Saturday, 8 February 2014

A Faith Community's Collective Journey after Typhoon Haiyan

    During the last quarter of the past year, the Philippines has been made more vulnerable by  disasters that hit the Visayas region. Majority of the provinces  affected by two consecutive calamities belong to the poorest of the poor provinces. In October 2013, the province of Bohol and several communities of Cebu were rocked by an intensity 7.2 earthquake which  devastated homes and centuries-old churches and infrastructures. On the first week of November, a category 5 typhoon, codenamed Yolanda/Haiyan hit provinces in the Eastern and Western Visayas, flattening the city of Tacloban and other municipalities of Leyte, pummeling communities in Samar and destroying homes and precious crops in the Panay peninsula.
  The typhoon severely damaged many homes in several communities of Antique.  The municipalities  of Tibiao, Barbasa, Laua-an, Bugasong, Sebaste, Pandan, Libertad and Caluya were severely affected. 

    Homes made of light materials were destroyed by the strong winds, soon to be harvested crops were uprooted and laid to waste. For so many days after the storm, communication lines were down and there was total black-out in these areas. The people subsisted on available root crops because there were no other food left. In their impoverished communities, where their livelihood centered on fishing, farming and growing food for consumption, finding  alternative livelihood after the devastation proved doubly difficult. Many establishments closed down for an indefinite period of time.

    It was during a sharing activity with faith community workers, in the last week of January 2014, where I learned more about the hope and determination of ordinary people living in the communities hit by the storm in Antique.

    Together with a group of volunteers in an activity sponsored by a church organization, I facilitated a psychosocial activity for faith community workers living in some  of the marginalized communities of Antique. A number of the participants to the activity lived  in a farming community  at the foot of Mt. Madia-as, the tallest mountain in the Panay peninsula. Some traveled on foot to reach the designated area where they could have respite and be able to share their personal narrative to the community. 

       They are faith community workers  who continued to reach out to other members of their community even while they themselves experienced fear and anxiety from the devastation they witnessed.  
(Photography of Amy Muga, 2014)

      One by one, they shared the stories they have carried in their hearts-stories of  collective pain and struggle, stories of their hopes and dreams. Each of them shared the stories which they are comfortable in sharing with their group. 

       One faith community worker shared that she did not expect that the storm shall surpass Typhoon Frank, which is the strongest to hit their community. Her family has prepared for it; they pruned the trees surrounding their home, stocked on wood to use in the event of electric power failure, covered their humble furniture with plastic and kept tuned in their local radio station for updates on the storm’s path. She steeled herself when the storm was ravaging their surrounding by praying and singing church hymns. 
    A church worker related that while she was still fearful for her family after the storm, she decided to continue reaching out to other members of her community. Two community elders  shared how their faith and the  presence of their family members provided them strength and resolve to survive the storm. 
(Photography of Amy Muga, 2014)
     The participants are ordinary individuals, already living in the peripheries of society, marginalized and rendered more vulnerable because of the disaster that wiped out homes and schools. Their faith community became their support system during those difficult times of recovering after Typhoon Yolanda.  It was a their caring community which provided them comfort during the difficult moments of fear and desperation after the storm.
   I joined them as a facilitator in these sharing sessions, highlighting segments in their stories  where they showed their resolve, their courage, their values and their hope. 
   I felt humbled by opportunity to be able to work with them, men and women whose faith and courage abounds, who continue to serve despite experiencing  tremendous pain and difficulties brought about by one particular storm to their community. 



Saturday, 1 February 2014


Dear Readers,

   It has been almost two years since I posted my very
first article on this website. I committed myself
to writing and sharing with you my reflections on my 
personal journey. I am thankful for the kind words that 
I receive from many of you for this website. 

   Of course, my special thanks to my soulmate and best
friend, Lex, who have accompanied me in my journey,
my two daughters who served as my inspiration in the 
work that I do and to my sister, Minx, who has encouraged
me to write more. 

    Maraming salamat po sa inyo. Thank you so much.

    On a different note, I found out that the links of on my website were compromised and 
inappropriate pictures were placed on these links. 
I have written Amazon about this and I am waiting for
their reply. I am sorry that such pictures were placed
on these web links.

Very truly yours,

Nay Amy Muga


February 13, 2013

Friends, I received this email reply from 

Amazon Associates:

Message From Customer Service
Hello Amy,

I'm sorry for any concern or frustration your Amazon links displaying pornographic 
images and connecting you to a pornographic site. I can assure you that links created 
in Associate Central and not having been altered in anyway would not link back to a 
pornographic site or images.

I'd encourage you to rebuild this link through Associates Central and make sure that
the coding on your page matches the coding generated there. Please note that in order 
for us to guarantee the widgets we offer work correctly, you will need to copy the code
exactly as it is given in Associates central.

We hope to see you again soon.

Best regards,
Jessica M.