Banago love



One of the many horrific images I saw of Haiyan’s destruction was of the town of Guiuan, Samar. For days, we were cut off from Samar. All lines were down. But when the first aerial images showed up, my heart sank. It looked flattened… eradicated from the map. I feared for the many lives lost. Then it dawned on me that my friend in Samar, Renee Patron, was actually in Guiuan when the storm hit.

I went back to Facebook to trace her updates. Her last communication with us was in the morning of the storm – November 8 around 1am. Her status read, “Haven’t been scared in a really long time and right now I’m scared this typhoon hasn’t even really hit yet and it’s strong and loud outside. God please. I hope everyone is in a safe place.”




It went on for days — no word from Renee. Like many of her friends, I feared for her life. Patrick kept telling me to be hopeful because at least Guiuan did not experience a storm surge — “just” the strong winds and rain. I can’t remember now when we finally received word from our mutual friend Butch Carungay, that Renee and her family made it. And in true classic Renee story, she was immediately up and helping the community.

Folks, meet Renee Patron. She is the founder of Banago, a brand of fashion accessories made in Samar and sold in some of the biggest retail shops in the US including Anthropologie, Nordstrom and Tommy Bahama. Please watch this beautiful video of what Banago is all about and the great work they did with the weavers in Samar.


Video courtesy of


This is Guiuan, Eastern Samar now…

Photo courtesy of Banago.


Photo courtesy of Banago.


We can help Banago and the barangays in Guiuan, Samar get back on its feet. Many of you want to help out DIRECTLY and through private relief efforts. This is a good way.




This MALAYA Tote is on sale for $88.00 USD at Banago’s Haiyan relief site here. Your donation will help to heal and rebuild the towns that were affected by typhoon Yolanda, most especially on the islands of Samar and Leyte, and handled only by members of the Banago team.



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