In October 2013, Bohol suffered a massive destruction due to what is recorded as the deadliest earthquake in the Philippines in 23 years. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported over 73,000 damaged infrastructures, a death toll of 222, and over 900 people injured. Since then, numerous rebuilding projects have been undertaken that still continue to this day, by different government and non-government agencies. One of the organizations active in this effort is the Habitat for Humanity Philippines (HBFP). A year after the catastrophe, our company, Henkel, decided to join HBFP in this endeavor. That is how I found myself in the land of the Chocolate Hills this October.
The build happened on the 18th of October 2014 in Villa Aurora village in Antequera. 40 Henkel employees worked together in the construction of a house for a family, whose house had been destroyed in the earthquake. In the orientation, we were advised to wear closed shoes, long sleeve shirts or arm cover, pants, and gloves.
There, under the midday sun, we toiled and burned our skin. We sawed the bamboo, hacked the excess, flattened the soil inside the house, and weaved the bamboo sticks to make the walls. We worked the whole day, but there was still so much left to do. Unfortunately, our part was over, I just took comfort in knowing that at least we helped build the foundation.
I realized that indeed, it takes a lot of work to build a house. But seeing what we’ve accomplished after a full day of work, I knew our effort was well worth it. We helped a family in Bohol to have a home. The thought alone makes me happy.