Moving on from the survival episodes of that fateful day in November, he decided to rebuild his life and start afresh. He vowed to fish again for the sake of his immediate and extended family.
Luckily, the stars were in his favor. He happened to be the uncle of a co-worker of Bunny Tamayo, a friend who had a small production company specializing in corporate launches and marketing events.
Bunny immediately rallied his friends and relatives to help Mang Dionisio. His wife, Peachy, put up a “begging” post on Facebook and with that, was able to buy a small motor for a banca (boat) in January 2014. Bunny happily hand-carried it to Tacloban and delivered it to Mang Dionisio.
The old man was ecstatic, and hope shone in his eyes.
Bunny was not contented though, and thought a brand new banca, rather than just a motor, would be much better. He sent me a photo of himself and a smiling Mang Dionisio and asked my help in raising at least P25,000 ($572) to buy or build a new banca.
Years in advertising and marketing sparked an idea. Bunny, Peachy and I launched a small-scale fundraising campaign targeted towards successful people we know in the advertising industry. It was very intimate; we only sent one private message to selected friends.
We asked Mang Dionisio to give us a breakdown of his budget, and this was his text:
“4pcs. na 3x2x16 is 1200, tpus 4pcs. na 2x2x16 is 1000, tpus 4pcs. na 1x8x8 is 1000, lhat po yan sir,woodtype, 4pcs.marine flywood is 3000, 2 leters cord marine epoxy is 1200., 3kls. bronse nail is 1800,,tpus tubo,elisi, tpus ang pgkakabtan ng elisi,tpus ang gagawing monibela is 7520 lhat,,tpus ang gagawin na pnaka kmay o panimbang sa bangka is 1800, yari sa kawayan yan sir..tpus pentora 2leter, is 1000, labor 6000... tpus ung (casko) kung tawagin, yan ang prang bangka na di sagwan ung yari sa puno na malaki, 11,000... yan na lhat sir.. cnsya na sir hnd ko kc alam kng anu english ng mga yan…. “
Despite his crooked English, it felt very sincere and it made a big difference. As a result, the response to our begging was overwhelming and in a few weeks, Bunny was able to give the money to Mang Dionisio to build his banca.
A few months later, we received grainy photos of Mang Dionisio posing proudly with his new banca – a true testament once more to his resiliency as padre de familia.
Before moving to the UK in 1997, Stella Sait spent 15 years in the advertising and PR industries working for Ogilvy and Saatchi&Saatchi. Her clients included Shell, Pepsi, Red Horse Beer, Tang Fruit Drinks among others. Now a 24/7 wife and mother, she also actively does voluntary work for the Children’s Liturgy Ministry. She is also the treasurer of the AngloFilipino Society in the UK. She is married to James Sait, company director of Cheatwell Games, a toys, gifts and board game company. They have two children, Donita and Paolo.