This day marks the 2nd year anniversary of the strongest typhoon in history to make landfall—Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda. It took over 6,000 lives and left thousands homeless.
It was the most traumatic thing that ever happened in my life. Up until now, I can still remember Yolanda’s horrifying sound, the growling and her angry winds. I kid you not, I thought it was the end of the world for us.
The day before the typhoon
It was an ordinary day, if my memory serves me right, it was actually so sunny and humid the day before, stars were visible at night. (parang nag-jo-joke lang ang PAG-ASA na may bagyo) We were informed that there will be a strong typhoon coming. We took a half day at work because the news said that the typhoon will be so strong. The last news I’ve watched was Janet Napoles wearing a bullet proof vest on a trial. I bought some emergency goods. I was just expecting that it will be just another typhoon. Me and my siblings even re-watched Harry Potter movies. We are used to typhoon here as Leyte is the typhoon belt of the country. I experienced countless of typhoons in my life but I was clueless how freaking strong Yolanda is.
Hours before the Typhoon
I woke up around 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning, we can already feel Yolanda’s presence but it wasn’t really strong at that time yet. Before 7:00 am electricity was cut-off already. I was able to check at my facebook newsfeeds and FB friends were like, “Is this what you got Yolanda,” (LOL. That wasn’t the exact words but swear, I read a lot of statuses underestimating Yolanda)
During the Typhoon
Some of our neighbors decided to transfer and evacuate at our house because we are worried at the huge trees at their backyard. The typhoon was like Plants versus Zombies, it has a First Wave and a Second Wave.
The “First Wave” was already scary. Our whole house were shaking, due to strong winds, it’s like experiencing both an earthquake and a typhoon. Our roof wasn’t blown off somewhere yet, it just kind of collapsed. After the “first wave”, it suddenly brighten up, I thought Yolanda’s gone, I saw a glimpse of Mr. Sun and decided to go outside the house and was fairly shocked to see my neighbors houses. Some were extremely damage but I have to salute the really old houses, they were actually strong. Our Talisay tree was cut off, just sad. I was able to take some pictures but unfortunately all of my Yolanda photos that I took with our digital camera were deleted (It’s like fate was telling me to move on), except from the photos I took using my phone. But yeah, that wasn’t all. My Dad said it is not yet done, he said “Mubali pa ni ang bagyo.” (I don’t know how to explain this but the rough translation is, “The Typhoon will turn around, or the winds will change its direction while it’s moving, something like that, I hope you got the picture)
A couple of minutes later, the “Second Wave” of Yolanda have started to strike again. The strong winds are back. The “second wave” was actually kinda stronger than the first wave. The wind pressure is deafening. Definitely zero visibility. The other half of our house is damaged already. And the strong winds and the heavy rains are coming inside our house. It was like our house was breathing heavily. I tried not to panic. We were uttering our rosaries, we prayed and prayed. There were falling hollow block debris at our house because neighbor’s house is too high, I guess it can’t take the winds anymore.
We also decided to open the windows to let the wind in and out freely, it was very dangerous but if we won’t let it open, we felt like the winds going to lift our house even if it’s concrete. When we did that, our roof wasn’t making any creaking noise anymore.
It was around 10:00 or 11:00 when it was finally over. Dad initiated a warm and big group hug with the whole family and shouted “We survived Yolanda.” (We actually did that, no stir)
As we decided to check outside, I don’t know what I should feel, in just a few hours, Yolanda left us devastated. But material things didn’t matter, we were all safe and that’s the best thing that happened that day. Together, we faced Yolanda, together we survived it.
Fortunately, life casualty was low in Ormoc.
After Typhoon’s wrath
It’s like were back to square one. No electricity. No signal, meaning no means of communication. Food was limited and costly. Everything is costly and no internet (yes, internet) data is freaking slow at that time, I forgot I have social media accounts for almost three months, I have no updates on the latest anime or movies, updating my accounts at that time were never in my priority at that time. I even forgot what blogging is at that time. We don’t know if there is still life after Yolanda. Life was hard. But what’s important is we stood up again.
To be honest, because of the Super Typhoon I have learn to appreciate the simple things in the world.
- Food is limited so we would always eat together to save. Candle light dinner is the best with your family, talking and laughing, happy to have survived a calamity.
- Appreciating the stars, the moon, crickets, fireflies and mosquitoes. The quietness of the world. It was really nice to hear just the friendly insects whispering and the silence once in a while. Everything is visible in the dark (LOL, ironic), as you can see the stars freely because house is roofless.
- The flashlight wars. I mean sort of Star Wars and our Light Sabers are our Flash Light.
- Lining up for relief goods. I never thought I could line up for goods coming from all the generous people. A million thanks to you, guys!
4.1 Tried every dish you can cook with canned sardines and instant noodles. (My kidney is holding on)
- So many aircrafts, I thought they would shower us some money.
- The Fugitives, NPA and Badjao Scare. When all the boys and men are awake at night to guard houses in case of fugitive from Tacloban prison and Badjaos who were rumored to to knock at your houses and ask something or whatever. People were burning tires to lighten up the streets, we were also advised to hang red lights and bagakay (bamboo reeds) to shoo away the badjaos which we really didn’t believe in. Dad said this situation were normal, as we are still in the recovering phase. Rumors like this are normal because people are just scared. Plus, it’s all dark.
- Super high fare prices. Imagine a 13 to 20 pesos increase of fare.
- The horrifying long queues everywhere, from grocery stores, market and gasoline stations. Patience is a virtue, indeed.
- Media personnel everywhere.
- The help of the NGO’s and everyone who selflessly volunteered and extended their help to all the victims. It was heartwarming especially the sincerity. I’m praying to those who have the guts to spend or use the sincere help from people all over the planet for their own benefit.
There are still a lot of things that needs to be done here in Leyte, permanent houses, disaster management plans and many to mention. Even our house has a lot of repairing and renovations to do, as I want it to be more disaster proof. Haha.
As we commemorate this day, we pray for all who died, the people who lost their loved ones and their livelihood. Thank you, dear Father for all the survivors. Thank you God, for this life. November 8, 2013, we will never ever forget.