AND THIS IS OUR STORY...THE YOLANDA CHRONICLES

by - 11:31 PM

with the hope of leading somewhere - taken at San Jose, Tacloban City, Leyte

I am a grandson of a fisherman.  Every weekend we would go visit my maternal grandparents along with my parents and my brother back then.  There were times I would go fishing with my grandfather on board a canoe under the scorching heat of the sun and even on a gloomy weather.  Life was simple then.  And that was part of my childhood.

When my grandparents were getting ill, my mother’s siblings requested them to migrate to Metro Manila. And so they heeded and left the city.  When my maternal grandmother died at Metro Manila, my grandfather then insisted that he go back to our hometown to spend his twilight years.  And the rest is history.  Truly, there must be something special in our hometown.  And it was Tacloban City, Leyte.

We grew up in a subdivision where others refer to as the floating subdivision, that is, the V&G Subdivision, which occupies a large area of the topography of Tacloban City.  A heavy downpour of rain and so much more of typhoons would cause our subdivision to be isolated from the rest of Tacloban City.  Back then, as an innocent child and wishing for suspension of classes, it was indeed a great quality time to just eat together as a family on a relatively long dining table, laugh and share stories of all sort.  Our humble abode withstood all those natural calamities, be it an earthquake or typhoon.

I am the eldest of six and we are proud to say we were given the proper education by our middle-class parents.  Everything was a struggle for them especially with the age gaps that we have.  I am a CPA-Lawyer and my three brothers are a Physician-Medical Technologist, Electronics Communication Engineer and a Marine Deck Officer, respectively.  We have two sisters, one is a Certified Public Accountant and the youngest is currently in college taking up Architecture.  For further studies and career opportunities, we have to leave our hometown in the meantime but every special occasion demands an attendance at home.

For all the achievements that we made and endeavors we have to undertake, Tacloban City has always been there as our central support system.  And even on my quest to be a travel blogger, Eastern Visayas has been so supportive that in the 2013 October issue of Espejo Magazine, it was a full page feature of myself as a blogger.  No amount of words can be explained how grateful I am despite me being a prodigal son of the city.  By prodigal, meaning I am rarely seen in the city.

While continuous communication is made with my childhood friends despite the distance, we still get the excitement of having to meet in the city each time I go home.  It really feels good to be home. 

The year 2013 was an intended year for me in reconnecting and discovering more of my hometown and sharing it to the rest of the world.  After almost 15 years, I was able to witness the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival and despite the typhoon, the show went on with a spectacular display of talents.  I was amazed and proud of the rich cultural heritage of my province.  From then on, several invitations were received from my childhood friends that we shall take a road trip of Samar and Leyte even if entails going home every weekend as my work is based in Metro Manila.  I did not accede with the simple reason that there are so many time for that.  I can always do that on holidays and long weekends if schedule permits.

Tacloban City was truly a highly urbanized city and more investors were willing to enter the market.  It was becoming organized and the local government indeed implemented its industrialized urban plan which I had the chance to had a sneak peek when I was in high school while my friend Jaja and I interviewed the then Mayor of Tacloban City, Bejo Romualdez back in the year 2004.  During that time I had doubts of the plan being implemented as how could the city construct an astrodome or an amphitheatre in a location which was then populated by residents in possession of the land since time immemorial?  And it was done as I saw it before my own eyes during my homecoming on December of 2011.

I am not a registered voter and if the same is a crime I would gladly surrender myself.  Thus, this is not to promote any political partisan but just to say that when given the resources and the concrete plan, in due time, a goal shall be achieved.

And 8 November 2013 came.  The day fate comes into play and changed the lives of every resident of the provinces of Leyte and Samar including my beloved hometown, Tacloban City.


“A GOD-forsaken place as they say.”  Innumerable properties destroyed and lives lost; scattered debris; uprooted century-old trees; flooded terrains; bald mountains and countless roofless homes.  These are what I saw in this unplanned but inevitable homecoming. 

Though it was forecasted and announced that a super typhoon shall hit Eastern Visayas, believed to be the strongest for the year, it was never expected that it shall defy the forecasted average strength of sustained wind which clocked at 195mph (314 kph) and gusts of up to 370 kph, making it the world’s strongest storm ever recorded in history.  Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) will surely be remembered in the history of mankind which sadly made my hometown in an unprecedented devastating condition and nearly erased it in the map of the world.

