Monday, Apr 19

A community’s love made known to a struggling Ormoc

December 23, 2017 | Jonas Trinidad

A Tzu Chi volunteer lets her love be known to one of over 100 recipients of plastic toilet bowls. Such a simple implement for the comfort room goes a long way in providing families proper hygiene. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

Story Highlights

  • As more than 100 recipients receive their toilet bowls from Tzu Chi, they’re urged to share their love with the beleaguered people of Ormoc in the wake of Tropical Storm Urduja (Kai-Tak). Moved by the struggles of the Ormocanons, the recipients share their blessings and love through donating.


As affected residents and Tzu Chi volunteers toil amidst the muck of Ormoc post-Urduja (Kai-Tak), the rest of the Tzu Chi family left in Manila are urged to help them in their time of need.

During the distribution of toilet bowls to over 100 recipients on December 23, Tzu Chi volunteers report on the status of Leyte and Biliran after Tropical Storm Urduja. On December 16, the storm made landfall in Samar and traversed the Visayas islands, dumping months’ worth of rainfall. Flash flood and landslides rendered vital roads impassable to vehicles.

In Ormoc, Tzu Chi Great Love City wasn’t spared the flooding as the nearby creek overflowed and inundated the 50-hectare village. The prefabricated shelters, despite being temporary structures, held fast against the muddy water. However, tons of belongings are covered in mud as much as a meter thick. The residents, most being survivors of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) four years ago, are disaster victims once again.

The Great Love response has been swift, as it has always been. As the distribution in Tzu Chi’s Marikina Educational Recycling Center is underway, so is the cleanup drive in Ormoc.

But even if Manila and Ormoc are far apart, the recipients are urged to sow seeds of goodness.

“How can we end disasters? As we know, one way is with love. Accumulated goodness will protect us from disaster. So even if we’re struggling with our lives right now, at least we’re safe,” Tzu Chi volunteer Chieh Fang Uy addresses the crowd.

“That’s why we should be grateful. Master Cheng Yen always tells us to be thankful and contented with what we have. After being thankful, we should think how we can help others. It doesn’t matter if our help is big or small. The important thing is that there’s goodness from the heart,” Uy adds.

Moved by the images of a struggling Ormoc, the recipients took it upon themselves to share their blessings. They pooled what cash they could spare for the sake of the Ormocanons. For most, they knew what it was like to wade through inches of mud, to save anything from their inundated homesteads.

“I recall what I went through after Ondoy (Ketsana). It’s hard being a victim of a disaster. We experienced flooding and losing our belongings. It’s hard to lose everything,” says Rhea San Jose, a recipient from San Mateo.

“I realized that I’m very fortunate. At least we manage to devote our precious time to things that matter. We’re lucky to not have such a strong storm hit us now,” says Ma. Blanca Mariñas, also from San Mateo.


Call of duty

Tzu Chi volunteers Hermena Dagooc and Teresita Basilio, also recipients of toilet bowls, weren’t called to join the Ormoc mission. But they would without hesitation when given the chance.

Wading through the muddy streets of the Great Love City is a small price to pay for the blessings they’ve received over the years. Basilio, a mother of eight, recalls how Tzu Chi paid for her mother’s CT scan years ago. Eventually, her mother succumbed to breast cancer, but Basilio thanked Tzu Chi for giving her a fighting chance.

“Although my mother has long passed away, I’m still thankful to Master [Cheng Yen]. If not for them, I wouldn’t know where to get the money for my mother’s CT scan,” Basilio narrates.

When Tzu Chi came to her home in Barangay Malanday, Marikina in the wake of Ondoy, she was skeptical at first. Over time, however, she saw the sincerity of the foundation. She has devoted her time to recycling ever since, but she continues to receive blessings from Tzu Chi like the toilet bowl. Now, her home will have two working comfort rooms and less waiting.

Dagooc also continues to receive blessings from Tzu Chi despite becoming a recycling volunteer. Recycling is the least she can do to pay forward the kindness gracing her life. In fact, since joining, she has always felt an urge to help others when the time comes.

“Ever since I joined Tzu Chi, I always feel the need to help others, the need to keep them safe. That’s why we should share whatever we can share with the needy. Don’t wait for anything in return, because it’s better to help others than being helped,” says Dagooc, a volunteer from San Mateo.

As her message to the Ormocanons, Dagooc advises them to give thanks for surviving another calamity and to never think twice about helping others. Goodness always reciprocates one way or another.

  • Recipients queue for the pre-program registration. The recipients hail from San Mateo, Rizal and Marikina.【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • A recipient gets his claim stub for the toilet bowl.【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Images of the aftermath of Tropical Storm Urduja (Kai-Tak) flash for everyone to see. As the distribution in Marikina is underway, so is Tzu Chi’s mission to provide relief to the storm-battered provinces.【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Despite its simple design, the plastic toilet bowls are more durable. Many recipients have broken porcelain toilets, their edges posing a safety risk to any user. Plastic, on the other hand, is flexible enough to accommodate heavy weight.【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Tzu Chi volunteer and toilet bowl recipient Teresita Basilio prays with the rest of the crowd. After hearing about the plight of the Ormocanons, she prays for their safety.【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Tzu Chi initiates a donation drive to support the relief mission in post-Urduja Ormoc. Grateful for the foundation’s continued support, the recipients pay forward in kind.【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Fresh toilet bowls are unpacked for distribution. The bowls are donations from major plastic brand Orocan, a staunch supporter of Tzu Chi’s humanitarian works.【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The first batch of recipients pay their respects for the blessings before receiving them.【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Like a child opening her gift on Christmas Day, Tzu Chi volunteer Hermena Dagooc checks out her blue toilet bowl.【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】


  • 20180115 Toilet bowl distribution for San Mateo & Marikina residents

  • LAST UPDATED: October 26, 2018 11:10 AM