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'Hope Stories of Haiyan'

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Paying It Forward

by Virginette May Mollaneda

One year after Haiyan, the survivors and beneficiaries show us that even in the midst of tragedy,
no one is too poor that he cannot give.

Read more Hope Stories of Haiyan

* This summary of numbers is based only on funds coursed through the GK Headquarters. Our provincial teams are able to conduct local initiatives that contribute to this program. As a concrete example, the Islands Group, LH Foundation and Team GK Cebu came together for a Roof for Relief Campaign that repaired roofs for 5,477 more houses.

During the onslaught of Haiyan (Yolanda), Marlon's family and his neighbors took refuge inside a convent, but an elderly woman was left alone inside her dilapidated house. Realizing that fact later, Marlon, without hesitation, along with five of his male friends, braved the storm to transfer the frail lady back to the safe confines of the convent. He recalled that in the darkness that is Yolanda, the whole neighboring community found light in each other and drew strength in God.

“Even if it means compromising my safety, I could not leave anyone behind and turn a deaf ear to a cry for help.” – Marlon Lambiguit. Yolanda Survivor, Beneficiary, Bayani Builder

A Place to Call Home

Long before Yolanda, Marlon and his family had been living with a relative. They had no place to call their own. They are a family of five with a baby on the way. Life, for them, is an everyday struggle to make ends meet. Then Yolanda happened and worse came to worst; Marlon lost his job as a carpenter in the city. Jobless, homeless and landless, Marlon was faced with a very big dilemma: how to feed his family’s hungry stomachs and shelter them from the scorching heat, cold nights and torrential rains.

Marlon’s prayers were answered when the priest offered for them to temporarily stay at the convent. In the mean time, he would look for wood to sell to keep them alive. Seeking help from his parents was never an option, he didn’t want to add to the burden – they, too, are struggling. More so, he wanted to prove that he could stand up on his own feet.

Together with his wife and kids, they made the most out of their dire situation by just being together; looking out for one another, with the young ones helping in whatever way they can. He made sure that his children will grow up to be responsible. He wanted to inculcate to them those life lessons he learned from his father.

When Gawad Kalinga came to their community in full blast, Marlon became ecstatic. With GK, he can finally have his own house with only their sweat as the equity. With much enthusiasm and renewed vigor, he went to the site everyday early in the morning, particularly around 6:30 AM, to begin his work. From sun up to sun down, you could find him there, silently doing his share. His kids and wife also participated. Even on Sundays, they would be found at the site sweating it out, not minding the heat and hunger. Not long after, they were awarded with the fruit of their labor.

Thirty houses sponsored by Timex were turned-over to the beneficiaries last September.

One of those units now belong to the very grateful Marlon Lambiguit and family.

Building Hope For Others

Today, Marlon is currently a ‘Bayani Builder’ at the newest GK community in Daanbantayan, Cebu. A perfect example of someone who lives by the adage “no one is too poor that he cannot give,” Marlon finds happiness in seeing others happy even with his little help. Though he may be far away from his family as of the moment, he is very happy to have found a job to sustain their daily needs. Particularly that Christmas is fast approaching, he can now buy presents for his wife and kids.

Marlon pays it forward as one of the bayani builders of a new GK site,

still for families affected by Haiyan.

He never fails to express his gratitude for the blessings. Marlon says that if not for Gawad Kalinga, he and his family would be informal settlers on another person’s property. They would have to be content on having one full meal a day, sleeping with grumbling stomachs. His only wish that time is for their family to eat three times a day, and now he can provide for that.

As cliché as it may sound, there is a rainbow always after the rain. For Marlon and his family, that rainbow comes in the form of rainbow-colored houses at Brgy. San Miguel, San Remigio, Cebu. Indeed, there is a wisdom to every tragedy: that after every tunnel, there is light. All we need to do is to have hope and hang on to the fight.

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'Hope Stories of Haiyan'


The Timex-GK Village in Brgy. San Miguel, San Remigio, Cebu stands today because of the bayanihan of the typhoon survivors, volunteers, the local government, and partners like Timex who generously gave towards Gawad Kalinga’s Haiyan Reconstruction Efforts.

But the work is far from over, and there are thousands more who need to be relocated to safe communities like this one. Find out how you can help #endpoverty today.

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