“Calm before the storm”.  This is how most of my friends in Tacloban City described the weather condition a few hours before the expected landfall of the super typhoon as posted on most of their social network accounts.  It was the usual rain they were experiencing during night time.  No worried predicaments were then displayed although they have been receiving messages from friends all over the world to be alert and to take care of themselves.  They did prepare for such based on the information that was fed to them on the repercussions of such calamity.

That deceitful morning came and their world was disconnected from ours.  Our lives stopped then as we await news coverage of Eastern Visayas region but hours have passed and no one made a report, even the largest networks of the country. 

My father, uncle and youngest sister were the only ones left at home.  At first we were confident it’s just another typhoon so they were already used to it, thus, no need to panic.  Then, a late night news came showing how the municipality of Palo was devastated which made me so weak that I was about to faint.  The municipality was so near our subdivision.  Then an alien term “Storm Surge” emerged.  Where did this come from? I said to myself.  Call me ignorant or dull but this is the first time I encountered such term.  Then my siblings, I and my mother were all worried for several news reports and stories came out that the flood reached as high as 15ft.  With the said report, the possibility of having the flood reach the said level at our subdivision was an accepted possibility as even a continuous rainy day can produce waist-deep flood.  During that time, we could only hope, pray and insist that we be boarded on the C130 plane to check on the status of those left at home. 

The longest week of our lives then began.  My brother, who is a doctor, was able to board the C130 immediately at the Villamor Air Base and so we waited for him to inform us of whatever happened at Tacloban City, where my mother and another brother in Cebu immediately followed on the same day at the Mactan Air Base on board the C130 as well.   Then I was the last one to go to Tacloban City, but already armed with the news that they are safe and thank GOD flood at our subdivision was of the normal level but almost all houses were roofless.  My father and sister do not know what happened outside so they were shocked when my brother arrived.  It was a sudden relief to them after that ordeal of fighting against nature for a second chance of life.  My father opted to stay in Tacloban while my sister is currently now in Cebu.

Courage beyond words is what my family and every family of Eastern Visayas endured during the three to four hours wrath of the super typhoon.  Relaying their experience moved me so much that prayers indeed are a powerful weapon.  Silently we cry over the properties and lives that perished during this typhoon, which name shall forever be remembered.

We have a two-storey house with five bedrooms and as I arrived home, surprisingly the roofs of the five bedrooms were all gone leaving only the dining area, dirty kitchen and sala protected by a roof yet flooded, glass windows shattered and the whole second floor vanished.  But the destruction of our humble abode is immaterial as long as my family is safe.  Safe now becomes synonymous to being alive.  




The big house on the right side of the photo above is the residential house of my grade school and high school classmate and our neighbor as well, Ms. Marisol Conde, whose house served as an evacuation center for a lot of families whose houses were completely destroyed by the typhoon.


As for the place of my grandfather where some parts of my childhood memories were formed, the area has been wiped out by the storm surge.  It was unimaginable to have received news that most of our family friends are still missing up to this moment.  This was at Brgy. Anibong.

Photo courtesy of Yvette Campanero-Gaspay
No one was spared.  And to say that one must be accountable is definitely all-knowing and an idiot.  Never make conclusions if you don't know the topography of the city.  The local government was crippled, all basic services cut and everyone from the province was isolated from the world.  Who then should be at the rescue?  Isn't it the national government?  If there is still denial then we must at least resort to our laws on national disaster and risk management.




****
FACTS WE SHOULD KNOW OF TACLOBAN CITY, LEYTE:

·It is the capital of the Philippine province of Leyte
· It is approximately 360 miles (580km) southeast of Manila
· It was the first city in Region VIII to become a “Highly Urbanized City” and is the largest city in terms of population in Eastern Visayas
·  It is the regional center of the Eastern Visayas, being the main gateway by air to the region
·  Tacloban was briefly the capital of the Philippines, from 20 October 1944 to 27 February 1945
· In an extensive survey conducted by the Asian Institute of Management Policy Center and released in July 2010, Tacloban City was ranked among the top ten most competitive cities in the Philippines. Tacloban ranked fifth overall, and second emerging cities category
·          
    Sadly, a new addition was made:  on 8 November 2013, the city was largely destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan

Leyte is a land built on stories.   The province has been a witness to the rich history of the Philippines and this recent unfortunate incident is one that will inevitably test the resiliency and true character of the Filipino people.  The survivors of the super typhoon indeed have their own stories to tell.  This is no hearsay and though some are still traumatized of the incident, they have reached out to tell the world their side of the story.

