The Philippines is located along the typhoon belt, which gets an average of 20 typhoons each year.
The Magat Dam, one of the largest dams in the country, is about an hour drive from key municipalities in the Isabela province. The dam helps in providing irrigation in Cagayan Valley. Farmlands in Isabela Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino are mostly where Luzon's stocks of rice are coming from.
However, when Typhoon Ulysses hit Cagayan Valley last November 2020, the heavy rainfall endangered families living around the Cagayan river and farmlands near the dam. Due to torrential rains, the National Irrigation Administration, ordered to release water from the Magat Dam in fear of possible damage and overflow. This typhoon resulted in several two-story houses and crops being submerged in floods.
When Walther Uzi Buenavista, the owner of Shawarma Shack, and its team found out what happened in Cagayan Valley, one thing crossed their minds — to help. Although the current health situation made it difficult to secure travel permits, the Shawarma Shack Relief Operations team was dedicated to extend help to Cagayanons.
They were able to identify the barangays most affected by the typhoon through the assistance of Mayor Bernard Faustino Dy and Vice Mayor Leoncio Dalin, Jr.
The relief operations team saw the excitement of the families when the Shawarma Shack Cares trucks arrived. The process went smoothly as barangay leaders helped and provided a systematic way of distributing the relief packs. Priorities were given to persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens.
The families and residents were seen cheering and smiling as their names were being called. Despite the heavy rains, Isabelaños and Cagayanons stayed and checked in on each other while waiting for their turn to receive the relief packs.
This shows that despite the challenges and calamities that may come our way, Filipinos - underneath their masks will always offer and put on a smile, move forward, and have that 'we will rise again' spirit.
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