Tag Archives: Typhoon Haiyan

Relief Operations in Daanbantayan, Cebu

Pardon the long hiatus.  So much has happened over the past weeks and I got busy volunteering to help the victims of super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

November 11, 2013. Over lunch, my friends and I discussed how Yolanda wreaked havoc in Visayas and claimed many lives.  Moved, we decided to help in our own little way by pooling some money and giving out some relief packs to our kababayans.

We did not want to just buy the goods then deliver them to government agencies, NGOs or private companies for packing/distribution.  We wanted to give them out ourselves to ensure that the truly needy gets it.  But since we received reports of some desperate people ransacking relief aid vehicles, we decided to join C.A.’s church group who had with them NGO volunteers and military/police escorts.

November 12-13, 2013.  On these days, some of our friends who are not here in Cebu learned of our cause and decided to help us by sending money so we can reach out to more families.  I was touched and at the same time, proud of them.  It gave me hope too because I realized that in today’s world of I-me-myself-and-mine, people still care.

November 14, 2013.  My friends and I shopped for the contents of our relief packs.  We decided to include rice, canned goods, noodles, 2 liter bottled water, milk, medicines, biscuits, soap, and matches per pack.  We also agreed to bring bread (picked up on the day itself to ensure freshness) so that they have something ready to eat.

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We spent an evening packing them.  Initially, we only had 75 packs, but this increased to 125 when more people pledged their help in the following days.

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November 17, 2013.  C.A. picked me up at 4:00 AM so we can proceed to our meeting place.  I was pleasantly surprised to see volunteers (easily recognizable by their Tabang Sugbo shirts) crowd McDonald’s Mandaue.  We were all looking bleary-eyed but inspired.

A little past 5:30 AM, we headed to Northern Cebu.  When we reached Sogod, we saw for ourselves children lined up on the road with signs asking for help though Yolanda’s damage was yet to be seen.  We did not stop for them though since one modus operandi that we were told of involved children on the road asking for help but when the car stopped, the adults would appear to hijack the relief goods.

Yolanda’s wrath and its effects started becoming prominent when we reached Bogo.  We passed by houses that were either totally demolished or broken.  Most were roofless.  Trees were uprooted and a couple of electrical posts were down.

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We reached Daanbantayan at a little past 10:00 AM.  C.A.’s church was right in front of Daanbantayan National High School.  The building where their church was was also roofless.  So was the school and other buildings in the area.

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We distributed the bread while waiting for church service.

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Some random, stolen shots:

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Afterwards, we had lunch.  We then distributed the relief packs.

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And then decided to go to a barrio where the locals said the damage was severe and people were not yet given aid.

While there, we saw for ourselves how the super typhoon flattened houses made of light materials and rendered some people homeless.  It was heartbreaking.

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When the last relief pack was given, we decided to head home, but we promised to ourselves that we will be back.  Soon.

PS: I wrote this post for documentation purposes.  Thank you to those who helped our cause. You know who you are. God bless your good hearts.

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…

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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.