Stories of Survivors


"It’s been 20 days since the horrific nightmare that super typhoon Yolanda brought to our region. The destruction and devastation it brought to my beloved City of Tacloban would be something that would mark the lives of those who survived it.

I grew up in Tacloban. And for the last 3 decades, I have been nothing but proud of the place I call home. There’s always a sense of pride when I talk about the city I grew up in. Most especially when it started to pick up pace and slowly developed into the bustling city that it was. Malls like Robinson’s took notice and opened 5 years ago. SM Hypermart started construction in the downtown area. Business and employment opportunities were growing left and right. It was at its peak - till 20 days ago.

We’ve had our experiences with typhoons. Our country is normally hit by a typhoon an average of 24x in a year; so its nothing new. It comes so often that we treat it like any other typhoon we all experienced. We all know the drill by heart every time there’s news of an impending storm. We prepare rechargable lamps, flashlights, rainboots, umbrellas , generator if you are lucky to have one, gallons of mineral water since for sure there wont be any potable water available and food. We know after a day or two, things will go back to normal. It usually does. Or so we thought.

Nothing could have ever prepared us of the unforgiving Yolanda and the STORM SURGE -a term we are not even familiar with till its sadistic onslaught on our beloved city that left thousands of our kababayans dead, homeless, hungry and desperate.

Houses built overtime, childhood memories of places, trees where you wrote the name of your first crush, favorite date spots, places where the comfort of family and friend’s laughter fill the air are mostly gone. Landscapes changed forever. Landmarks vanished into thin air. What’s left is just memories of what it was before this all happened.

People started leaving Tacloban most especially when they started hearing stories of mob activities that left most business establishments of any kind ransacked and looted. Gunshots at night just like fireworks in your neighborhood. And they were not even from policemen who would have protected the city if they were not victims themselves. Subdivisions had to organize and establish their own command posts to keep watch and fend for themselves to protect their neighborhood from burglars since they are one of the areas in Tacloban that the tsunami like storm surge didn’t reach. Cars in the city, around San Jose, Fatima, Real, Magallanes and downtown area floated around like wobbly toy cars. Yes, the city was covered in raging water. One couldn’t imagine the panic people had to go through when it happened. No one expected it because it never happened before.

But no matter how bad the situation was, you’ll see the resilience of the Filipino people in general. You’ll see a group of family trying to rebuild their homes with corrugated roofs flown on the streets from other houses. Some refuse to be victims and volunteered to distribute relief goods themselves, others would cook with their dead loved ones just beside their houses. Some stayed when others left because they still believed that peace and order will soon be restored.

And now, little by little, though displaced, the HOPEFULL Taclobanons are returning to their homeland. Home to shattered dreams, but new beginnings.

Regardless of how Tacloban is now, because of its people; people whose faith remains strong, we know that our city will rebuilt itself from the ruble that was left of it. It may take time but I am certain that one day, it will rise to capture its brilliance even if its against all odds.

Sincerely,
Apple Anido- Alagon
A Proud Taclobanon

Here are stories of survivors from the downtown area of Tacloban City and the Nula Tula area, which has been badly hit by the super typhoon.

During the time of the super typhoon, the family of Architect Rhea Jean "Jiji" B. Baino were having breakfast when the wind blew strong and they got all nervous.  They did not finish their breakfast because they were alarmed by the sound of the strong wind and the window panes broke down. At 9AM, a big wave coming through their house was seen in the window of their kitchen.  Their house is located at Hollywood, Nula-tula where at the back of their kitchen was a big pond and few meters away was a body of sea.  The wave was estimated to be 15 ft high because the front of their house was a two-storey house and it reached the roof.  When a chance came for them to get out of their house, they ran as fast as they could to the two-storey house of their neighbor.  They saw the big wave splashed strongly on their back and front and it was a mere encounter of two tidal waves meeting.  They had the chance to hold on to the water reservoir.  Since Jiji doesn't know how to swim, she drowned and was saved by her father.  She couldn't move any longer, more sea water was logged in her lungs but she was conscious at that time.  She was rushed to the hospital (St. Pauls Hospital) and the nurse told them that they don't accept any patients anymore since there was lack of manpower and no doctors were around that time.  Her father pleaded and since they knew someone who works at the said hospital, she was accepted as a patient.  Upon admission, her father went back to find her mother while Jiji was accompanied by her sister.  

