IT WAS a rough December for us Dabawenyos, ending with flood and fire, damaging not only properties but also taking lives, smashing dreams, leaving families devastated. But Dabawenyos are known to be resilient.
The fire the claimed 38 lives devastated not only the families of the victims but also the hearts of the Dabawenyos. It was the worst fire ever in recent history.
But before the fire, a raging flood damaged hundreds of houses in the city due to rainfall in the uplands brought by Tropical Storm Vinta. Different government agencies worked day and night to rescue the families at the affected areas.
It was one of the Decembers I experienced where I don't know how to celebrate Christmas and the New Year because of the unfortunate events that struck the city.
Despite leaving 2017 with a heavy heart, several Dabawenyos have high hopes for this year.
Shaira Cadenas, a graduating Literature student of a university in Davao City, said she still has high hopes and is looking forward to the completion of the planned City Library.
"Maybe for 2018, I wish that government could somehow find a solution for traffic and a much more effective waste management of the city especially in barangays," she said.
Some welcomed the year with warm hugs and intimate gatherings, but for the residents of Barangay Wilfredo Aquino in Davao City, it was totally different warmth they felt as 50 houses were burnt in the early hours of January 1 and left hundreds displaced right on the first day of the year.
One of the survivors is 100 year-old Gasa Ortega who suffered only minor scratches when the fire broke out who currently taking shelter at a religious formation center in Bajada in Davao City together with daughter and son.
Despite the fire that welcomed their new year, the 100-year-old still has a positive outlook for 2018 saying that she is thankful that everyone is fine just like her.
Nanay Gasa though wishes to get a birth certificate from the Philippine Statistics Authority. Her son Marciano Ortega said she did not secure a birth certificate before because there was no need for it. He too hopes that after fixing their home they can process the papers to finally secure Nanay Gasa her birth certificate.
It is not just the wisdom of a 100-year-old fire survivor or the outlook of a graduating millennial that can empower us, but it is our desire to think positive despite hardships thrown at us.
According to a survey, 96 percent of Filipinos have a positive outlook for 2018. It is always good to start a year positively, embracing challenges, and overcoming hardships.