HomeEquality & Justice Praying for rain on an isolated Philippine island

Praying for rain on an isolated Philippine island

There has hardly been any rain this year on the island of Batasan in the central Philippine province of Bohol.

The island, which went 0.51 meters underwater after the 7.2 Magnitude earthquake that hit the province in 2013, has become prone to tidal flooding.

It became a new normal for the estimated 1,000 residents who refused to leave the island. They said they have adapted to the new conditions.

One thing, however, that they are worried about is the scarcity of rain. They depend on rain as their water source for drinking, cooking, washing clothes, and bathing.

The island has a total area of 54 hectares, but the land inhabited by the community is less than a hectare. The rest is covered with mangrove.

Some residents buy drinking water from the town, an hour-and-a-half away by boat during fair weather.

Houses on the island have rain water collectors. One of the water tanks dates back to 1935. But these collecting facilities are now dry.

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“We get our water from heaven, but there is no rain now,” said Epifanio Saavedra, one of the village leaders.

Residents chose to stay on the island despite the warnings of authorities. They said their livelihood depends on the island.

On Sundays, when Father Gee Christian Lagria leads the celebration of the Eucharist on the island, people always pray for rain.

This month, as Filipinos mark the month dedicated to the Holy Rosary, children walk around the island on an elevated path, singing and praying for the Blessed Virgin’s intercession that rain will finally come.

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