Her mother died.

The body of her mother was delivered in St. Peter but the management refused because of so many dead bodies inside the morgue and some were outside the building.  In the same moment, Jiji was fighting for her life.  Her sister was the one who took care of her and there were less nurses on duty so her sister was told by the nurse to inject the antibiotics through her I.V. Only one syringe was left.  Since another patient needs serious assistance and attention, they were deprived for that.  They were worried for the medicines since all pharmaceuticals were looted.  Jiji had a convulsion.  The nurse said that they need to get the water out of her lungs or else she will die.  Meanwhile, her sister was extremely hungry and sleepless as she has to monitor the breath of Jiji because when Jiji fails to breathe, she will have to wake her up.  The worst thing is that no medical supplies were available especially oxygen.

Her cousin went to look for antibiotics which he looted from the Bethany Hospital and some medical supplies.  All were soaked from mud.  When he arrived at St. Pauls Hospital, Jiji was no longer there and saw another cousin informing him that Jiji was taken by the C-130 together with her sister in one of the hospitals in Manila.  They were assisted by medical staff and she survived.  

She is indeed a strong woman with a petite body.  She stayed in the hospital for three (3) days.  For now, she wanted to go back to Tacloban and start a new life.  She is in dire need of financial assistance as everything was gone.  Let us help her rebuild her life and the shattered pieces of her dreams.

The story was narrated by her sister in law, another survivor, my grade school and high school classmate, Ms. Celeste Yago-Baino.  And this is her story:

The day before the super typhoon, my son and I were at home at Zone 82, Marasbaras.  I packed our things, including my sons clothes and all our things in  our room were placed on a higher area especially our bed foam and some clothing so that when the flood comes inside our house, our things won't be soaked up and all the things inside our house were kept secured just in case of heavy flooding.  At 4PM, my son and I went to my in-laws house where my husband lives (Area 7 V&G Subdivision).  My husband told me to stay with them because he has to secure his family too including his parents and his older brother's family.  I did not worry for my family because I knew that my younger brother and my brother-in-law will take good care of my mother that was left there  with my sister and her kids.

We slept early but we kept on listening to the radio broadcast so that we will be alarmed just in case of any incidents.  We woke up early morning at 4AM.  I got scared of the whistle of the wind, it was really heavy with a scary rustling sound.  I could not go back to sleep.  My son woke up too because he was awakened by the scary sound of the wind.  Then suddenly a loud thug was heard.  We went to peek on the window and I saw that the neighbor's roof fronting our house flew. I was afraid knowing that the wind was really strong.  We kept on praying together with my mother in law.  The wind kept on becoming stronger.  I kept on texting my brother that when the water rises inside our house, tell everybody to evacuate to a two-storey house near our house.  At 7AM, the cell site signal was down.  I could no longer communicate with my brother.  Then there was no electricity...

When the wind blew stronger together with a heavy rain, we were all crying.  Our roofs were blown away, the house was all wet because of the heavy rain.  When the wind blew hard, the window panes broke, it scared us alot.  We were all crying and praying every time the window panes broke because of the strong wind.  We were at the dining area where we were eating our breakfast.  I was feeding my son.  I could see in his eyes that he was silently crying while cuddling in my arms.  My husband was our motivator during that moment.  He kept on telling us, "do not panic! have presence of mind! Keep on praying! Just don't cry!  I could not swallow my food because I got numb of tensions.  I felt nauseous because I was really nervous.  My body was really shaking.  I was too afraid that my son will get hurt. When we saw that the flood inside the house risen up to the knees, my husband knew that the water outside the house is more deeper because their house is elevated.  So he decided to evacuate us to the neighbor's house just across.  Since we could not pass through the main gate because of the debris and big trunk of tree, he told us to get ready and pack our things and put inside the big plastic drum so that it won't get wet.  He tied the extension wire which was long enough to the right side of their gate connecting to the gate of the house which we were about to evacuate.  The children went first.  The current of the water was really strong together with the wind.  The water was at waist high.  The extension wire kept stable and we were able to safely evacuate.

