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RISING FROM ASHES

On a bright sunny day of the 12th of January this year, the Taal Volcano brought one of this year's first surprises: the volcano erupted again after 42 years. The ashes spewed by the volcano brought disaster and devastation to thousands of families and caused millions-worth of damage to properties and livelihood. Lots of families from the affected towns were immediately evacuated; leaving almost everything behind, unsure of what's to come and where to begin again.

One of them is Marilyn Ocampo, a resident from Brgy. San Sebastian, Balete, Batangas. She and her eight family members are currently situated at the Balete Covered Court at the Municipality of Balete, Batangas. Alongside her are 150 other families temporarily living in partition tents.

Marilyn lost her house and now finds it hard to find another source of livelihood. They used to live beside Taal Lake, where they mostly get their food and livelihood. She also used to plant food crops on a nearby mountain. Their life was simple, and it was enough for her.

And that was what she and her family miss the most. Home.

They were already moved from one evacuation center to another for a few times now, and they are already tired of it. Her two sons keep on coming back to their town in Brgy. San Sebastian to fish in the lake, as it is the only thing they know as a source of livelihood.

However, in these troubled times, she is still grateful and hopeful.

She is grateful most especially to the people that didn't leave them behind, and for those that keep on helping and sharing their blessings. It may be the hardest thing to do, but Marilyn is hopefully waiting for their next home.

May we continuously pray for all the affected families like Marilyn's, that they may continue to live normal lives again. Let us hope that more people will provide their pressing needs, especially for the repair of their houses and resettlement. Together, we will let them rise from the ashes of Taal Volcano!

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