‘Oasis’ Provider for Operation Sayote’ Volunteers Passes On
July 4, 2015
Bernardo Dicang, the Baguio boy who opened his house to Cordillerans needing rest and food while delivering “sayote” and other relief goods when Mt. Pinatubo was blowing its top in 1991, succumbed last Monday to liver cirrhosis in his home in Dinalupihan, Bataan.
Bernard Tiongco Dicang was cremated last Friday, according to his younger brother Swanny, one of the pillars of “Operation Sayote”, the longest-serving relief operation Baguio media organized in response to the disaster spawned by lahar flow from the active volcano. He was 85.
He is survived by wife Efrena (nee Reyes), children Erlinda, Fernando, Gregorio, Alexander,Bernardo, Celena and Dafrosa and 13 grandchildren.
Prior to “Operatioj Sayote”, Bernardo kept an annual tradition of sharing his blessings with children to keep the spirit of Christmas alive. When the Baguio media launched “Operation Sayote”, a relief operation as a way of Baguio’s paying back the support it got from all over in the wake of the July 16, 1990 killer earthquake, he asked his brother Swanny to use his to his home to recharge and refresh themselves from the lowland heat.
“As a result, he lost his chickens, geese and other domestic animals which were all turned into food by those who came to rest in his home,” recalled one of the media volunteer. “What he did – providing an instant home to us who needed refuge in Bataan = is a class act. We sustained “Operation Sayote” for three years because he turned his house into an oasis for Baguio and Begnuet residents on their way to and from relief operations at the height of the volcanic eruption.”
His sense of community apparently runs in the blood. His eldest son, Alex, a graduate of the Philipppine Military Academy, while working as PMA’s public information officer, drafted out of the blue a letter asking whether Hyundai, the giant motor corporation, could donate one or two buses for the cadets.
“What color?.” came the reply, enabling PMA to acquire a fleet of buses./Ramon Dacawi.