Two days have passed since the typhoon, the flood was subsiding slowly and we were just inside the house.  I could not go out because my husband won't allow me to.  I was crying because I'm worried about my family in Marasbaras.  My husband went there since it was just near their place.  He came back telling me the good news that my family was safe, including my brother and his family who were residing in Pericohon.  I was saddened to hear the news that their house was washout by the storm surge.  The water was a roof high.  He was able to save his family together they swam to a safe place.  I was relieved to hear that.  Our house was also slammed down by strong wind especially our front balcony.  My sister was crying when she saw our house.  It saddened me but I'm blessed because my family were all complete including my relatives, unlike my husband, he lost his aunt and cousin and another cousin was in critical condition which was airlifted by C-130.

On the third night, we went back to my in-laws house since the water inside subsided and was cleaned.  My mother went to visit us together with my brother, but since there was a curfew until 6PM, I told them to sleep with us because it was dangerous outside.  The military men were scattered outside in every street.  On that night, we heard rumors through our neighbors that the prisoners escaped from their cells.  The residents were all alarmed.  We also heard that a nurse was raped by the escaped prisoner in Phase One V&G Subdivision and was killed.  With that news, I was scared to death.  There were also rumors that there are people outside of Tacloban who came to the area just to loot and take things from the house that they want to get inside.  They were armed  and climb the roofs to get inside.  My husband took his gun with him just in case an intruder will get inside the house.  During that night, I could not sleep.  I was very skeptical.  They were all asleep, when suddenly I heard a loud sound coming from the roof, I was alarmed.  It sounded like sombody was walking on the roof.  I woke my husband and told him about it.  He took his gun and ready to shoot and he told me that its was just a cat.  The paranoia was all in me every night every time I hear a sound from the roof.

The next day, we went to the house of my brothers' in-laws aunt in Sagkahan.  We opted to stay overnight because we all planned to travel to Catbalogan on the following day.  The food was scarce.  I was feeding my son with instant noodles and corned beef.  He doesn't like to eat because he was looking for fish.  All I could do was to fool him that it was a fish.  I was crying inside because I feel pity for my son.  We stayed in a relatively big house with a swimming pool and fenced with walls that were high.  During that night, I could tell that it was a nightmare.  The most scariest moment of our lives I should say.  At 9PM, we heard loud noises outside the house, it sounded like people were scattered all over the place and they were yelling.  Some were banging the gate with sticks.  I just couldn't understand what was happening around.  All I could hear was it was very noisy and since the neighborhood were some squatters, so I suppose it was just normal.  The men in the house ran into our room and told us that there are a number of men who wants to get inside the house.  We got so scared to the extent of hiding under the bed.  We were all shaking to death, the men were armed.  My husband, brother in laws, my brothers and my uncle were scared too because there were too many of them.  They took their guns and sharp objects just in case these intruders will intrude the house.  They did not sleep the whole night, taking turns to watch every corner of the house.  5 meters away from that house, they saw that almost twenty (20) men climbed on top of the roof  of the house and tried to ransack the house.  My brother  was listening to the transistor as he was also asking for help.  Suddenly there was a bullet that hit the transistor.  He thought that he was also hit.  Good thing that the transistor saved him.  He took the bullet and told us that the bullet was hot, he got scared too.  My brother in law gave a warning shot but it didn't matter  to the intruders.  They were told that they wanted to get inside the big house to loot or take things from us.  We were all sleepless that night.

These are just a few of the many stories of the survivors of the typhoon and its aftermath.  They have to temporarily leave the city but will definitely be back soon.

As I walked down the streets of Tacloban amidst the rubbles and countless bodies on the streets, a smile is still painted on every survivor met whose default question to me by some familiar faces was "Kamusta kamo?" It was a feeling that despite the adversities and emotional pain that they have to endure, they still have the time to care for others.  Families were starting to pick-up the pieces of their shattered lives.  Faith and hope emanated in the atmosphere of the city despite the relatively hopeless and desperate situation.  







I am a godfather of more than twenty children and majority of whom resides in Tacloban City.  For the traumatic experience they have to undergo, I salute their parents for the courage and determination to live and to leave the city in the meantime for the sake of their children.  It is true there were looters after the typhoon, but not all looters are to be judged discriminately.  They walked for hours from their homes to reach downtown area to get food, medicines and milk for their family.  It was a case of survival.






Equally devastated as Tacloban City is Guiuan, Eastern Samar, where only a few news reports were made.  They too need attention and relief operations.  A fraternity brother and a close friend of mine, Atty. Vincent Cablao left his promising career in Metro Manila to settle in Guiuan, Eastern Samar and serve his town mates.  But with the hard work and investments made, all were gone in an instant. 

