It was the 3rd of November 2013, when Richard and I headed to the north of Bohol island which had been affected by the 7.2 Magnitude earthquake. Tubigon was one of the towns badly hit by the earthquake and when I heard this over the news, the Corciega and Alasagas families immediately came to mind. The two families received medical help in 2010 and when I mentioned my concerns for them to Richard, we were keen to locate them again and inquire what had happened to both families.
We were able to locate the Alasagas family first and Segundina and her daughter Madonna, accompanied us to Pook Oriental to search for the family of Maria Mae Corciega. Maria Mae (4) was assisted in December 2010 with a medical grant to be operated in Cebu City. She was barely two months old and suffered from an inborn matured teratoma (a huge germ cell tumor). Our last contact with the family was in 2011.
At first, we were lost in trying to locate the family's house but after asking around, we finally travelled down a road that looked familiar. When we reached the exact place of the Corciega family, I noticed that their native house was no longer there but instead there was a tent nearby. No one was around but Segundina made a few enquiries and was able to discover that Maria and Metodio were temporarily living in an evacuation centre. Someone was asked to go and fetch them.
After waiting for a few minutes, we saw a woman carrying her daughter in her arms walking towards us and when she saw us, she immediately recognized me and Richard. It turned out that Maria's husband was a relative of Segundina but she had never known that Metodio's real name was Metodio as he was always called " Ekloy' by relatives and neighbours.
Maria and her daughter Maria Mae had been inside the house when the earthquake struck and it collapsed on top of them. In order to get out, Maria had to crawl back and forth to find a passage and when she finally got out, she removed planks of wood and bamboo to haul her daughter out of the debris. Maria was happy when she saw Metodio an hour later and she was relieved to know that no one had been seriously hurt in the family.
Maria (34) is a housekeeper and her husband Metodio (40) is a "trisikad” driver earning 100 pesos ($2.30) a day transporting passengers. With such a small income, there is no way he could afford to rebuild his home so he and Maria were very happy to know that we could help them with the construction of a new house.
In early January, 2013, two months after the earthquake, the Corciega family moved into their new home.
2 April 2014
Corciega family during our visit of 3rd of November 2013. The remains of their home lie just behind them.
Maria and her daughter Maria Mae standing in front of their new home.