Arizona pinoys looking for news beyond Tacloban

By Fleur Magbanua-Mansur, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Nov. 12, 2013

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Unable to get hold of their loved ones for almost a week, sisters Rowena Boggs and Lelith Calucer fear for the worst.

Their brother and other relatives, as well as Rowena’s two daughters are in Babatngon, located 21 miles northwest of Tacloban City.

They beg for the Philippine government to reach out to these areas.

“We would like to find out where our family is,” Boggs said. “I know they are focusing on Tacloban but we haven’t really heard anything after Tacloban from all these villages.”

“I guess I will be okay if I heard even just one voice,” Calucer said. “It’s really devastating. You watch the news, nothing comforts you. It breaks your heart.”

Calucer said she has not been able to sleep for the past few days and wants to go home.

“If you ask me right now, definitely I will go in a heartbeat,” she said. “I would just to see my family.”

This FilAm finally got hold of her family in Dulag—a coastal town in Leyte—only to find out that she lost her first cousin Liezel Lanca who died with her husband and children.

“It’s hard when your loved ones have this tragedy,” Jo Estrella Brown. “Not only my family but others who had tragedy in Leyte.”

Meanwhile, Arizonans try to raise funds in many ways, including garage sales and donation boxes.

Brandon Bulos and his mother don’t have any relatives affected by Typhoon Yolanda but they want to help.

“We still want to help the people we can by doing little donations that we will match up to $1000,” Bulos said. “We will take it until it’s filled or until Nov. 30. Then we will send to ABS-CBN Foundation.”

“Most people who donated are Americans because of what they saw on TV,” Haidee Liza Zmerzlikar, cultural director of the Asian American Association of Arizona, said. “They feel pity toward our people back there and are really willing to help.”

Despite being short of breath from heart failure, this fil-am volunteered to help prepare for a garage sale.

“Since I can’t help them back home, I help here in this end so we can send money,” volunteer Remelyn Padilla said.

3 Comments on this post.

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  • Dave
    14 November 2013 at 1:58 am - Reply

    I have been in contact with friends who live Babatngon.

    Apparently the village escaped the worst, I was told that despite injuries, property damage and destruction there were no deaths in the village, I hope that this is correct.

    As of six hours ago I was told that no relief had reached Babatngon.

    I sent money to them via Western Union, but after a boat trip to Catbalogan in Samar, and two days of waiting, they have been given a “Priority Number” by the Western Union office and told to return on Monday, that is in four days time! They were told that in Calbayog the daily limit had already been reached.

    • Kikay Pang0
      14 November 2013 at 2:00 pm - Reply

      Good luck to your remittance … or say bye bye to your money … Western Union Phil. can not be trusted at this time of disaster.

  • VA
    14 November 2013 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    I think that Western Union is a very reliable remittance company. Last time I checked it’s not being run by Napoles or the government, so my kababayans should not worry. Say something positive Kikay for a change.