30 Nov2013


Our next adventure to deliver thousands of aid packages was targeted at the remote mountain barangays of Tabuelan and San Remigio. Who knew so many families made this part of Cebu their home? Obviously, it’s an area I have never seen before. I was not on this trip, but our Operations Manager and some of our HR and lechonan staff, joined the folks from GMA Foundation who provided a huge ten-wheeler and six-wheeler covered truck to load our goods (food and plastic basins). The crew ventured off main roads onto winding uphill dirt roads — and while they were deserted, progress was slow…


…the damage to modest and often made of light material homes was pretty devastating. More than a week after the storm, examples of home flattened were around every twist and turn in the road. It almost seemed as though some homes had been temporarily abandoned and the hills seemed rather quiet…


…and our crew were beginning to wonder if bringing 2,500 food packs was too much.


Some cement utilities posts were still down across roads, but cars and trucks were able to work their way around them for the most part. A few kids roadside signaled a settlement or barangay was close by…


…and on arrival at Kantubaon in Tabuelan, a long line of folks was waiting for us. GMA Foundation had called ahead and local barangay officials had organized the locals.


We set up near the small health center, and opened up sacks of goods stored in our six-wheeler truck (the ten-wheeler couldn’t get up this far)…


…and distributed goods to 470 households in this barangay! That’s close to 2,500 people in what was described to me as sparsely populated, remote hilltops.


The crew would move onto Barangay Kanagahan where they would distribute relief goods for 425 households…


…pass more storm caused destruction and marvel at the power of nature — hundreds of coconut trees were snapped like matchsticks… and hit Barangay Tabongon in San Remigio which had 720 households waiting for relief goods! Gosh, can I mention the urgent need for birth control again?!?


The group passed by a barangay where OXFAM had just distributed goods and I believe they ran into the Red Cross at one of the barangays as well. But nowhere had any of us seen a truck filled with DSWD goods. Just saying for the record, we DIDN’T see any on our sorties, but ran into several from the Aboitiz Foundation, Oxfam, Red Cross, private Cebu City donors, etc.


There was one hilltop from where you could see both the East coast AND the West coast of the island of Cebu and some of the roads on the way down were better cement roads than those on the way up.


The team headed towards San Remigio to distribute the remaining packs…


…There were THRONGS of people waiting at the gates of the San Remigio Beach Club, and we parked inside the gates for a bit of crowd management.


These simple plastic basins were the absolute “hit” of the distributed goods. We have purchased and distributed 5,000 of these by now, and I feel like every single one of the folks in lines we witnessed would have liked to have one… They have become the “icon” of our efforts, as whenever GMA does short televised clips on relief efforts in Northern Cebu, you don’t notice our people, we wore no t-shirts with logos, our bags were plain white with no writing, our trucks had no tarps screaming the donor’s name, but you clearly catch glimpses of the basins, and you just KNOW where those came from… :)


The lines were daunting at the tail end of the trip, and we distributed aid to roughly 600 households in Barangay Looc and another 600 households in Barangay Mano, both in San Remigio.


The crew worked into the night, until the lines ran out and we finished every single one of the relief packs we brought from the city. Staff got home near midnight… but thrilled to have completed the fourth sortie up North. As always, I am grateful to our Zubuchon crew who seem tireless in their desire to volunteer and help, on top of whatever regular duties they have to perform. Thank you to the crew and again, thanks to the donors who make this possible!

Note: All photos by RD and crew.



  1. Klaus says:

    Fabulous photos and work. When I see what you and your staff have accomplished, I am reminded once again, how much easier it was for me to make a modest donation, the real accomplishment belongs to you and your staff.

    Nov 30, 2013 | 12:04 pm


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  3. millet says:

    thank you, MM and Zubucrew!

    Nov 30, 2013 | 2:45 pm

  4. Betchay says:

    MM, your generosity is infectious!….look at your crew and the Marketmanila community! God bless you and your family and your crew and the MM community!

