TREK Relief Opps: Another Partnership with the AURORA Offroaders Club

December 08, 2011 Voluntourism

Noel, co-founder of Trails to Empower Kids, invited our group to participate in an outreach program organized by his other group, the Aurora Offroaders Club, aimed at assisting Dilasag, Aurora. 

Dilasag had faced isolation due to twin typhoons Quiel and Pedring, and seeing their struggles on the news prompted us to take immediate action. We rallied our friends, coordinated volunteers, and sought sponsors to make this outreach program a reality. 

Inviting volunteers and securing support posed certain challenges, but the most formidable hurdle proved to be reaching Dilasag. Despite the obstacles of damaged roads and washed-out bridges, our resilient partners in the Aurora Offroaders Club navigated these challenges, ensuring that essential relief aid successfully reached the deserving community.

We have been friends and partners with them for years. They had previously assisted with some of our activities, such as the outreach in San Luis, Aurora, and the reconnaissance mission in Dinapigue, Isabela.

Our expedition commenced early in the morning. We met at our designated meet-up place in Maria Aurora, Aurora, in front of Noel's house. After distributing passengers and loads, our journey took us through scenic highways, rough roads, rivers, and mountain paths to reach Aurora's northernmost town. Along the way, we encountered trampled rice fields, fallen trees, and other remnants of the typhoons' destructive passage.

A beautiful rainbow adorned the sky on our way to Dilasag
4x4 Action

The aftermath of the typhoons became strikingly evident as we journeyed through Dilasag. The farmlands were covered with mud, electric posts lay knocked down, and uprooted trees scattered across the landscape. The extent of the damage suggested a slow recovery process for the community.

Dilasag, known as the gateway for Philippine typhoons, often bears the brunt of these powerful storms.

It was well past noon when we arrived at Diagyan Elementary School in Dilasag, Aurora. Despite the green fields and blue sky, there were subtle signs of the devastation this school had endured. The eager anticipation of the school children waiting for us in their classrooms indicated the significance of our visit. It being a Saturday, they were there to receive the books and school supplies we had gathered for donation.

The school children, eager and hopeful, promptly lined up to receive their new notebooks, crayons, and other school supplies. Our efforts were aimed to provide a small but meaningful contribution to their recovery and rebuilding process.

Our volunteers

The students

With their books and magazines

Following the visit to Diagyan Elementary School, we boarded the 4x4s for our next destination, Kasaysayan Elementary School. Simultaneously, some members of the Offroaders Club went to another site to deliver the relief goods they had packed.

Kasaysayan Elementary School is part of the same cluster as Diagyan Elementary School, sharing the same school principal. The students at Kasaysayan Elementary School predominantly belong to the Agta cultural group, an indigenous community.

After distributing some donations, we expressed our gratitude to our hosts and proceeded to the resort of the mayor of Dilasag at Canaware Beach. There, we enjoyed a well-deserved rest and celebrated a long-awaited reunion with friends.

The following day brought unfavorable weather, prompting an earlier departure than planned to avoid potential stranding. We managed to squeeze in a brief tour of the grassland in Dilasag before hitting the national highway. Despite the challenging river crossings, everyone safely returned to Baler, marking the conclusion of our outreach efforts in Dilasag, Aurora.

Mayor's gift

Well, not everyone. We later learned that Mr. Carlito Magyano, one of the members of the AURORA Offroaders Club, tragically met an accident in Dinalungan, Aurora. 

My deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, and the entire community. Mr. Magyano's dedication and selfless contributions will be remembered as an inspiration. May his legacy live on.

Other Good Travels