Oh how many times can a heart break :(

October 15, 2013.  It’s my mom’s birthday.  I just woke up and was about to call and greet her when the earth shook.  It was the longest, hardest, and most terrifying earthquake of my life.  Thankfully, I and my loved ones were okay.  But my heart bled for those who were affected, especially for the people of Bohol who were hit the hardest by that day’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake.  

In the succeeding days, we had to endure thousands of aftershock.   The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported over 3,000 aftershocks.  Two hundred twenty-two (222) people were reported dead, 8 were missing, and 976 were injured.  Seventy-three thousand (73,000) structures were damaged or destroyed.

November 04, 2013.  A tornado hit Cebu province’s Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue cities.  I was in Aklan when this happened and found out the following day.  I immediately asked my Cebu-based friends how they’re doing and thankfully, everyone was fine.  But we couldn’t help but shiver at the thought of one of our hangouts (Park Mall) being struck, given that our favorite spot there was outdoors and that the St. James amusement park right in front of our usual table was damaged.

November 08, 2013Super typhoon Haiyan (locally named Yolanda), dubbed one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, struck the Philippines.  I was already back in Cebu when it struck.  I stayed indoors while it was wreaking havoc, but I could still hear the howling wind.  When I went out for lunch, the strong winds hammered my umbrella and I swayed as I fought control over it.  It was that strong, and this was already when it was at its weakest!

Back home in Aklan, my loved ones experienced the same thing.  I was really thankful that my brothers were home when this happened as it meant they were there to take care of mommy.

The aftermath.  Again, thank heavens that I and my loved ones are safe and well.  Our ancestral house sustained minimal damage (a piece of sun roof was blown away and a neighbor’s star apple tree fell and struck our kitchen), but as I was telling a friend whose kitchen was destroyed and rendered roofless, we have to look at the greatest gift of all during this hard times: we’re alive.  We can rebuild our houses, but we cannot bring back a lost life.

Which is why what happened in Tacloban, northern Cebu, some parts of Aklan and Iloilo, etc., – the areas that were hit the hardest by Typhoon Yolanda – brought me to tears and to my knees.  I cried at seeing the devastation, at the news of people going hungry, even crazy with grief…

yolanda 2photo credit

It was reported that as many as 10,000 are feared dead, and I can only hope that this figure will become an erroneous estimate…   

As of this writing, some of my friends and colleagues are still looking for their loved ones, whom they haven’t heard from since the tragedy struck on Friday…   

While I believe in the resilience of the Filipino spirit and appreciate the thoughts and prayers, I also believe that WE MUST DO SOMETHING to help the victims and their loved ones.  Social News Network Rappler has laid out the many ways that we can be of help.  Please click on this link: #ReliefPH

Please help.  Our kababayans need us.

4 thoughts on “Oh how many times can a heart break :(

  1. Tina Blackledge

    When I hear of these devastating events across the globe my heart is stricken. When authorities offer such huge numbers of those feared dead or missing are difficult to wrap one’s mind around. So many suffering, so much pain and immeasurable heartbreak of all whose life this tragedy intrudes upon. I understand that this post is a couple years old but I still had to respond.

    I feel utterly helpless when I hear of the suffering caused by these terrible disasters. Just recently, typhoon Pam, caused so much pain and suffering. I want to go and help all those who need it but it is not possible. I hold them in my heart and prayers and not only for the time of the tragedy but also during the long road of rebuilding. Mass disaster and suffering is extremely difficult for our minds to comprehend and for our hearts to feel. Blessings upon all those who have been touched by such terrible events.

    1. milai Post author

      God bless your good heart, Tina. Our prayers go where we cannot and for us, victims, knowing we are in your thoughts is helpful enough. Many Filipinos will never forget and are forever grateful for the help and prayers we received during typhoon Haiyan.

      Like you, seeing the devastation in Vanuatu broke my heart. We can only hope for the best and pray for those who were affected.

      1. Tina Blackledge

        My most fervent prayers follow those who experience these terrible disasters. The only thing these massive disasters are good for is showing the good side of humanity, for many step up and lend a hand. We each have our gifts that we must employ for the betterment of our fellow traveler upon this journey.

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