Princess was pregnant when tragedy struck her home. The Taal Volcano erupted in early 2020, blanketing up to 14 kilometers of land with ash. Our Sabella Village project in Cavite is planned to be out of the permanent danger zone by a wide distance and was not badly affected. However, communities in Batangas and Cavite living closer to the epicenter were not as fortunate to be spared.
There is one more detail of this story that’s significant.
Saving the animals
Princess is one of the horses that used to call Tagaytay home. Tagaytay is well-known for being a tourist destination, but there are also gardens and farms around the area that have various farm animals and livestock. Princess was lucky enough to already be ferried out of Taal Island before the volcano erupted on January 12. Her owner had to give her up due to loss of livelihood.
The tragedy displaced and devastated the homes of many of the people living in the area. However, it was rescuing the animals that proved difficult. Many of those found alive had bad burns on their skin and exhibited signs of disease because of inhaling ash and smoke. Some had to be put to sleep, as their condition proved to be hopeless. The horses needed rescue, rehabilitation, and a safe space to be cared for as they were helped to recover.
Taal Adopt a Horse Program
Princess may have had one of the worst ordeals, but her life was changed as she became one of those taken in by MyCitiHomes’ Taal Adopt a Horse program. Because their owners couldn’t care for them given the circumstances, many of the animals were destined for the chopping block. 46 horses needed to be evacuated at the time, with the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) taking the lead on the rescue initiative.
Ms. Rosie Tsai, MyCitiHomes President, happened to see photos and headlines of the horses reported in some newspapers. She immediately searched for the source of the story, and travelled to nearby evacuation centers to check out the situation, “We have to outbid the butchers to save the horses” she said.
It happened that this help could not have come at a better time. The MyCitiHomes team had to outbid horse meat butchers to save some of the horses. “With so many of our developments in the Cavite area, we knew that this was one of our humble ways of helping out the community as a whole while it gets back on its feet,” shares Ms. Tsai. Inspired by PAWS’ initiative, MyCitiHomes was able to rescue 6 horses, only to discover months later that two of them were pregnant at the time.
The horses were sent to a ranch in Brgy. Pantihan 3, Maragondon. This nearly 11-hectare property is the perfect place for the horses to heal and live a new life. Currently, there are eight horses at the ranch.
Eventually, Princess and the other horses will be housed in Kaway’an Ecofarm. This 3-hectare eco-farm destination adjacent to Sabella will also feature horseback riding activity popular in Tagaytay.
Giving back to the community
Not only are the horses given a better place to thrive in the ranch, this project also helped several of the residents in the area by providing jobs. Stable hands and caretakers are needed to ensure the animals are healing well and in good shape.
One of them is Mang Eddie Oliver, who is a horse handler by profession. He is joined by his son Ronnie, who was a former machine operator in a factory in Saudi Arabia. Thanks to this initiative, they are some of the people who have been able to find steady work in the Philippines amidst the pandemic.
Today, Princess and her baby are happy and healthy, enjoying the space and care they are receiving at the ranch. Truly, there is no life too small to save.
The mission of MyCitiHomes has always been to act in the service of God. For 14 years, the organization has been building from the heart. It is their values that serve as guidance to make the best decisions to help the communities they are a part of. It is always the hope of the company to be an instrument of blessings to others, even beyond housing.