Earlier this month, my wish to return to Mindanao came true. I was given the chance to visit three towns that bore the brunt of typhoon Pablo’s wrath in 2012.
As someone who has spent her whole life living in a city, I marveled at the beauty of Davao Oriental’s enchanting mountains and photogenic shores. How remarkable it is that I am looking at the Pacific Ocean while in one of the most fascinating places in the country!
Dahican beach in Mati, Davao Oriental
But the ocean’s strong waves reminded me also of the threats faced by the province. What was once a region known for its predictable weather has now been battered by strong typhoons, killing hundreds of hapless residents. “Pablo jolted us to the reality of climate change!” said one of the local environmental planners we interviewed.
A fellow reporter and I went to Davao to get interviews and data for INQUIRER.net’s special report on climate change. During our visit, we learned about how local governments implemented disaster risk reduction plans and how residents were trying to recover.
It has been almost three years since the towns of Banganga, Cateel and Boston were devastated by typhoon Pablo but the effects of the typhoon will probably be felt for a long time. Imagine majority of coconut trees being wiped out in less than 24 hours, instantly stripping rural communities of livelihood and source of food.
The memorial features a father protecting his family from a tree trunk about to fall
Memorial for Pablo victims in Cateel, Davao Oriental
A reminder for residents of Davao Oriental.
We still have a lot of work to do and the results of our investigation will hopefully be published in the coming months but the visit has also given me insights on issues not covered by our report.