After an 18-KM walk in the blazing sunset between Catbalogan and Mationg, Samar we strolled around the surrounding communities to talk and spend time with the people who have recently been hit by Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun) which hit their area last July of this year. This is where I got the chance to speak with 45-year old Pacita Abancena, of Barangay, Poblacion 1, Motiong, Samar, who captured our attention as we saw her crushing mussels that they will use as bait to catch crabs in the shoreline.

She lives less than a meter away from the sea wall that was built by the government to protect them from the rising tides, her house is ramshackle with only a few spreads of water-damaged wood holding together the walls of her house which was ironically just reconstructed following their return from the evacuation center.

Her husband fishes crabs while she helps prepare the bait and sells the catch to the local fishmarket, it is their main source of income which helps them pay buy rice and provide allowance for their 2 daughters who are still in elementary school.

Looking back at Typhoon Glenda, she told that the area where their house used to stand was an entire community but unfortunately the storm surge washed away all except for 3 houses into the sea. She recalls that fortunately for them they were already able to evacuate the area in time and move to a public school-cum-evacuation center located in higher ground on time and that their evacuation was facilitated by the local government and the national police who moved them from their house to the center.

According to her, after typhoon Yolanda the government went all out on doing information and education campaigns for their area on disaster risk reduction and that the images of devastation from Yolanda was enough to make them heed warnings from the weather bureau and the local government.

What's frustrating for her though is that it seems that they now need to be always prepared and on the move as the weather now seems unpredictable and that also hinders them from building permanent structures because of fear that it would eventually be washed away again by coming storms. Though the government provides financial assistance for the reconstruction of their house, she considers it not enough to let alone buy the construction materials.

Hearing their narratives makes it clear that indeed the world has changed and a life of bearing with the spectre of extreme weather events has become a new normal for many people. It is stories like this that get lost in international discussions that have for many years been trapped in a deadlock flux of developed nations on the one hand refusing to owe historic responsibility for climate change and that of developing nations whose economic growth and capacity to adapt with the changing climate impedes even the basic necessities of survival of its citizens.

The walk is for Pacita and the many others like her who live with uncertainty as a constant. Hers is the face of climate change and her face is only one of the many that deserves justice.