Quake victims to have noche buena of relief goods in Davao del Sur

Hernel Tocmo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 24 2019 07:06 PM

Evacuees in quake-hit areas in Davao del Sur will celebrate the traditional noche buena or Christmas Eve feast even as aftershocks continue to rock the area. 

But in place of the usual noche buena fare, many quake victims will be celebrating Christmas Eve using relief goods. And instead of gathering in their homes, many will be holding the Christmas Eve feast in evacuation centers. 

Laynie Aying, an evacuee, will make do with the relief goods they received in an evacuation site in the town of Magsaysay. 

She and many of the 200 families from the B'laan tribe were prohibited from cultivating their farms in Barangay Tagaytay, as landslides threatened the area.

Despite this, she remains thankful. 

"Nagpapasalamat kami sa Panginoon dahil iniligtas niya kami," she said.

(We thank God because He saved us.)

Laynie Aying, a B’laan evacuee in Barangay San Miguel evacuation center in Magsaysay, Davao del Sur, prepares canned goods for Noche Buena. Hernel Tocmo, ABS-CBN News

Many of the evacuees in Matanao town will also spend the holidays in tents, including Monaliza Habuhab, who is cooking Adobo for Noche Buena.

"Nangutang lang kami ng karne tapos loaf bread. Iba talaga sa mga nagdaang Pasko na wala pang lindol," Habuhab said. 

(We loaned meat and loaf bread. It's really different from previous Christmasses before the quakes.) 

Monaliza Habuhab cooks Adobo inside her evacuation tent in Barangay Mangga, Matanao, Davao del Sur. Hernel Tocmo, ABS-CBN News

Evacuees are all praying for the earthquakes to stop.

An aftershock was felt in Kiblawan town Tuesday noon, while evacuees were grilling pork and other dishes for noche buena. They said they have become used to ground shaking. But sometimes the tremors can be quite strong.

"Masaya kami dati, nagtitipon-tipon kami. Pero iba talaga ngayon dahil sa takot na aming nararanasan," evacuee Irish Mae Calago said.

(We were happy before, we would gather. But it's really different now because of the fear we feel.)

Evacuees in Barangay Panaglib, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur still managed to smile and have fun with other residents despite worries of their situation and aftershocks. Hernel Tocmo, ABS-CBN News

Despite fears of aftershocks and worries about their situation, evacuees said they are still happy to celebrate Christmas.

Evacuees in Barangay Panaglib, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur prepare for Noche Buena. Hernel Tocmo, ABS-CBN News

The evacuees hope that people and the government will continue to help them until they recover and rebuild their homes.