What you’ve seen are vivid images of disaster and tragedy. But behind these disturbing pictures of great catastrophe, you can see real pictures of compassion, dedication, commitment and love for one’s birthplace and for its people. These are our own images – our love, our commitment, our dedication and our compassion to help you, our dearest fellow Cateelenos and our dearest hometown of Cateel.
Typhoon Pablo was and by far the most tragic and most devastating tragedy ever to hit our town but somehow even at these lowest and most crucial points our lives; we’ve found solace and comfort from each other – helping one another, caring for one another – the real essence of oneness for we are CATEELENOS and we are for CATEELENOS.
The birth of Help Cateel Movement is a real manifestation that even at the toughest and most trying times of our lives; we can still be channels of help and instruments of change. Most of us, prime movers and volunteers of this group, are survivors of this calamity but still we go out of our way to help and care for our fellow survivors. This is because of this profound love even until now I can’t fathom. LOVE FOR CATEEL and LOVE FOR OUR DEAR FELLOW CATEELENOS.
In one year of going back and forth to Cateel, we have experienced things we know we will value for the rest of our lives. The value for life, the love for Mother Nature, the compassion for our fellowmen and immeasurable love for one’s homeland – things we have lived in this course of doing this noble cause.
Some of us were not home when Typhoon Pablo ravaged our town but even so we can feel their fears, we can feel their anguish when they fought for it. Some of us live in the big city so comfortable with our comfy beds but we know how hard it is to sleep roofless and wet. We can feel how traumatize they were that they fear for heavy rains, strong winds and roaring thunders. We can feel them. They are our people. We are their people. We are one. We are all sons and daughters of Cateel.
What we’ve gone through dealing the aftermath of Typhoon Pablo at the same time doing our share to HELP CATEEL are series of events that have shaped that person that we are today. It taught us many things. It made us even stronger and willed to do what we’ve started. It changed us in a way that made us so connected to home – to CATEEL.
This experience will forever live in our hearts and will forever be part of who we are.
We are indebted to thousands of kindhearted people in the world who helped us, cared for us and embraced us and our town. We are so grateful for all those who strive so hard to lessen our burdens and pacify the anguish of our hearts. We are so thankful for this great humanity who joined us in our greatest despair and help us reshape our lives, rebuild our homes and reconstruct our future.
A year has passed after Pablo ravaged our town and here we are standing still, dignified and proud – great proof that Filipinos are the most resilient people in the world. We are starting again, moving forward – with new hope, new beginning.
Cateel has been our home. It will forever be our home. We have been very proud of this rustic little town, even prouder despite the wreckage it is now suffering. For we are Cateeleños – bigger and stronger than Pablo.
Typhoon Pablo sealed another history in this town. It was a catastrophic event all of us will never ever forget. Pablo flattened our homes. Pablo molested our nature. Pablo assaulted our innocent children. But Pablo failed to destroy our spirit and our courage to survive. But even so, Pablo left us with one greatest lesson – that even in the greatest time of despair, there is love in this world. There are people who’ll care, people who’ll share, and people who’ll love us – even in our darkest days.
In my heart, along my friends at HelpCateel Movement, we believe that in the not so far future, this town, this home of ours will soon come back to her old shape again – more beautiful, even more progressive. And so together, we will rebuild and reshape a better Cateel.
I sincerely convey my deepest gratitude to all our HelpCateel Prime Movers and Volunteers because without these dedicated and kindhearted fellows, we cannot reach this far! To everyone, to every generous souls who helped us, SALAMATAY GAYUD KAMAYONG TANAN!
A Message of Hope by Olan Emboscado (The Travel Teller)
CATEEL: A Year After Pablo | A Commemoration and Celebration of Hope and New Beginning
Cateel, Davao Oriental