My name is Sarah Reyes, 23, and currently living in Davao City. I’m from the province originally, so living in the big city alone was a great ordeal for me. Luckily, I’ve met countless and wonderful people that made it easier and more memorable. A few of them became my closest and truest friends and confidantes. One of them is Ms. Ma. Isabel Actub.
Five years ago, my hometown was one of the places devastated by Bagyong Pablo. I was in Davao then preparing for my exams when the news hit me. I was shocked, scared, helpless, and powerless. The feelings that ran through my being were debilitating. At that time, I was a volunteer for the school and that was where we first met. She was the one that did the orientation for students applying to be a volunteer. We would see each other often in the office and give greetings, but our relationship was a teacher-student one. That was until the typhoon happened. Out of all the people that expressed their support and sympathy, she was the one that really stuck by me. Every time we’d see each other, she would ask me how I was doing, if I needed anything, or if I already ate. If not, she would invite me to grab something. Since my whole family was back home, I didn’t have anyone to really fall unto and she became that. She really helped me. It was on those early days after the landfall, when I still couldn’t get a hold of anyone from my family, that she stuck by me. I truly appreciated everyone that expressed their support but the one I will never forget is her’s. Even after things settled, she still cared about my well-being. When I needed parental guidance, she provided it. When I needed a friend, she was there. She became My Other Mom. I don’t tell her as often as I should how she helped me when I was truly helpless and scared. How she lent me her strength when I had none; that because of her, I became stronger and more confident in myself by showing me how to do so.
I don’t tell her as often that I truly appreciate her and all the things she’s done for me. I hope that if this story is chosen, it may show her that even in this manner, I can express my appreciation for her.