Written by Jord Earving Gadingan, Volunteer Writer

Francisca and Antonio reopened their small business just two days after the Super Typhoon Lawin hit their province. They said they really need to earn.

A hungry stomach led in a conversation with Francisca Cristobal, 51, a fishball vendor across the street of Poblacion 2, Sta. Maria, Isabela where Operation Blessing distributes solar lamps and blankets to typhoon-affected families. Francisca also sells banana-on-stick and okoy, a local dish made from cassava. Francisca is assisted by her husband, Antonio, 58, in their business. They spent the whole day under the waiting shed.


Antonio sits in front of their house, while some debris are still evident on the background after Typhoon Lawin hit their province.

During the planting season, Antonio is busy cultivating his corn field together with his draft cattle despite his age. He said he is still strong enough to farm. A single typhoon can’t stop them from their earning a living since they still have to support their three children in high school. It was innate resiliency due to parental responsibility; they need to earn.

Francisca and Antonio are in fishball vending for about seven years now. They have built a simple and decent home and availed three cows as draft animals. They are also blessed with industrious children that help them in their daily chores.


In front of her business, Francisca shares her experience during the storm.

After the typhoon, the couple was still grateful despite that their house was damaged because they valued more the miracle that nobody in the family got hurt. Their physical loss was repairable, they said. Antonio told Operation Blessing that he is now looking forward to the next planting season so that the harvest will meet the needs for his daughter’s graduation.

It is every parent’s desire to provide a good education for their children especially sending them to college but their earnings are still not enough to support their children to college. High school dropouts are prevalent in Sta. Maria being a fourth class municipality. Only a few from the less privileged families are fortunate to go to college. Antonio and Francisca are unsure of the possibility of their children’s college education, now that they are old and weak and struggling financially.

Through the generosity of many, we were able to send our supplies and teams to disaster-stricken areas in Kalinga and Isabela. But we need YOUR HELP to be one step ahead! Donate now to our General Fund to help us gather resources and mobilize volunteers for OB outreach projects. Call us at 477-7806 or visit www.obphil.com to learn how you can help.