    Nov 30, 2013 | 8:46 pm

  5. Susie says:

    MM, Barangay Tabongon in San Rem is receiving some pretty strong support from groups like 3V1G and other private sector individuals with links to the area. My daughter’s school, Cebu International School, has done outreach work with the school there that is now almost totally destroyed. Together with the private sector, we are working to rebuild the school and to get it up and operational as soon as possible.

    Dec 1, 2013 | 3:37 pm

  6. Rebecca says:

    Getting those goods directly to the people in need and not into the hands of the politicians and corrupt officials is such a big accomplishment. It’s not an easy task or goal to accomplish. With your hard work and perseverance you succeeded.
    Thank you so much for your work and Godspeed on your current and future missions, Market Manila.

    Dec 3, 2013 | 3:33 am

  7. Faust says:

    Hey MM is it possible to have indelible ink marked on their hands to avoid double entries or whatsover? I think its in the system of distributing goods my teaspoon of salt. cheers!

    Dec 3, 2013 | 8:06 pm

  8. Papa Ethan says:

    Featured in the TV news yesterday were these two characters who were openly selling packs of MRE (meals ready-to-eat). The packaging of the meals clearly and explicitly state that these are from the U.S. Department of Defense and that they were not to be sold. One of the “traders” brazenly sold the goods in his stall at a mall;the other offered it online. When news reporters tried to do a follow-up story, the merchandise mysteriously disappeared at its outlets.

    The sheer callousness of such people is utterly appalling. They truly deserve to be meted out some form of severe punishment. That is, if they get caught. Obviously, there is a well-entrenched syndicate that has perfected the system of pilfering foreign relief goods to be sold for profit.

    Dec 4, 2013 | 7:30 am

  9. Papa Ethan says:

    Dec 4, 2013 | 7:39 am

  10. Marketman says:

    Papa Ethan, that’s horrible. I agree, folks like that should fry. Faust, we did think about that, like a stamp pad for an event or bazaar, but decided against it. For the most part, folks are orderly and fair. As usual, there are only ever a few spoilers in each town and it’s easy to handle that if the crowd remains under control which it did for the most part of our experiences up North. Rebecca, yes, we wanted to get it directly to users, and cut out all the layers in between. That’s what the real challenge was and the logistics considerations are immense. Susie, will keep that in mind and try to get to other barangays in future… Thanks to all. Sorry for the trickle of posts, just really busy these days, but more posts up soon.

    Dec 4, 2013 | 7:45 am

  11. Papa Ethan says:

    Sorry, here’s the correct link for the news video clip:


    The url I earlier posted is just a news tidbit, no video.

    Dec 4, 2013 | 7:52 am

  12. natie says:

    Hello, MM.. The Holidays are busy times. Looking forward to The Tree. How’s The Dog? I miss him …

    Papa Ethan, I saw that in the news last night. It is revolting! The lowest of the low… The sad truth is that Justice may not be served..

    Dec 4, 2013 | 9:26 pm

  13. corrine says:

    Thank you MM and crew for all your efforts. From the news, rehabilitation is going to be a long haul.

    Dec 5, 2013 | 5:09 pm

  14. MP says:

    @corrine, rehab will be a very, very long haul. Some parts of Aceh have yet to fully recover after the 2004 earthquake & tsunami… And that’s just one province.. I am not happy with how our government has handled the emergency relief operations but i hope they will do much better with the rehab efforts..

    Dec 13, 2013 | 6:04 pm

  15. Ben Carmona says:

    We have a small group of volunteers coming from the US to help out. We’re hearing that work trucks and vans are needed so I was considering donating my jeep and having shipped to overseas. However, sounds like that could get expensive so I read it may be better to just purchase a truck once in the Philippines.

    1. Can a US citizen purchase a vehicle in the Philippines?

    2. Anyone have sources to purchase a vehicle or maybe donate one to the group we’ll be working with?

    Thank you

    Ben C

    Dec 29, 2013 | 4:53 pm


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