GUINSAUGON, Philippines (KHNL)- Day Day Hopkins, a Hilo woman who lost 15 relatives in February's Philippine mudslide, returned to the Guinsaugon region to say goodbye to her dearly departed.
Hopkins, originally from the Philippine Islands, moved to Hawai'i nearly 20 years ago. Now, she prays for the friends and relatives that she left behind: "Eternal rest grant upon them, O Lord, and let the perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen." Along with her prayer, Hopkins says a final goodbye for her cousins, "I know that you are looking down at us and be at peace with the Almighty."
Though separated by decades, as well as miles across the Pacific Ocean, Hopkins still holds her recently deceased relatives close to her heart. "You have memories of good times when growing up, and now they're gone."
Upon seeing the landslide for the first time, she laments, "It's different. I couldn't recognize this place anymore. There's just so much change."
T hough it looks peaceful, all Hopkins can see is tragedy. "You cannot see calmness , " Hopkins explains, "because you see the destruction of it. This is just beyond comprehension."
She channels her sadness into helping the mudslide evacuees. Hopkins conducted a mental health seminar. She related, "There's that force within me to really do something to help at least. I can't do anything anymore for those that are dead but, for those that are still alive, we could help them out. Hopefully to ease out their misery." Her efforts are a small comfort for her - but a big service for those she's helping.
St. Bernard's Mayor Maria Lim spoke regarding Hopkins and the other people of the Aloha Medical Mission and Congress of Visayan Organizations. Mayor Lim related, "I'm so grateful to the mission. They've helped our people a lot."