Monday, November 11, 2013

Remembering Tacloban

I cried this morning as I saw on television images of the ravaged city of  Tacloban. It was no longer the same city we went to first on November 4 and then on November 6 when we returned from Biliran Island for a family vacation. On November 4, from Manila, we flew and landed at the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban, Leyte and then traveled by land for more than two hours to get to the island of Biliran. Because of the coming typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), we decided to return to Tacloban City a day earlier. It was almost evening when we returned to Tacloban City but after finding an accommodation, we had time for dinner and coffee at downtown and a walk to the pier near the public market to have a taste of their barbecue. The following day, November 7, it was already raining so we decided to buy umbrellas and some pasalubong (local delicacies and souvenirs) for family and friends. 

Now as I hear news of death and saw collapsed buildings and survivors lining up for relief goods, I remember the locals I met in Tacloban. The tricycle and jeepney drivers who brought us to our destination within the city. The crew of Kitchenitos who served our dinner. The people at Jose Karlo's who prepared our delicious, hot coffee. The street vendor of  sweet binagol and moron.  The hawker who sold us three umbrellas. The woman fanning the flames on her barbecue stand. The hotel staff. The sales clerk at the souvenir shop in the airport, and the many other nameless people we met on the streets. How I pray that they too, have survived the destruction of super typhoon Yolanda.

The thought of losing loved ones in a disaster like this is heartbreaking. But slowly, I hear reports of friends who have finally received text messages from their relatives in Tacloban that they are safe, though without water and food supplies. This brings much relief to our hearts and I pray that many more have survived. A lot more needs to be done to help these people who are in distress. This is also a reminder for us to turn to the Lord who alone can really save us from all forms of destruction. Let us surrender our lives to Him before it's too late. 

Turn to the Lord and pray to Him,
    now that He is near.
 Let the wicked leave their way of life
    and change their way of thinking.
Let them turn to the Lord, our God;
    He is merciful and quick to forgive.
Isaiah 55:6-7

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