The Endurance of Tacloban: Heart of the Philippines

by Maricel

I’ve only been to Tacloban once in 2010. Funny as it may sound, that trip was my first outside Cebu area. That is why to me, that particular trip was very special.

It was devastating when Yolanda wrecked most part of Leyte, especially Tacloban. Til today, I still remember the Tacloban that night when I strode down the walkways across the city hall looking for something to bring home as a souvenir. Beautiful place with wonderful people. We were lucky we stayed in a hotel at the center of the city—the planning became less of a struggle. Together with my brother and his then girlfriend, who is now his wife, I had enough time to know and see Tacloban. Later that night, we headed to Palo to visit the famous landmark of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s Leyte landing. On that cold and starry night, it was impossible not to fall in love with Leyte even more. The memories are still fresh as that day that monstrous typhoon ravaged Leyte, Samar and some parts of Cebu.

While watching on TV and on social media the raw footage and videos of how Yolanda slowly and entirely destroyed Tacloban, I gripped my heart for what could still possibly happen. The streets drowned in the surge; some infrastructure torn as if they were made of paper; and people fighting for their lives.  I thought of Bantayan Island in Cebu— where it was forecasted that Yolanda would make another landfall. If something so powerful could destroy an urban area like Tacloban, how would rural people be able to withstand Yolanda? I fear for the lives of so many people, including mine, my family and friends. A year later after the typhoon, my heart still breaks for the people who were most affected, especially Tacloban. I hope these organizations and private institutions and individuals will not get tired of helping them rebuild their lives til they are able to make it on their own.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to you and the rest of your team. Kudos!

Global Sojourns Photography

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Violent winds swirl the dark, ominous thunderclouds overhead. The pounding waves crash onto the rocky shore and the roar of the Pacific Ocean makes its intention clear: thrash anything in its path.

With electricity in the air, I am oblivious to everything except the power coming my way as rain beats against my face, sucking me into the depths of the storm.

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Ever since I was young, the powerful forces of storms, especially on the Oregon Coast, have held a rare type of electricity for me.  Electricity that excites my soul and eliminates any trace of fear I may have.

Chasing the idea of becoming one with the storm.  Not just to see the power unravel in front of me, but to physically feel this rare electricity.

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The past three days I’ve experienced a different type of feeling.

Walking along the Tacloban city coastline watching the sunrise, I am beginning…

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