The Rise of Santa Fe
Five months after the strongest typhoon hit the Philippines, Trinidad Bato-balono proudly pointed to the coast she helped clean with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
She says businesses are slowly picking up; tourists are starting to return, and students are going back to school. Getting the port up and running was crucial in recovering the tourism industry. Despite the devastation of one ramp, ferry services have resumed regular operations, providing locals and foreigners access to hundreds of trips weekly from Hagnaya Warf in San Remigio to Sante Fe.
“Without the help of UNDP, we would have not been able to resume operations as fast as we did,” said Jose Esgana, Mayor of Sante Fe Mayor. “Through hundreds of cash-for-work beneficiaries, we were able to clear classrooms, roads, and coastal areas in a faster phase.”
For Bato-balono, the sight of ships arriving is a vision full of promise and expectation. They were no longer isolated. There is hope for her, her family and the community of Santa Fe.
But the road to recovery has not been easy. Just as she expected, Typhoon Yolanda was strong and destructive. It was worse than Typhoon Frank. For the second time, Bato-balono and her family were back to zero – they had no house to live in and everything they had rebuilt was destroyed.
Despite the devastation, 55-year-old Bato-balono remained optimistic. Her family was safe, including Mameng, her 93-year-old mother who was paralyzed from waist down. If it weren’t for her neighbours who were willing to brave the storm, her mother would have never made it – not after the injury she sustained.