In the face of calamity, breast milk saves babies in Puray

Felicitas Llander carries her four-month-old baby in a sling she herself has made. Photo by Angelica Carballo,

On August 22, more than two weeks after heavy monsoon rains caused flooding and other calamity-related damages in Metro Manila and its neighboring areas, a relief mission finally reached Puray in Rizal Province. The town was cut off after a landslide chopped the mountain’s side and ravaged the access roads to the community.

As it is, Puray is nearly an isolated community and is considered to be almost part of the Sierra Madre mountain ranges. Hikers, mountain bikers, and other adventurous souls are the ones who are more likely to traverse the area. Pristine Puray Falls becomes a refreshing reward especially after the two-hour climb from the barangay proper.

As nature has a way of compensating for things, the remote town that almost has no running water or electricity, has encouraged its mothers to breastfeed their babies. Here, the women carry their babies on homemade slings made from katsa, old pillowcases, blankets, or clothes, sewn together by sack strings.

While other stranded communities in other parts of the country at the time were calling for help for milk formula supplies for their children, the babies of Puray were kept warm while snuggling in their mothers’ arms and as they latched on to their mothers’ breasts for sustenance.

These images, especially taken in August—World Breastfeeding Month—could not have shown it better that mother’s milk even in times of calamities is always the best.

Mothers, with their babies, in Puray, Rizal Province line up for relief goods. Photo by Angelica Caballero,