NIPC or Northern Iloilo Polytechnic College was known as Western Visayas College of Fisheries or simply Fisheries to Estanciahanons. It is nestled uphill overlooking the breath taking sea scape of the Estancia Bay.
THE ALTER HEART OF ESTANCIA
The school is also a playground to many families, young and old, and the park of Estanciahanons specially when on sunsets, people stroll to see the majestic presence of the islands and catch the freshest of sea breeze from the ocean. Most importantly, it is home to thousands of young students from many parts of Iloilo and neighboring islands. NIPC co-exists with Estancia, bringing in students by the buckets that stimulates commerce as well. Of course, producing our future citizens to help run our town and elsewhere in huge magnitude.
This image will remain to murmur in the soul of Estancia. An empty classroom with a solitary chair waiting to be occupied again. But when? Can you see the teacher?
Debris left memories of wrath of nature.
School windows with its grills and glasses gone with the wind and swallowed by the sea--now as calm and as friendly as it is in ordinary days for the past years.
A SCHOOL MY FAMILY BECAME PART OF ITS GROWTH
The school is closest to my memory because my mother was a pioneering faculty member. It is where my mother served as school nurse and Physical Education and Health teacher for so many years. Another sister was head of its College of Education, refusing to serve other schools even she had her doctoral degree just so she can serve our town folks.
I had goose bumps walking with my brother, a resident of Estancia, scoring the school. Instead of seeing smiling students, we saw empty spaces crying with pleading souls. These places were brimming with young energetic vibes from students. Today, they are deserted places with scars of total despair.
The storm Yolanda vacuum cleaned a classroom leaving only broken pieces of materials on the floor.
Students filled this hallways with their joyous dispositions, perhaps the teacher will go out of his room and scold them for being noisy. Now, in utter silence, the deafening silence created an eerie feeling like a ghost town.
Students are gone and the hallways are waiting to be peopled.
The school's fish processing laboratory is now a room of washed drift wood, broken wood and garbage.
I do not really like looking at this picture at all. It really makes my hair stand like this space is left to the lifeless soul. Nobody touched this room after Yolanda left. But the chair has faced a blank wall as if sending a message---"it is sad, sorry, but it is reality....face it."
We can not at all imagine how strong the surge of the storm battered heavy gauge grills of the school. Contorting these metals are hard work, it just easy for nature to do so.
School expensive fishery equipment gone forever.
A boat washed ashore at the rim of the school. To Estanciahanons, the little island on the backgroun called Bulubadyang is a baby island that grows throw the years. Perhaps imparting a meaning now, that life will move on and it will grow in spite of the sufferings.
The school gym crushed to the ground like a piece of paper.
Most gyms in the devastated areas collapsed like this. Why? Under gauge materials perhaps?
The stage where last summer of 2013 I had a fashion show to showcase the shellcraft livelihood of women from Gigantes Island and NIPC. Now, I see only smoke from fire giving it a hope to be re-lived.
The beautiful school as seen from its famous Apang hill. the shattered school has also shattered the feelings of the students--most of them can not take the stress and needs therapy to be able to accept it and move on with life.
Th school picturesque backdrop is the emerald seas of Estancia with its dotting islets. The sea has been the town's best friend, but it was angered when Yolanda's eye past the town.
Apang Hill has become lifeless.
War zone? No, we used to rehearse here in this lovely stage overlooking the ocean. The smoke burning the debris from destruction is a grim image for all not to take climate change for granted.
Fallin trees were too many to count how many branches were there.
Like a fish bone.
Students' walkways are left to the sun and wind.
Much to be repaired.
How do we rebuild?
They too get tired.
The boat-shaped school building endured, but its rooms were destroyed emptied with school things.
If you were to say " Good morning, Maam" everyday of your student life, what will you say to your teacher in this situation?
What was deafening was the total silence as I went from one room to another—which were empty and life less. My camera stopped. My heart stopped looking at a room filled with sea mud and totally destroyed. What teared me apart was the image of a solitary chair left wanting to be reunited with a student or two. I had an eerie feeling. I just can not imagine how these rooms were slammed by unforgiving winds and waves, the iron grilled where twisted into contortions a machine can not do easily. Nature’s wrath is so dangerously unmindful of what we humans can take in.
Surviving the wrath is still a happy sight to see.
My brother, walking alone is a deserted school.No other people were there except the two of us.
I felt so afraid to go in. I had to take a deep breath before I did have the courage to go into the rooms and explore the abyss of the damage. It was scary.
NO SCHOOL UNTIL JANUARY 2014
I am a positive person, but I doubt if students can go back to school by January 2014 seeing the degree of damage to the school and not a single new nail is hammered to repair the school back to its shape. While standing over the hill and looking at the aerial view of the devastated town, it will take more help that what we could imagine the soonest. I was overwhelmed I have to set my eyes on the calm sea and the islands for me to be assured, it will be okay. It is when I realized, God will appear to all of us, that what we can do to our fellowmen, we will do it to serve our Creator in return. It is just a question of time.
An indigenous tree stood unaffected by the storm. It stood straight and with leaves lush and firm. My brother and I shared the same feelings that the school will be able to rise again. This tree is a symbol of hope. In spite of the damage, our soul will be stronger, our character will be forged. In destruction, we rebuild. In God, we trust everything will be restored.