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True Love That Came Our Way:
SMC Gives 50 Families New Homes on Valentine’s Day

[Date Created: February 18, 2015]

by Gian Paolo Jose Dingcong

“Nanay Merlita found love in Tatay Pablito at age 62. They built houses together and are moving into one of their own at ages 68 & 62. Life is what we make of it. Tatay Pablito earlier shared (in Bisaya),’I've been waiting for a house for so long, I didn't want to believe it. I can't see, but when I ran my hands across the walls and felt the cement...I thought - Bahay 'to, bahay 'to! Totoong bahay 'to!!’ ‪#‎lovemeanswalangiwanan‬‬” – Claire Ericta

On Valentine’s Day, people want to show love to their significant others and usually carry flowers, chocolates, cards and teddy bears. But today, I saw people carrying unusual items: KEYS. And never have I seen people happier than they – even happier than those bearing gifts from their Valentinos.

Last February 14, 2015, 20 families from GK Miracle Village, Brgy. Kabulacan, Sta Catalina and 30 families from GK Jamalipayon Village, Brgy. Jawa, Valencia received their Valentine gifts in the form of keys to their new homes. They will now be able to move forward to a better future filled with love and care not just with their families but with their entire community.

It has been 3 years since these families have been displaced by Typhoon Sendong (Washi), which ravaged their homes and disrupted their way of living. They struggled to rise up and pick up the pieces of their lives scattered by the catastrophe. Various aids came and little by little they were able to stand up and restore their own dignity. Now, with a renewed sense of hope (and love) these 50 families will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with their loved ones in their new homes. This proves that love really does transcend all adversities, even if faced with the dominant force of nature. 

GK Miracle Village beneficiaries with Gov. Degamo, Mayor Electona, GK Area Coordinator Vincent Rivera,
GK Marketing & Partnerships Head Claire Ericta and GK Head of Negros Oriental Bonifacio Pilas

When Typhoon Sendong happened, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) was one of the very first to respond to the call of rebuilding the homes of those affected by the storm. Today they continue to pursue rebuilding people’s lives and building safe communities before disasters strike. During this turnover, SMC was represented by San Miguel Foundation Executive Director Camille Buenaventura and Program Head Rona Tanchico.

>> Read more about the partnership in SMC and GK: Building Hope That Lasts

The local government unit of both municipalities took an active part in the preparation and the ceremony. Sta Catalina Mayor Nathaniel Electona and Valencia Mayor Edgar Teves led the celebration and the giving of the symbolic keys, together with GK Area Coordinator Vincent Dennis Rivera and GK Head of Marketing & Partnerships Claire Ericta. Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo also graced us with his presence during the turnover ceremony, telling the families that “These houses were built for you, you should treasure them and you should thank GK who helped us in our time of need. I ask nothing of you but to be good to your family and to one another.” He added that he plans to put up a livelihood program in the community.

Happy in red while posing with their keys and their houses in the background

Beyond the season of love, Gawad Kalinga with the help of its partners will continue to build 30 more houses at GK Miracle Village, Sta Catalina and another 30 houses at GK Jamalipayon Village, Valencia. Other communities will soon rise in these Typhoon Sendong-affected areas of Negros Oriental. 

Tags: Poverty

Gawad Kalinga is not a charity, rather, it's an organization that aims to end poverty by building empowered and productive communities. This would not be possible without the partners who have journeyed with us in changing the lives of others.

But the work is far from over, and there are thousands more who need to be relocated to safe communities like this one. Like San Miguel Corporation, you too can be a hero to the poorest of the poor and partner with us in making sure that no one is left behind. Find out how you can help #endpoverty today. Walang Iwanan!

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