Written and Photographs by Fred Deserva, Volunteer Photographer

Lourdes was already struggling even before Mayon Volcano erupted. The 33-year-old mother of two wants to give the best for her family, but her husband’s income only comes in season.

Lourdes, her husband, and two children live in Camalig, Albay – in a small house near the Mayon Volcano. Lourdes’ husband is an appliance repairman and has a seasonal income of PhP 3,500 ($70) a month. There are times when her husband has no “project” which means no income.

“Most of the time we only drink coffee for breakfast and the next meal will be dinner. There are times when we only have one meal in a day, there are times when my children would ask why we do not have rice or they would tell me they are already hungry,” Lourdes shared.

“Sometimes we get a loan from a nearby sari-sari (convenience) store just to survive because my husband’s income is either not enough or he has no income at all,” she added.

When the Mayon Volcano erupted, it added another problem to her family. The sulfur and ashes that the volcano spewed caused respiratory infection manifested through severe coughing and even colds.  Until then they decided to leave their house and stay at Cumon Evacuation Center.


For two months, they stayed at the evacuation center. Lourdes’ husband still has no “project” and they still have no source of income because they cannot use the school’s electricity for her husband’s “projects.” To survive, they only depended on the relief packs that were given to them by different organizations.

This week, Operation Blessing partnered with Ang Hortaleza Foundation Inc. to give hands-on cosmetology skills training to families whose source of income was affected by the eruption of Mayon Volcano. Lourdes is one of the participants.

“One day, a pastor was giving out forms for a haircut and nail polishing skills training at the evacuation center. I immediately signed up and asked for details,” Lourdes shared how she became a participant at the livelihood skills training.

“With the new skills that I will learn, I can help my husband meet our financial needs, and we can pay our debts and buy school supplies for my children,” Lourdes shared with a big smile on her face.

As we share the story like Lourdes’, we hope you can also help by supporting our livelihood program so we can reach out to more families  in Albay. Here’s where you can donate: http://bit.ly/2Eo0Brp