Our family trip to Biliran Island, which is across the province of Leyte in Eastern Visayas, was planned seven months ago after seeing a travel show featuring Biliran. The island province was described as an unspoiled paradise with waterfalls, white sand beaches, hot springs, and mountains. Coincidentally, there was a Cebu Pacific promo fare at that time so we booked a flight in November.
But our excitement over our vacation was challenged by a series of unexpected events. A day before the trip, my husband had a slight fever. But after praying for healing and taking medicines, he was up and about. My daughter had motion sickness on the plane and had to endure another two-hour dizzying ride aboard a van to get to Naval, Biliran. But our biggest challenge came in the form of a super typhoon that was approaching the Philippines, and reported to be going towards the direction of the Visayas region, right where we were. This would have dampened our spirits had we not heard the message of 2 Thessalonians 3:3 last Sunday in church. Our pastor preached on 2 Thessalonians 3:3 which reminds us, "But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one."
It was an opportune time for us to trust God's faithfulness to provide, strengthen, and protect us in our situation and truly, we saw His favor. My husband and daughter regained their strength enough to climb mountains and frolic in the waters. Although our schedule for chasing waterfalls and island hopping had to be adjusted because of the weather, we were happy that the sun shone. It enabled us to make the short boat trip to a small, beautiful island in the province. Moreover, God prompted us to leave Biliran a day earlier so as not to be caught by storm Yolanda (international name Haiyan). And even when all the rooms in the hotels, pension inns, and lodges in Tacloban (the capital of Leyte) were full the day we arrived there (a group with many delegates was meeting in the city), a kind lodge staff called a tricycle for us and instructed the driver to bring us to a nearby hotel where we were accommodated. At the airport, we, the passengers en route to Manila sighed in relief and a few clapped their hands when our plane finally arrived.
As I write this, we are now home, safe and thankful for God's protection. But we pray earnestly for those who were terribly hit by the storm and wish that the government's target of zero casualty is reached. We entreat God to help the victims to recover. God is merciful to all who call upon Him.
"He made the storm still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and He brought them to their desired haven. Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love..." Psalm 107:29-30
|Downtown Tacloban on November 6, two days before typhoon Yolanda hit the city|