Sunday, 26 January 2014

Lendwithcare in the Philippines | Stories from survivors of Typhoon Haiyan

Tracey Horner, Head of Lendwithcare, has spent the last 14 days visiting lendwithcare entrepreneurs in typhoon-affected areas of the Philippines. Below she retells the stories of just some of the entrepreneurs she met ...

Lendwithcare entrepreneur, Anecito Rivera, before Typhoon Haiyan
Two days ago I met a widow called Generosa Pantuan who has six boys aged between sixteen and thirty three, she also has five grandchildren.  Her business is selling ready to wear clothes. Her house was destroyed by the typhoon.  Her son reconstructed the shelter above her business with tin sheeting donated by an NGO, however it is was not enough to repair the house as well.  The typhoon destroyed all her stock of clothes, luckily she has been able to buy new stock on a sale or return basis.  The savings she had built up with FCCT helped her a little.

Generosa lives with one of her sons and his wife who fish and then cook and sell the fish. The fish she was cooking when we arrived is called Kitong and is one of the tastiest fish I have ever eaten. She insisted on giving me some, I pointed out that she needed it more than me but she was insistent and it would have offended her to refuse – we had the fish at dinner that night and it was delicious – this really sums up the Filipino spirit. The family fishing boat was partially destroyed by falling debris during the typhoon, they have mended part if it but don’t have the money to repair it properly, making fishing too dangerous in the boat right now.

Generosa at work before Typhoon Haiyan

Since the family house was destroyed they have converted a pig pen into a temporary shelter. I saw that there were many holes in the roof that had been patched with bits of plastic sheeting. They hope and wait for more relief.  Proper shelter is their biggest problem. They hear a rumour that they might get some galvanised iron sheeting but haven’t heard anything yet and are waiting patiently.  They did get some rice, sardines and noodles as relief supplies in the early days.

Next I met Anecito Rivera, he has four children, all boys aged between 11 – 17.  They all live here in one room house.  Anecito can only afford to send one child to school.  Although there is a government school with free tuition, you have to pay for books and uniforms and other extras which makes it unaffordable for lots of poor families.

Anecito is a fruit and vegetable vendor. He used to buy and sell in the local market but his entire stock was lost during the typhoon and he can’t afford to buy more.  Right now he is reliant on the income his wife brings in from her job at a drug store.

I had been asking everyone I met “tell me how Yolanda has affected you” and Anecito simply replied “Yolanda had a big impact on me – so badly affected I can’t explain.”  He has a small plot of land by his house where he plants crops and he had a mango tree which was bearing fruit. He told me that when he saw his mango tree was ruined by Yolanda he cried.

He has recently re-planted some crops of banana, sweet potato, and papaya. He hopes to harvest and sell these at the local market in the future.  The banana crops will take one and a half years to fruit but the others can be harvested in four months.

When I asked him how he felt about the future he said that he never loses hope and has optimism that he will be able to revive his businesses.  He will take out one of FCCT’s restoration loans soon to revitalise his business and do some repairs to his house.  Like the others he received some food aid and he also received some tarpaulin like material. 

For more updates from the Philippines stay tuned to the lendwithcare blog and our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Make a loan to a small business owner today and help them and their families find a sustainable route out of poverty -  


  1. Heartbreaking, what has happened to people in the Philippines, already struggling with poverty. But I wonder if you came across any news on Anecito Magbato, one of 'my' entrepreneurs, who has - or had - a vehicle repair shop in Guisijan, Laua-an, Antique province. His payments stopped a the time of the typhoon, and I would just like to know if he and his family are OK and if there is any way I can help them further. I just hope they all survived the typhoon.

  2. sorry to take so long to reply Kate, although I didn't manage to meet Anecito as bad weather prevented me from reaching the Island Anecito lives on, I did find out that he and his family are OK, although as with most people his business and home was affected

    1. That's wonderful news! I was really worried, and I must say rather thought the worst. I'm going to make a special donation to Care International ( I already gave to the Phillippines Typhoon Appeal via DEC). Keep up the fantastic work you are doing!

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