Issues

As of writing, the city is slowly picking up the pieces but aid is continuously needed.

We, in the Visayas region, need an inspiration and not a perfect leader.  It disheartens me to know of issues on misrepresenting the number of casualties to make it appear that everything has been in control.  There is no one to blame and control should come into play after the catastrophe as we cannot dictate what nature has presented. Let us not dwell on the past, it is a finished act.  Casualties may just be a statistics to those in authority, but for us, it is more than a number, these are our friends, our neighbours, relatives, families and fellow Waraynons who we shall never see again.  Let us not increase the statistics on causes which we have now the control.

Again I am not an expert nor am I a person in authority on crisis management, but I know it was taught in school and even in our everyday lives, that we can only provide better solutions if we make a full assessment of the situation.  And full assessment requires full disclosure and refraining from giving false hopes to those in need of the information.  We pray that the principle “what you don’t know won’t hurt you” be not applied in the situation as we are talking about lives.  We should stand as one and as Waraynons declare:  Waray Bayaay. (no one should be left behind.)

The people of Eastern Visayas are survivors do not make them victims of bureaucracy.  Let us all unite and help one another and debate on all the issues posed after these survivors are fed and totally saved from desperation and hunger.

Guided by our history, it is not known when Tacloban became a municipality because records supporting this fact were destroyed during a typhoon.  It is commonly believed that Tacloban was officially proclaimed a municipality in 1770.  Knowing such, I have high hopes Tacloban will rise again like it did in the past and will be a one-of-a kind city that we should all be proud of. 

I call for my fellow Taclobanons to never abandon our city.  As soon as sanitation issues and security are restored and placed in its proper perspective, let’s all help rebuild it.   Like the late General Douglas MacArthur declared, let us all be guided by the quest that “We shall return.”

For us to be able to rebuild, I further appeal to the businessmen and the national government to extend the aid that these survivors need without imposing excessive prices on basic commodities and services.  Threat to security, life and property is the main issue on the city.  I hope the press releases are not merely for the sake of good governance reputation.  Action is much needed at this time.

I am completely dismayed of stories from survivors that relief goods are only for those registered voters.  If I was then in Tacloban City then I should definitely die of hunger as I am not a registered voter.  

Many survive the aftermath because survivors helped one another.  A spirit of brotherhood and camaraderie arose despite the emerging political agendas clearly transparent.  We, the people of Eastern Visayas, cannot just stand and accept on what information is being spoon fed to the public.  If there were no observers and no logical thinkers, then the aftermath of the typhoon would be just like any other news information, a case unclosed.

Moving Forward

With the successive natural calamities experienced in the Visayas Region, particularly in Bohol, Coron, Bantayan Island and Malapascua aside from the Eastern Visayas Region, let us all unite to rebuild and stand as one nation.  Support our local tourism and spread the word of how beautiful these places are and so as with its kind-hearted people.  Let us not keep the memories of the place into oblivion.  The said places are so special to me that they have been the subject of my recent posts.  The damaged national historical churches should be kept alive even by the mere posting of its existence so that future generations would have the chance to take a glance of what has been.

As for my home province, our memories of the place would never vanish with the tangible structures that faded and collapsed, but will rather be used as an instrument in rebuilding Tacloban City and creating new memories to live by and for stories to be told on the generations to come.  They will never be gone with the wind.

Tacloban City, my beloved hometown, may be gone for now as a city but it will be rising soon. It will just take a rest and will soon rebuild to pay tribute to the various nations, socio-civic organizations, nameless donors and kind-hearted individuals who are instrumental in helping us rebuild our province.

While the holidays is here once again, the thought of going home during this time of the year is just so painful that no amount of words can describe.  Reunions would never be the same again.  Attendance would never be complete (physically), but those who have left us would forever be in our hearts and will be remembered.

No matter how painful it is, we have to move on.  Yes they say Filipinos in general are resilient, but resiliency is caused by encouragement and support.  For as long as there is a government we can lean on, moral as well as financial support from family, friends and neighbors, recovering would then be faster.

Visayas is my home, make it yours too...

This is my contribution to the November 2013 PTB Blog Carnival hosted by Ms. Grasya Bangoy of This Grasya on the Road of Life with the theme Memories of Visayas.

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