Patricia Pagulayan is Tearfund’s International Communications Manager, based in the Philippines. She happened to be in the UK for work recently and was able to join Tearfund’s Director of Advocacy and Influencing Ruth Valerio to speak at the ‘No faith in fossil fuels’ church service in central London on Friday 21 April.
Patricia shared her experience of how climate change is affecting people in the Philippines. As she spoke from her heart, many people attending the service were stirred and requested we share her talk so that others could read it. Feel free to also share this with others.
We’ve ended this blog with the blessing that Bishop Olivia read out over the congregation at the end of the service, before we headed out in pilgrimage to pray and protest in Westminster.
Hi, everyone. My name is Patricia Pagulayan and I’m from the Philippines. I’m here to paint you a picture of how the climate crisis has been affecting us in the Philippines.
Our country has some of the world’s most pristine beaches and we have a rich biodiversity as well. However, we are also one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. We face disasters on a yearly basis. Every year cyclones cause catastrophic damages, destroying rice fields, livelihoods, homes and even lives. Because climate change makes the oceans warmer, we are already seeing more frequent and more violent typhoons.
A majority of our farmers and fishermen are poor and they are heavily dependent on the environment. My own mother-in-law is a farmer and I've seen first-hand how typhoons flattened an entire season’s worth of harvest, giving her a great sense of loss.
But it’s in these darkest moments that we see faith rise up. I remember my visit to one of our disaster response work in the coastal area of southern Luzon after a major typhoon hit in 2020. Fisherfolks’ houses were wiped out by ten-foot waves, thousands of families were displaced, and fishing boats and equipment were damaged. Fishermen lost their only source of income. And even in the midst of the aftermath, there was a strong sense of faith. People told me how they still believed that God is good and God will help them.