Sign IN >>
If each of us takes part in caring and sharing, the overwhelming challenge of poverty can be addressed. Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much.

TANAUAN: 1st Batch of Yolanda Survivors to Move Into Their New Homes

[Date Created: April 8, 2014]

by Gia Leanne Luga

On April 12, 2014, five months after the strongest and most destructive supertyphoon that the Philippines has faced in decades, the first batch of Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors is set to move into their new homes. The village was completed through the bayanihan of the National Housing Authority, the local government unit of Tanauan, Gawad Kalinga, and the future homeowners themselves.

Just 20 minutes away from Tacloban City, Tanauan is a small town that was devastated by Yolanda, leaving ~1,600 dead and ~300 missing. The traces of the supertyphoon are still very evident as you make the drive from Tacloban, but you will also see that the town, especially the build site in Brgy. Pago, is buzzing with a renewed sense of energy.

Rebuilding begins with the people

A few meters away from the 20 brand new units that now stand completed, is an office where the potential GK homeowners gathered on the morning of March 31, 2014. They were drawing lots to determine who will move in first, because the qualified families (based on sweat equity hours and community building sessions) exceeded 20. As each of them picked a piece of paper, I saw the anticipation, fear, and hope in their eyes. In a quiet corner of the room stood one of the community leaders, Bienvenido De Paz.

(Kung papano babangon at magsisimula muli, hanggang ngayon tinatanong pa rin namin, kasi mahirap talaga. Oo nasa isip namin, nasa salita ang pagbangon. Pero ang tanong, papano? Sa amin bang kapasidad kami aasa? Sa tulong ba ng iba? Sa awa ba? Subalit nagpapasalamat ako sa Panginoon kasi alam kong what He allows to be destroyed, He will also build. Umaasa nalang talaga kami sa Kanya.)

“Until now we ask ourselves how we can start over, because it’s not easy. We think about it, we talk about it, but the question is HOW? Do we rely on our own capacity? On the help of others? On their compassion? I don’t know. But amidst all of this I thank God because what He allows to be destroyed, He will also build. We surrender everything to Him.”

- Bienvenido De Paz

Future GK Homeowner in Tanauan, Leyte

Typhoon Haiyan Survivor

When his name was finally called, Tatay Bien slowly unfolded the piece of paper, revealing the number: 22. With a smile, he accepted the number even if it meant he had to wait some more before he can move in from the tent city to his new home. Tatay Bien supported his neighbors in their shouts of victory and tears of joy, as their pieces of paper revealed that they can finally begin to start over in new homes.

But it seems like God had better plans for Tatay Bien, because after everyone present in the room picked their numbers, there happened to be room for one more beneficiary. The small community decided to vote, and the decision was unanimous. They ALL wanted Tatay Bien to be one of the first 20 to move in. They knew that despite his age, he was the hardest worker among them, and they believe his servant leadership and guidance is critical to community building. Tatay Bien had tears in his eyes when he realized he will move in sooner rather than later, saying "I'm grateful for the chance to start over, but this is just the beginning. I will continue to serve and help my neighbors rise from this tragedy."

How does one rise from tragedy? How does one begin to start over? Even before the infrastructure is built, rebuilding begins with the community. Rebuilding begins with the people. It begins with people like Tatay Bien, who has the gift of inspiring others to work hard and rise above their differences and circumstances. It begins when people realize that they have it in them to challenge the impossible and start anew.

Breaking barriers through bayanihan

It has to begin with the survivors themselves, but they can never do it alone. The almost insurmountable devastation that Yolanda caused not only in Leyte but all over the Visayas could only be faced by an equally massive convergence of partners and volunteers from various sectors. It is only through bayanihan that the new homes can stand at the soonest possible time, despite the many challenges and barriers. 

Last February 25, 2014, President Benigno S. Aquino III visited the GK village in Tanauan as part of the EDSA People Power Anniversary. True to the spirit of the EDSA Revolution, we are showing the world that with bayanihan, nothing is impossible, and ordinary Filipinos can come together to do the extraordinary. It is because of this same bayanihan spirit that the village in Tanauan now stands.

Tanauan Mayor Pol Tecson says Yolanda almost crippled his town, but it also became a rallying point for working together. After Yolanda, the local government unit (LGU) of Tanauan immediately shifted all its focus and resources towards building permanent shelter, livelihood, and infrastructure.

It can be overwhelming, but as a leader, I knew I had to inspire hope and instill confidence. We are all victims but we have to stop thinking we are victims. Instead, we have to look at this crisis as an opportunity to renew ourselves, mend relationships, and become a better town. This is why we always say: Each new day is a better day in Tanauan.

– Mayor Pol Tecson of Tanauan, Leyte

Typhoon Haiyan Survivor

Going full blast

The moving in of the very 1st batch of Yolanda survivors in Tanauan only signals that the reconstruction work has truly gone full force. Teams on ground are working doubly hard to ensure that survivors like Tatay Bien and the rest of his neighbors can move into their new homes as soon as possible. Provided the weather cooperates, GK expects no less than an additional 100 units (Ormoc & Tanauan) to be turned over by end April, and for the rest of the ~1,900 funded houses to be completed by the third quarter of this year.

But even with these numbers and the generosity of the partners who have made it possible, the need is still great and the work is far from over. To scale up and move people faster, we need YOU. Help us bring concrete hope to our fellowmen. Walang iwanan!



Exactly 5 months after Haiyan (Yolanda) wreaked havoc in the Philippines, GK is now on FULL BLAST with Yolanda reconstruction. Through the combined efforts and resources of partners, volunteers, GK workers and our very own residents, we have made significant headway in our roof repair, Balangay (fishing boats distribution) and housing reconstruction. Now we need YOU to help SCALE UP so we can each more families faster. FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN HELP.

Who we are | FAQs | Archive | Contact Us
Copyright 2014 GK1WORLD All rights reserved | designed by Gawad Kalinga Marketing Team