by - 11:32 PM

At Brgy. Anibong, Tacloban City, Leyte
It was exactly a hundred days after Super Typhoon Yolanda turned the City by the Bay into rubbles which caused innumerable lives to perish, when I find myself back into the arms of a place I call home - Tacloban City, Leyte.

The people of Tacloban are now slowly picking up the pieces of their shattered lives although the remnants of the super typhoon onslaught remains.  Barangays San Jose, Nula-tula, Magallanes and Anibong are among the most devastated areas of the city.

In celebration of the 18th birthday of our youngest sister, our family decided to conduct a feeding program and at the same time made the first wave of distribution of our project #1pencil1notebook. Hence, our homecoming.

Charity begins at home.  Barangay Anibong being the place where my mother spent most of her life and a portion of our childhood memories created, then there is no other venue suitable for the outreach program but here.

As the people of Tacloban continue to live their lives normally, they will always be reminded of the painful past especially at Barangay Anibong where there are several cargo and passenger boats washed ashore the residential areas.  It would definitely cost a lot to dismantle the hull and we are not even sure if dead bodies are still underneath.  Countless stories remain as to their ordeal on how the boats were positioned now, other residents were saved by the boat yet some lives were taken.

Regardless of their current living condition and with the boats constantly reminding them of their ordeal, the residents of Anibong continue to live a normal life and with smiles painted on their face.  Truly, courage beyond words.  

A lot of international organizations were present on our first visit to the barangay which aim is to give aid to the residents, be it for food/relief goods or source of livelihood.

Makeshift houses were aligned yet unstable and I personally fear for their condition during rainy days, be it ordinary more so for a typhoon.  And even on the recent typhoon that hit Eastern Visayas (Basyang), trauma emanated on every resident of the city.

A raindrop would never be the same again for them.

Continued retrieval operations of bodies are likewise on sight.  In fact, as we were about to leave Barangay Anibong, we were able to witness a retrieval of a body of a child.

The Outreach Program

The main beneficiary of our program are the children of Barangay Anibong, homeless or not.  A process has been followed to be systematic and we are grateful for the aid given by our relatives in Anibong in making the program done in an orderly manner.

Under a good weather condition we were able to start the program at around 11 in the morning on the 16th of February 2014, 100 days after the typhoon Yolanda. The children obediently line up for their share as we give each of them food, notebooks and pencil.

A smile painted on every child's face is priceless.

#1pencil1notebook Project

As we believe in the value of education, my friends and I, all former residents of Tacloban City, Leyte currently based in Manila, decided to raise a campaign and fundraising for this special project intended for the children of Tacloban City, Leyte.  We aim to collect one pencil and one notebook from family, friends and relatives all over the globe as a way of sharing our blessings and gratitude that at least our respective families were spared from the destruction of Typhoon Yolanda. 

The campaign started through Mr. Elizur Orejola's fun climb at Mt. Maculot, Batangas, obliging each participant to bring one pencil and one notebook.  The small quantity requested indeed reached a long way and we are grateful for the positive response and support for the project.

The distribution on the 100th day after Typhoon Yolanda is just the first of the many scheduled programs to come.  For those willing to donate, you may contact me and the following if you know them through their social network accounts:
                 Elizur Orejola
                 Lader Derla
                 Bam Estudillo
                 Michelle Yu
                 Jadinne de Guzman

We'll keep you posted of the drop-off points through the FB page of Lakwatserong Tsinelas.

Moving On

I know everyone is eager to know the status of the city 100 days after the Typhoon Yolanda.  Yes, commercial establishments are now on site and a lot of entrepreneurs were born.  The Jollibee store is now open and there is now electricity in the downtown area but operating hours for Robinsons Mall remains shortened.

The controversial bunkhouses?  I chose to remain silent on the quality and which standards were used but the most important thing is, they serve as the survivors temporary refuge and as I visit the bunkhouse, others are still undergoing construction, which make me wonder when shall these be completely delivered when the houses will be removed nevertheless before the year ends.

At night, some restobars are now open and unlike before when drunkards and party-goers can go home even on the wee hours of the morning with a chartered motorcycle, now, it feels safe to be boarded on a private vehicle.

Every afternoon of this homecoming, I always see to it that I get to have quality time with my childhood friends, all survivors of Yolanda.  Our rendezvous was always set at a cafe named Jose Karlos (JK for brevity), in front of the Santo Nino Church.

The operations of the coffee shop is now normal with no traces of the onslaught of Yolanda.

During the 100th day after Typhoon Yolanda, as I sit on a bench at JK, overlooking the church and its goers and as I wait for my friends, I could hear the mass and never have I felt so touched of the homily in my entire life.  

Typhoon Yolanda was indeed life changing.  As the night comes, my friends started to arrive.  In this particular gathering, I chose to be early although it has always been the usual scenario of myself being the late comer.  The excitement to see them after their ordeal can't be contained.

I am blessed that my family and friends are alive.  Their stories shall live on and let us continue to support them.  The residents of the City of Tacloban still needs support, both moral and financial.  Let us make them feel they are loved.  

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  1. It is really disheartening to see Yolanda aftermath photos, but I'm happy that you were able to make these kids smile and for giving them hope :) God bless you and your family!

    Do you have a paypal address where i can send donation?

    1. hi mica! i currently don't have a paypal address. i'll send you a message on how to. thank you for your generous heart. god bless you!