The municipality of Tabontabon experienced widespread destruction during Super Typhoon Yolanda.
Among these, the destruction of the local public market saw devastating impact upon local vendors and patrons who rely heavily on the market to sustain local food supplies.
This would include Evelyn C. Carola, a local fish and vegetable vendor for more than twenty years. This is her story.
“I was here when Yolanda happened.
It destroyed our house, my stall and our entire market. Everything was damaged from our municipal hall, to the barangay hall, our gymnasium: even the evacuation center.
We were informed about the typhoon. The announcement came from the municipal officials: even from our barangay (officials). My family prepared for it, but some of the people didn’t believe it, and underestimated it.
But that was a very strong typhoon. I didn’t expect that it would be so terrifying.
Since our market was washed out, I had to stop from selling. I also didn’t have the money to use as capital.
It was also difficult for me because I am selling fish and after the typhoon, people were scared of eating fish and other seafood products.
Some of my co-vendors still continued selling but they would either sell in front of their houses or wander around the town, just so they could continue their livelihood.
Slowly, we are recovering with the assistance coming from NGOs. Then, RAY DILG repaired our market.
It’s very different now. Before Yolanda, it was made from light materials and wood. Now, more posts were added and they reinforced it using cement and sturdier materials.
Once I have enough money to start my business, I will return to our newly repaired market. It is still challenging because of financial concerns, but I will definitely go back and occupy a stall.
Before, we were around eighteen vendors in the old market. I am looking forward to seeing more vendors arrive, more economic opportunities, and to see our market active once again. Most of all, I’m looking forward to seeing our municipality’s complete recovery.”