Tuloy Po or Please Come In is unmistakably Bulaneño hospitality…
Even when Bulan is under water brought about by the devastating typhoon Dante last May 1-2.
But who will come in, what kind of guests when pupils are on vacation and who will dare when it is flooded?
They are the guests- evacuees; children from Managanaga fleeing from high waters that swallowed their bamboo huts,
spending the night of heavy rains awake, fearful and anxious about their situation.
Storm Dante shows no mercy as it pounded Bulan with strong winds and heavy rains overnight.
The classrooms are still closed and so they find their first refuge under the staircase;
children and even a baby are wet, shivering from cold- and hunger.
Young Bulaneños- pretty girls and handsome boys- soaked in water, sleepless and hungry.
We come to their rescue during the first hours in the morning of May 2; nursing and comforting them.
As some fathers are in great stress running and swimming back and forth
to Managanaga to rescue their other children who are left behind.
And this is how it looks by now outside the Bulan North Central School;
more families coming, taking with them their most important belongings as the waters continue to rise.
And an old man escorted by his young ones.
A pig is precious, too.
I am astonished by the gracefulness in their bearing; they retain their dignity and calmness,
as many walk through waters in a meditative posture- which shows that experience
with floods is not extraordinary in the town of Bulan.
A boy joining his family somewhere, behind him the man
in a meditative rhythm opposing the currents.
The day when boats are in the streets of Canipaan…
and a raft made of banana trunks, in place of cars and tricycles.
Meanwhile, these families are now inside a classroom, given towels, hot drinks and biscuits. etc.
Children now dry, visibly feeling better -at least for the time being-,
and mothers continue watching over them.
A shy boy with sadness in his eyes in this dark room
with no electricity and drinking water.
If pictures speak louder than words, then let them be.
Bulan Observer ( photos by jun asuncion)