Days before Typhoon Yolanda with international name Haiyan slammed the Visayas in Central Philippines and decimating towns and cities in its wake, we knew this super strong typhoon was coming.
News on tv, radio, online were scary detailing the strength of Yolanda and how big it is. We have to prepare, we were afraid that this is another Ruping, the super typhoon that left massive devastation in Cebu in 1990. I was still a kid when Super Typhoon Ruping struck our small island and I don’t remember much about it, but I do remember our family was huddled in our house while the men in the family were throwing anything to keep our roof from flying away with the ferocious wind. I also remember the almost three weeks of no electricity and relying solely on one improvised lamp, a wicker swimming in oil and water, for light.
With Ruping forever in the minds of the Cebuanos who survived it, it was no surprised when shelves upon shelves in the grocery aisles were empty days before the projected landfall of Yolanda – basic essentials and emergency kits were flying off the shelves. There was panic buying and long lines in supermarkets, people were scared for the early satellite images of this typhoon projects that Cebu lies directly on its path.
Friday, November 8, the day Super Typhoon Yolanda hit land. At 9 am electricity were already cut. We were bracing ourselves for the worst. The rain was strong, the branches of the huge mango tree beside our house was swaying dangerously. But it was not as strong as I expected and I thought then we had over-prepared. The pressing problem we thought after the typhoon was the “brownout”, little did we know Metro Cebu was just plainly lucky not to be caught in the eye of Typhoon Haiyan.
When electricity was back the day after (Saturday) and I saw for the first time the report of ABS-CBN reporter Atom Araullo while the storm rages, I was stunned. This was no ordinary strong typhoon that the Philippines is well acquainted with, this one is terrible.
Typhoon Haiyan, considered as the strongest typhoon or super storm to make landfall in the planet wrecked Central Philippines from Eastern Visayas to Central Visayas to Western Visayas, towns and cities are left in ruins, love ones were lost to the storm surge and flood. Leyte and Samar were off the grid for a day, no communication getting to and out of Tacloban, the region’s main city. There were also no new reports coming in from the international and national reporters who went there early to cover the storm. But when the reports started to pour in especially about Tacloban, it revealed the unimaginable devastations across towns. Nakakapanlumo 🙁
Super Typhoon Haiyan made millions of people homeless, took down houses and infrastructure, and death toll is rising.
Pinoys have been watching local news as well as foreign news sites. The aftermath pictures and videos hits you to the core. These are our countrymen, fellow Filipinos crying for help.
The World Responded, Aid Poured In for Haiyan Devastated Areas
The world responded immediately and very, very generously and we thank international news media for their comprehensive coverage of Typhoon Haiyan, because of it billions of people all over the world saw the devastation which moved them to help.
We thank all nations who have sent immediate aid and deployed humanitarian operations. Maraming salamat for sending not only relief goods and medicines, military men, medical personnel, social workers, mobile hospitals but also for sending big air craft carriers, boats and choppers that made relief operation faster.
We thank ordinary citizens of the world for caring and for sending aid via the various charities and organizations. We thank those kids who take it upon themselves to sell lemonade to gather funds for Haiyan donation, we thank the kid who gave his savings to the Philippine embassy in Japan. We thank everyone organizing donation drives for the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines.
We thank everyone for helping us the Filipinos. Bless all your hearts. Bless you. Bless you all. Maraming, maraming salamat!
The world came to our aid! Some of the news headlines:
We give thanks too to our own countrymen from the non-devastated places in the country for the bayanihan efforts. We thank all the private companies and organizations for the donation drives they are doing as well as the millions who have volunteered to pack goods in the relief centers, salamat too those who volunteered to drive the typhoon survivors to their relatives home in Metro Manila and Cebu. We give thanks to the thousand others who are medical volunteers, clearing operation volunteers, military men, experts in various fields who worked 24/7 to restore communication channels, who cleared roads, who rendered service.
We showed the world that the Filipino Spirit can’t be conquered, not by a super typhoon. Yolanda came, Yolanda wrecked but Yolanda did not crush the Filipino spirit. Bayanihan, we were united as one.
Donations Drives and Reaching Out
This was the first time I’ve seen grocery center aisles stocked with boxes upon boxes of basic goods from noodles, sardines, canned goods, rice, biscuits, water, hygiene items and more. The merchandisers kept replenishing by the boxes because both locals and foreign tourists are loading them to big carts. It warms the heart to see hundreds of people buying in bulk for sending to Tacloban, Northern Cebu, Capiz, Panay Island, Coron, Leyte and Samar provinces. A lot of friends are also doing private donation drives and some are even going to devastated places themselves to ensure that the aid reaches those who need them. Young cousins and their friends are also volunteering their time to pack relief goods in various donation centers after school hours.
This is not happening only in Cebu but it’s happening across the thousands of islands of the country, the Filipinos are rising up, heading the call to help our countrymen who desperately need help right now.
The OFWs, our countrymen residing and working in different parts of the world are doing their own fund drives and sending boxes of aid and cash to help the typhoon stricken areas.
I sincerely believe there is not one Pinoy who have not extended help in one form or another after Typhoon Yolanda battered our islands. This tragedy made the Philippines and the Filipinos united as one. It makes me proud that I am a Filipino.
Yolanda Aftermath: Stories of Hope, Stories of Kindness
These are just some of the stories being shared in Facebook that uplifts the spirit – random act of kindness in the face of this unimaginable destruction.
This client who instructs his lawyer to give whatever settlement the defendant wishes to settle for on a 10 year old case all to Yolanda victims:
This pharmacy store who not only offered discounts on medicines meant for the victims but also top it up by providing additional meds all for free:
This kid whose heart was breaking watching the video, seeing the state of the survivors.
This was a three part videos. On the third video, was this conversation between the kid and the mom:
mom: what do you have there?
kid: i got my piggy bank
mom: isn’t that for Chuckie Cheese?
kid: not anymore
mom: what’s that for now?
kid: for the Philippines
mom: so you are not so sad anymore?
kid: i’m not so sad
mom: because you can help?
This poor widower who lives in a shack and who do laundry and pack charcoal just to get by, she gave away what must have been her most prized food – an already opened bear brand milk powder because that is all she has.
For those who packed not only goods but also sending their prayers, wishes and love to comfort the survivors:
Those who volunteered to drive the Yolanda survivors who escaped Tacloban and landed in Manila and Cebu and brought the survivors to their relatives wherever they maybe.
These 3 kids na nangangalakal, they sifted through garbage and dumps to find cans and bottles they can sell. “Bigas, sardinas and trenta pesos” – what they earned for a hard day’s work which they give with open heart to the survivors.
Faith unshaken despite the ordeal and losing friends and families. Hope lives.
There are still a lot of untold stories, your self-less acts may not go viral on FB but God knows. Bless your big hearts, may what you share return to you many fold.
God Bless the Philippines, the Filipinos and the World
To everyone from within the country and all over the world who prayed for us, sent in help, thank you for helping us rebuild the Philippines and helping Typhoon Haiyan survivors to get back on their feet. The Filipinos will never forget your generosity and compassion when we need them the most.
MARAMING, MARAMING SALAMAT PO
Filipino Kids Find Reasons to Smile
There is a Hero in All of Us. Thank you for being a Hero.
For those who want to donate, please see this infographic pic with contact numbers and bank details for the Philippine Red Cross:
Maraming Salamat po!