Most of you have probably seen on the news about super typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) that hit central Philippines last Friday, Nov. 8. The worst hit was the city of Tacloban, where thousands of people are feared dead. I live in Cebu City, in the central part of the province of Cebu, which was struck just less than a month ago by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake (we still continue to feel aftershocks although it has become less). Cebu City didn’t suffer much damage, but the northern part of Cebu bore the brunt of the signal no. 4 typhoon (category 5 hurricane).
The typhoon came and went swiftly. As you can imagine, we were anxious and scared, with the rain and wind so strong, and the power gone. After the typhoon passed, we all breathed a sigh of relief that it was not as bad as we had anticipated. But when power and signal started working again, that was when we learned of the devastation in other places.
A few years ago, my parents-in-law built a beach house in San Remigio, about 100 kilometers away in the northern part of Cebu. They built it for family vacations, where all the children and grandchildren can relax, have fun, and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. They really love the peace and tranquility there, and even considered making it their retirement house in the future. Well, this is the house after Typhoon Yolanda unleashed her fury:
Here are more photos taken during our drive this morning to the north. Luckily, the trees and debris have been cleared from the road. Relief goods are starting to pour in already.
The pictures above are nothing compared to what is happening in the worst-hit areas. It is heart-wrenching to see people desperate and suffering, and at the same time it is heart-warming to see a lot of people helping in whatever way they can. Amidst all this, I am most grateful that my city was spared and am reminded of how precious life is – that it should be lived with joy, love, passion, and kindness.