The most unusual resort travel review you’ve ever read – straight from the Typhoon zone…

My husband and I are citizens of the world at heart. We lived in over 30 countries combined between two of us and visited probably another 30. But it is not just about traveling and experiencing cultures. We feel like we are a part of a global community, not just of a local one where we reside at the moment. And when disaster strikes, I feel it touches our lives as well.

Our hearts are going out to the people of Philippines. We are not there in person, but we are definitely there with our hearts.

Always staying abreast of global travel news and destinations ( partly because many of our friends travel a lot and share their experiences), I remember reading a review of beautiful off the beaten path resort in Philippines, about 3 weeks ago.

If you type “Sea Turtle Lagoon Resort in Villanueva, Camoboan, Tabogon, Bogo”  in google you will not find many reviews, but those you will see speak of enchanting place with amazing owners, who transformed once unvisited rural community into a little Paradise Destination. Through doing that, they also provided employment for many people in the local village.

Here is from Elisabet, Danish expat in Philippines, who knows Sally, the owner of the Resort for the last few years:

“Sea Turtle Lagoon Resort is, or was, a pearl! Having build the resort on the coral rocks and managed to plant beautiful trees and flowers to cover the ugly boulders that make the shoreline, has been years of  work for Bill and Sally, and they were proud of the beautiful place they had created there.

Being a poor area where most people are farmers and fishermen, Bill and Sally had been trying to create jobs through the tourist industry, and guests had started coming there from Japan, Korea, England, France and other  Asian and European countries.

fisherman Their dream of making a difference was coming true, and people loved their warmth and hospitality. Now the typhoon had struck and on top of it, Bill had passed away due to cancer 4 months ago so Sally was now alone to care for the people in the village.”

Typhoon destroyed all the houses in the village, apart from some resort buildings, few residential shacks and elementary school, where all the mothers and children stay, while husbands trying to restore the infrastructure.

Sally, took on the responsibility to head and coordinate the relief effort in community. She employed able bodied man from the community to work on restoring the infrastructure. The next day she walked around in the area together with her workers to survey the damage, and decided to clear the road. With a chain saw they worked for two whole days with the help of the people to cut the trees that were blocking the road so that they could drive out of there. She was told that it could take 2-3 weeks before there would be help from the government as they were in the countryside while big towns would receive help sooner. DSC08202

From talk with Elisabet:  ” We knew the place well, as Bill and Sally donated the use of the place to hold the free dental clinic for needy children from the area about a year ago, when Danish dentist donated free dental care here.  But now the place was unrecognizable. As the heavy waves and the spray from the sea as it had crashed onto land had covered hundreds of meters inland, the salt water had turned all the greenery into brown scrubs. Her vegetable  and flower garden had withered brown leaves lying on the ground. It looked like a scorched dry land after a long drought.

Fishermen came out of their hiding-places after the storm only to find their fishing boats gone or smashed to pieces, and the farmers could look onto their land where their crop of corn or vegetables were flattened and  destroyed. “

DSC00017When I asked Sally as to what would be the greatest need now, she said:

“Shelter. People need to feel safe again in their own homes.

Many are psychologically disturbed, in a terrible state, hopeless and in despair.

They are poor and have no way of just going out to buy the materials. They need help. And food and water! People are hungry and thirsty. I saw one family of mother, father and 6 children sitting around a fire, and between them they had one small fish to eat. It was heartbreaking.

Elisabet and her husband are expats living in Cebu. They were at Camoboan the very next day after the Typhoon (all disaster photos in this post are taken by them!). Their Foundation Raise Above works with  hundreds of Danish interns ( medical and behavioral science students in their 4th year of study), now they sending daily relief teams from Cebu to Camoboan and Bantayan Island.

If you would like to help, consider this:

DSC08198 The most immediate needs are:

1. Food and drinking water, rice and canned goods, foods that will last and not spoil.

2. Milk powder for the small children.

3. Buckets, basins, kitchen utensils, toiletries. Mats and bedding.

4. Materials to rebuild their houses.

People need their livelihood, so that they can start earning their own money again:

1. Chicken, piglets, goats, seeds for planting vegetables, corn, sweet potatoes etc.

2. New fishing boats.

Just imagine:

1.200 US$ can build a small house

250 US$ can build a small “banka” boat

You can donate directly to them here. Even now as I type this, a team of 14 Danish medical and behavioral studies students departing Cebu for yet another day of relief help, today in the area of Bantayan Island.

Would you share this story of human spirit’s beauty, strength and determination as willingly as we often share amazing travel reviews and adventure blog posts?

The folks there are not waiting for help to arrive they doing what can be done to help their fellow countryman. Lets lend them a helping hand.

 

For donations, kindly specify “Disaster Relief – Raise Above/EEECF”

 

(Photo-credits: Elisabet Hansen — all the Typhoon damage photos, Traveling in Philippines and Sea Turtle Lagoon – Resort photos)