to them, and give them relief goods, drinkable water, water filters, solar lamps, clothing, and other mental and health services through the Oplan Kaagapay project chaired by Carrel Pantollano, the Senior Director for Community of JCI- Cebu.

Hope keeps getting a little brighter for the victims as the project successfully convened several private and public organizations, including donation drives from entrepreneur Slater Young, to work hand in hand in providing the victims the best possible care and services. Intermittent rain did not dampen the courageous and caring spirit of the members and partners of JCI-Cebu who participated in different waves of donations drives and fund-raising campaigns. Instead, the upheavals and the things they do to respond to them are the seeds that grow their sense of responsibility, camaraderie, and caring towards their community.

JCI-Cebu’s Oplan Kaagapay has helped many communities get back on their feet. The help may not be too big, but it is enough to bring in BIG waves of unity and coming together for one purpose – to serve humanity. The project proudly celebrates with its partners and stakeholders its BIG waves of accomplishments on December 2021 to February 2022:

₱458,633.00 funds raised
₱5,222,400.00 worth of water raised
19, 601 families served
14 Municipalities in Cebu Province reached
14 Brgys. in Cebu City reached
7 Brgys. in Lapu-Lapu City reached
5 Municipalities in Leyte reached
26 Private organizations partnered
1 Public organization partnered
14 JCI chapters partnered
3 Brgys. in Siargao reached

“Gikan sa akong kasingkasing, daghan kaayong salamat (From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much),” Lola Linda expressed her deep gratitude to our brothers as they aided her to a shade to let her talk her heart out. “Your presence is highly appreciated,” this time, she said it in English.

Every calamity always has two sides – a dreadful dead-end that will sprout loss and a test that will strengthen the bonds of people to rise up to erratic challenges of nature. This proves that Typhoon Odette is neither a curse nor a threat to cower upon, but an opportunity for us to be grateful, to be mindful, and to be reminded that we are all brothers and sisters living on the same beautiful household called Earth. It also serves as a reminder that we are given strong hearts to endure it all. After all, we have to be broken in order to be whole again.