Thursday, November 14, 2013

The calm before the storm --- My Eastern Visayas Journey

I feel mixed emotions just thinking about what to say. I am neither a Yolanda victim nor a survivor. But I've already cried over the fact that I almost got caught in the storm. I came back to Manila from Tacloban on November 6 --- a day before the super typhoon entered the Philippines. Some of my family and friends say that God was on my side since my life was spared. I really didn't want to think of it that way, especially when I have friends and their families who unfortunately got battered by the massive tempest. Of course, I still thank God for bringing me home safely.

My friend Coreene and I woke up from slumber after a good night's rest at GO Hotels Tacloban. So we really felt rested after coming from Biliran and Ormoc the previous days. Anyway, she immediately greeted me, then told me the news "may super typhoon raw na parating ah" (there's a super typhoon arriving). And when she said that it will make landfall over Visayas in 2 days, I breathed a sigh relief --- I was going to be able to escape the storm, as I was set to leave a few hours later. The rain was already heavy and strong that morning, so I thought that it was already warming up. But it didn't. In fact, Tacloban was all bright and warm (the kind that burns the skin) while we were touring our last few sites of the city. Her dad even drove us around, so that we'd no longer have a hard time commuting from one destination to another. And before I left the city, I still had lunch with Coreene's family at Ayo Cafe. It was a meaningful and laidback luncheon, and I enjoyed my time talking about politics and gadgets with Tita Anita and Geelee (Coreene's sister). 

I came home to Manila with mixed emotions. I was happy that I was finally seeing my family after 4 days of backpacking Eastern Visayas. But my heart was heavy too, for my friends were about to face one of the world's strongest storms ever recorded in history. We already know what the aftermath was... Then again, it's not my story to tell. I'm just relieved and grateful that all of my loved ones have been spared. They're struggling to live day by day given the circumstances now. But what matters most is that they're safe and still hopeful.

For now, I would like to honor the provinces of Visayas that Coreene and I visited last week. A lot may have been severely damaged by the storm. But I hope that in this post, that I may be able to show the beauty that once surrounded our beloved Visayas. In due time, everything will be restored.





I miss my friends. And not a day goes by that I don't think about their safety and well-being. Not a day goes by that I don't pray for their health. I can't wait to hug them and tell them that everything's going to be okay. #KeepingTheFAITH

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