Cooking for Yolanda survivors | Inquirer News

Cooking for Yolanda survivors

/ 06:21 AM November 30, 2013

WHEN tragedy strikes, it brings out the best in people. While the magnitude of supertyphoon Yolanda’s unprecedented wrath has wrought havoc on our country, the seemingly endless outpouring of aid and assistance from our citizenry and from no less than 30 countries around the world is restoring and strengthening the Filipinos’ will to rebuild the destruction in Central Visayas and heal the broken spirit of its people. This solidarity in hardship is awe-inspiring.

Everyone seems to be doing acts of generosity and kindness to help–from the lowliest to the highest echelons of our society. There are so many touching stories of generosity, many of which will move anyone to tears and so many kindred spirits who have contributed time, effort and material goods in their desire to alleviate the plight of typhoon victims.


Hoping to escape the devastation in typhoon-hit Tacloban and Samar, thousands fled to Cebu, scrambling to get into the C-130 military transport airplanes. The survivors are finding comfort and shelter in sports centers and gyms in Cebu City and Mactan. With the influx of refugees, the DSWD is faced with the daunting task of feeding them. When the government appealed for help, a great number have responded and among them, a group of chefs decided to lend a hand in what they do best – cooking. So they organized themselves with Johann Young, VP and Culinary Programs Director of Academy for International Culinary Arts (AICA) temporarily keeping a desk at DSWD to oversee the release of donated food, goods and services. An enormous task, Johann sought the assistance of Hazel Quilatorio Ypil to coordinate with the rest of the chefs who volunteered to give their services. Hazel’s own family in Dagami, Leyte, some 45 minutes from Tacloban City, were lucky to survive the fury of Yolanda

Industry suppliers like Virginia Porkshop, Belcris Foods, Big Food and Ben Matoy, donated their products that were coursed through Chef Steve Shrimski of Canvas Bistro & Bar. With a big Kitchen in the Laguna Culinary Center, Chef Raki Urbina and his team cooked the donated ingredients for lunch and dinner good for at least 250 persons that were delivered to the evacuation centers. Over at AICA, Chefs Lorenda Torres, Nico Mabugat and Paolo Berdin were also kept busy cooking. Chef Steve’s wife, Eya Shrimski, also related that their own Canvass Bistro & Bar staff sacrificed their time to bring drinking water and relief goods to the remote barangays of Bogo by travelling at night so they do not miss work the following day. Having hot meals prepared by accomplished chefs must be sheer luxury to the refugees.


Long after the havoc that claimed thousands of lives, time will heal the pain and heartaches that our Visayan compatriots endured in the aftermath of the strongest supertyphoon, Yolanda, but the kindness the world has shown will be etched forever in everyone’s hearts.

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