Traces of Supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Northern Cebu

Traces of Supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Northern Cebu
traversing the affected areas

A heart quenched is exactly how I felt as we traverse the roads from where supertyphoon Yolanda struck the Visayan Region mid-morning on November 8, 2013. Together with a friend and her family and some friends, we conducted an outreach program to extend help to those who are in the areas where help/relief is rarely provided. 
aftermath of supertyphoon Yolanda

As we enter the city of Bogo, Cebu Province, we were already exposed to the aftermath of Yolanda’s outrage. Small and big, thin and thick trees are partially and some completely drag to roads and grounds. Most of the houses are bare, with roofs blown somewhere as if these areas underwent fires. There are even houses totally damaged.
house bared by Yolanda

These cities, municipalities, barangays and towns can be akin to a dump site and/or center for scraps.

As we pass by, we saw lots of debris scattered everywhere not only in residential and commercial places, but along the roads and pavements. We saw fellow Filipinos in the streets extending their hands uttering “tabang sir, maam” (help maam, sir), a few with placards expressing what they feel and need. You can see in them the longing for food and water or anything just to put something inside their hungry stomach. Devastation is everywhere, reflected by the situation of all residents there from different walks of life; rich or poor, all of them were ravaged by the typhoon, leaving those who are mostly ravaged helpless. 

You can just imagine how these people continue their lives now, begging water to quench their thirst and food for their hunger. They mob vehicles or group of people they suspect bringing relief. 

All of these scenarios really broke my heart, hardly breathe that drop my tears. I didn’t expect it, I thought I will be going there to uplift the victims, but I wasn’t able to help being emotional that I literally broke to tears. Seeing the wrath of Yolanda through the destructions all over the area, I could have just imagined the whole disaster from the typhoon itself up to the trauma it gave to victims and survivors. 

Yolanda victims queuing for goods

Our first stop was in Sitio Tapilon, Daanbatayan which is just beside the seashore. As we get out our vehicles, people immediately came near and ask what we brought for them. The need for help can be seen in their despaired eyes. Not long after, we set up the goods and distributed to them. I was saddened because our relief items are limited since we still have to distribute to other areas. If we only have more resources to accommodate them all, but they are too many and we can’t afford to help everyone. We spent some time talking to some residents there narrating how they go about the disaster.
thirsty children waiting for their turn to fill their empty containers

Some of them are teary eyed telling their stories, while some are strong and just comfort themselves with optimism of hope for recovery. It makes you feel more inspired to help as you feel their sincere utterance of “thank you” as if you’re an angel, heaven-sent to them: to God be glory.


faces in need of help

We then headed to Canghang-at, Medellin, which seems to be a remote area, a bit far from the main road. Residents there were also greatly devastated by the typhoon that they flock towards us the moment we arrived. Water and food are what they badly need. What I observed there is that people seems to stay positive amidst the calamity as they can still manage to wear their smile. 

Residents mobbing us for relief
Supposedly, our last destination is in Tabuelan, but one of our vehicles got troubled that prevented us to visit the area. So we decided to give the rest of the relief to victims in Medellin and to those on the streets on our way back. Later on I realized it was a blessing in disguise as I learned from our companion that there are NPAs and/or rebels in that area and it’s getting dark already. It would be unsafe to still be on the road late at night since electricity and communication networks in these areas are still down. However, we still got home late because of heavy traffic.

Our mission turned out to be successful and we drop by at the hill top Virgin Mary Shrine near Bogo to give thanks for the guidance in carrying out our community program. Our long day trip and activity is worth the tears and sweat and body pain as we were able to help and put smile on the faces of typhoon victims in North Cebu not often given help. 

Virgin Mary Shrine in Bogo, Cebu
Hopefully, those who can read this article and those who’ve known the situation of these people other victims of Yolanda across the country will also share their blessing, in kind, finances or even service. The supertyphoon Yolanda is no bigger than the people, no matter what nationality, who help each other to stand up again from where they fell. With prayer to God, the almighty, we can all withstand from any trial that may come along our temporary journey here on earth. Let’s continue and pass through the prayer brigade.

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