Fresh produce of ampalaya, eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers, okra and various tropical fruits sprouted over the vibrant indigenous booths of Sitio Yellow Top’s multi-purpose hall during the maiden observance of ‘Harvest Festival’ held last November 15, in Kinatarcan Island, Santa Fe town, northern Cebu.
Who would have thought that after Typhoon Yolanda ravished northern Cebu, a blossoming lush of green staple could rapidly grow abound in this most devastated and remote village.
In November 8, 2013, super typhoon Yolanda barreled through millions worth of infrastructure and livelihood resources in northern Cebu, leaving Kinatarcan Island as among those badly destroyed with over 1,110 houses shattered, 430 others damaged and dislocated about 1,900 families.
Cebu Provincial Government’s farm technology and development training program and non-government organization (NGO) assistance somehow contributed to Kinatarcan’s accelerated recovery that stimulated more than 466 residents to undergo income-generating programs.
Among the drivers of these recovery platforms are culinary and food processing techniques for “kamoteng kahoy” (cassava), a perennial woody shrub that is among the primary yield in the island.
The training allows residents to process the plant into puto (steam cake), pastries and cookies.
Traditionally, a feast is often celebrated with music, poems, dances, praying and singing hymns of thanks, but with Kinatarcan’s circumstance, the celebration is way beyond the bounty.
The joyous setting seems to plaster the struggle of diligent locals who made remarkable streak in Capitol’s training program.
About 171 graduated in vegetable production, 150 in cassava production while 40 completed the weaving training. There are also 30 teens that finished the training on Youth Adaptation on Climate Change.
Kinatarcan’s rescue team is now on the loop with 29 members and 40 Hagkilang educators, volunteers and trainers.
Hagkilang is a shortened group name for barangays Hagdan, Kinatarcan and Langub, the three main villages that comprises the island.
Cebu Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) head Baltazar Tribunalo said the cooperation between the Provincial Government and reliable partners made it possible for the island to stand strong again.
“Kinahanglan naa tay partners, ug dili kita mohunong, palig-onon ta, padaghanon ug manakod kita sa laing lugar,” Tribunalo said.
Being in the forefront of the Provincial Government’s recovery program, Tribunalo was among the special guest during the festival’s ceremony.
Tribunalo said that Sta. Fe LGU and its NGO partners: Cordaid, Partners for Resilience, Caritas Singapore and East-West Seed Co Inc., worked together to provide the locals with appropriate opportunities that would uplift their lives after suffering emotional stress brought by Yolanda.
“Walay gutom sa Kinatarcan, walay masakiton sa Kinatarcan, kung kitang tanan magtinabangay, maningkamot, kay daghan kaayong pagkaon sa Kinatarcan,” said Tribunalo.
Anat Prag, Cordaid head for the Visayas, said they chose Kinatarcan Island because of its immediate exposure to climate change.
Prag added that the resident’s low esteem to cope up with the tragic experience suits the organization’s creed for the aid mission.
Cordaid is a Catholic non-government organization for relief and development aid.
One of the beneficiaries of the vegetable production training, Lorna Giducos, expressed her gratitude for all the support they received from the government and the NGOs.
“Sa una mangadto mi sa tabok (Daanbantayan or Medellin) mamalit og utan, karon mangadto mi didto aron mamaligya sa among utanon,” said 44-year-old Giducos, who proudly donned her green shirt with the print “Climate Smart Farmers Field School on Vegetable Production.”
Kinatarcan barangay captain Rolando Villacarlos, however, admitted that he had apprehensions in the vegetable training considering the island’s poor and rocky soil.
“Sa ka-pobre sa among yuta, (ang training) nagbunga gyud,” said Villacarlos who is also the incumbent president of Sta. Fe Association of Barangay Councils (ABC).