But when the super typhoon Yolanda, (international name Haiyan) swept through my hometown, Victorias, I was wondering if school kids were excited knowing that this wasn't just an ordinary typhoon. This was a super typhoon!
I was also worried like everyone else, considering my home province was also in its direct path. And as Friday went by, the day of the typhoon's expected landfall, and the news, videos and photos from the heaviest hit Samar and Leyte provinces came trickling in through news wires, it was just total devastation, reminiscent of the tsunami that hit Japan a couple of years ago.
I am used to the howling sound of the very strong winds during a typhoon, but that day and night, alongside that scary, taunting and inescapable noise must have been the sounds of rooftops being peeled off, the ruffling of leaves, branches and tree trunks, the crashing down of electric posts and all weak man-made structures giving in to the strength of winds not yet felt and seen anywhere else 'in recorded human history', according to meteorologists .
And in my hometown, trees and homes were damaged as expected, but thankfully, no lives were lost. The brunt of the super typhoon wasn't centered over the Negros island, sparing the island from much damage of property and lives. And since this was the strongest typhoon ever, compared to Yolanda, the typhoon Ondoy a few years ago was a drizzle.
Sadly, the Samar and Leyte islands, which were the first ones to be hit had to bear the worst and most damages, and the conditions as we all see on the news are unimaginable, and we should all do our share.
For us who were lucky to have been spared from such pain of loss of loved ones, loss of livelihood and shelter, we can contribute by donating through organizations and charities we trust can effectively bring help to those who really need it.
As most organizations suggest, cash is easier for them to accept than goods because they can purchase supplies, water and food at wholesale. Most of them I guess already have a system in place and know what kind of help is needed most as well as the most efficient way to deliver them to our brothers and sisters. For example, donating through the website of the Philippine Red Cross (below) is very convenient.
Modesty aside, as I have earlier sent my own humble help through their website, I found it very easy and secure.
Although getting help to the people of Leyte, Samar and other areas affected is a challenge, but we all can do this together, especially with the help of other countries and people from everywhere, and for which we are grateful. We are a resilient race, and although Yolanda (or Haiyan) felled trees, destroyed buildings, ruined lives and shattered almost everything around us, there's one thing that no typhoon, earthquake or tragedy can crush, the Filipino spirit.
As most of us are saying now to Yolanda/Haiyan, "Bagyo ka lang. Pilipino ako". (You're just a typhoon, while I...am a Filipino.)
Some photos my sister took when the strong winds of the typhoon had somehow abated over our hometown in Victorias City:
(The dark, grey skies. Yolanda came to town!)
(Indian mangoes scatter on the road)
(The main highway through the city is deserted.)
(A mango tree gets uprooted and falls over a concrete fence, missing a neighbor's house by a few meters.)
(Fallen indian mango fruits)
(Barangay officials manning the
barangay hall during the typhoon.)
(Waving for a photo even during a calamity
is a typical Filipino trait.)(Putting weights on the roof to prevent
from being blown off)
(Looks like the weights worked)
My sister again took more photos a day or two after the super typhoon, which showed some of the very old trees in the city plaza uprooted. Some of these trees must be close to a hundred years old.
(Workers cutting off the felled trees)
(These trees have been there for ages.)
(A shanty by the roadside)
(A roadside eatery's roof all peeled off)
(City employees gathered in front of the Victorias City Hall)