Sugba Lagoon is probably the most famous place to take a leap in Siargao, and is for sure one of the most visited tourist spots in this side of Surigao del Norte. I got to visit this tranquil place for the first time in 2018 with friends, though unfortunately I was too chicken to jump off that board. Teehee.
Last week, 26 August 2022, I joined friends from Waves For Water , Cebu Pacific Air and the LGU for a more meaningful visit to Caub Island – the island where the caretakers of the famous Sugba Lagoon and their families reside, for an outreach program.
Flashback to December 17, 2021 -the day after Typhoon Odette. I remember waking up with no electricity, no running water, no internet, no mobile reception and cut off landline service in our Mactan home. We were lucky that our house was spared from any damage, except for water tank lid that went missing. But that morning drive looking for a spot to get at least data signal to contact friends and loved ones, it all seemed unreal, the scene very much looked like a clip from a zombie apocalypse movie, and am not even exaggerating. There were long lines to getting all the basic necessities – from procuring drinking water to grabbing groceries, from withdrawing cash at the ATMS (since credit cards and mobile payment don’t work due to network failure and no landline service) to filling up the gas tank.
Caub Island being openly situated across the Pacific, I could not imagine the dread the residents went through to survive the tropical cyclone with mighty winds of over 200kph. The problems that came after were unimaginable. With 495 ravaged homes, 250 razed boats, no electricity, no mobile signal and limited basic supplies and necessities, all 1,997 residents had no other choice but to survive with what they had left for over a week.
Since then, one of their main problems in the island is potable water. For most residents they drink rainwater, and for some, purified water. Though paying Php80 for a 5 gallon water can be costly for the islanders, and collected rainwater may also be contaminated and unsafe for drinking.
Waves For Water is an international non profit organization that gives access to clean water for everyone that needs it. They have responded to 33 major natural disasters, to date–including initiatives in Nepal, Bosnia, Philippines, Indonesia, Haiti, Japan, Chile, and Pakistan.
Hearing about the plea for potable water in Caub Island, Waves for Water, together with Cebu Pacific Air and the LGU, ended the portable water dilemma by distributing 63 units of water filter system that can supply safe and clean drinking water for years.
Jenica Dizon, Waves for Water Country Director – Philippines, threw light on the W4W Water Filter System – demonstrating the easy process of sieving potable water, and showing the method to keep the system in shipshape condition for the filters to last for years to baranggay representatives.
Roxanne Gochuico, Corporate Responsibilty Manager for Cebu Pacific Air, raised how thankful the airline is for being a part of this life changing program, and added that Cebu Pacific is not only an airline, but also a helping hand, ready to extend support when they can specially to the destinations that Cebu Pacific Air are serving.
Del Carmen Mayor Alfred Coro extended his heartfelt gratitude to Waves For Water, Cebu Pacific Air and his people working at the Local Government Unit for continuously aiding to the residents of Caub Island and the entire municipality. He wrapped the program with the quip, ” If you were here during the good times, we’re happy to see you during the bad times.”
Caub representatives, together with their beloved kapitana, raised and cheered for FREE, safe and clean drinking water for all for years to come!
It was a happily ever after for everyone that day. As for me, I am very happy to witness this feat for Waves For Water, Cebu Pacific Air and the LGU. Thankful to be able to embrace humanitarianism as a way of life. And yeah, I still haven’t had the courage to dive off that board yet again. I wasn’t in my swim shorts sounds like a valid excuse, right? Oh well, this means more reasons to go back to this beautiful part of Surigao Del Norte. 😉