Val Clyde Carvajal lost his wife, their three children, and the aunt who raised him in the fire that hit their house in Arlington Pond, Barangay Sta. Cruz, Cebu City, on August 31, 2021.
What makes the tragedy doubly tragic for the 35-year-old father is that he is in Australia pursuing further studies and cannot return home to bid them goodbye because of travel restrictions during the pandemic, and he needs money for the flight.
Carvajal lost in that fire his wife Hannah Mae, 34; their three children Felicity Sachi, 12; Andre, 6; and Dan Henry, 3; and the aunt who raised him, Lilian, 72. Two other persons died in the fire: Jen Lyka Lino, 16, and Ivan Mejia, 58.
According to a report on the AustralianFilipina website at https://www.australianfilipina.com.au dated September 3, the deaths was an “unimaginable tragedy (that) destroyed Val’s aspirations in life.”
Carvajal is in Melbourne doing studies at the Pax Institute. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management degree in the Philippines and decided to take further studies in Commercial Cookery in Australia in the hope of providing his family a better future, the website report said. “They pay hefty tuition and endure the loneliness of being away from their loved ones to pursue their goal of giving them a better life and also possibly bringing them over to Australia,” it said of the thousands of Filipinos in Australia seeking further studies.
“He was doing fine with his studies and working part-time as a kitchen hand. He got his inspiration and motivation from his regular video chats with the family,” the report said.
Fire officials are still investigating the cause of the blaze but they believed the fire started at the house’s second floor where the victims got trapped. Investigators reminded the public following that tragedy of the importance of having a fire alarm system in the house. In addition, households must agree on a common area where they can gather in case of fire and hold drills especially when there are young children in the house.
The AustralianFilipina.com report said Carvajal cannot come home to Cebu “due to issues of being on a student visa, as well as the financial outlay for his fares.” He is asking for prayers and financial assistance to help the family cope with the tragedy.
Donations may be sent to Carvajal’s GCash account at 09959043883 (Van Clinton Carvajal) or his Bank of the Philippine Islands account number 0429000951. You may verify these details from AustralianFilipina.com. Members of Philippine community organizations in Australia have been holding fund-raising activities to help the Carvajal family. They belong to organizations such as the Radio Tagumpay, FCF Life Centre, Filipino Lesbian and Gay Community, National Alliance of Respectable and Reliable Associations, Alliance of Philippine Community Organizations, and the Filipino Women Support Group.