Saturday, November 23, 2013

My Experience Going Home to LEYTE : Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) Aftermath

I am from LEYTE. I grew up in Maybog, Baybay, Leyte. So when Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) hit my beloved province of Leyte. I am one of those worried individuals who can’t sleep, think and work properly thinking and worrying their family back home. Maybog is where we came from so 95% of the populations were my relatives, but my immediate family I’m most worried about was my older brother Patrick and his wife Nene, his kids Patricia 4yrs, John Paulo 11mos and my niece Den-den 11yrs. (daughter of my Sister). 

Six days after Yolanda hit on the ground, I was still unable to speak to my brother, and I’m only hearing news from friends and neighbors who were able to speak to their love ones or through sharing updates in social media such as facebook. This adds worries on my part, because I’m getting different stories of what had happened in my family and in our house back home. When finally my boss arrives from the U.S. she let me go and booked me a flight going home, taking Manila-Cebu- Cebu-Ormoc route. Since going to Manila-Tacloban is too risky for a girl like me to take.

It wasn’t an easy journey for me, as soon as I landed in Cebu. November 16, 2013, 4:30am on board via Philippine Airlines arrived at Mactan International Airport at 6:30am. I took a cab going to Pier 4, hoping I could catch the 11ish am schedule for SuperCat bounds for Ormoc. But to my disappointment 11ish and 1ish schedule bounds for Ormoc were all fully book and the only available scheduled is at 4:30PM. So I booked it, check in my luggage and took a nap at Supercat 2Go terminal.

As I was taking my nap, my unconscious self was talking to me; 

“Cristina are you kidding me? You’re going to wait for 8 hours doing nothing when maybe you can go out and check out if there are other sea craft that would leave early and who cares if it’s a fast craft or not, important is that, you will be in ORMOC before eve, or you’re sorry.” 

The idea of arriving in Ormoc at night woke me up, Holly cow!!! I am so dead once I get there late. Supercat 4:30PM will arrive there at around 8ish at night, no rides going home to my barrio and Ormoc is not a safe place to stay at night, there are no lights and the thieves are going around at night in the City. So I went out asking the porter’s working on the area. And they told me there is one, leaving at 11:00am bounds for Ormoc, The Lite Shipping. Went there bought my ticket and went back to Supercat ticketing office for a refund and for my luggage. 

At LITE SHIPPING, I meet people that I am thankful for, people who helped me and become my friends. And amazing crew who let me try how to drive the wheel for a moment that made me feel like I'm the Captain of the Ship.

Kuya Gaga Porter 5 Lite Shipping

I would like to thanked this guy in yellow (above pic). Kuya Gaga Porter #5 at The Lite Shipping he carry all my luggage, take note not just a luggage, my 40 kls luggage from the ticketing office till we get to my designated bed on the ship. I paid him 250 pesos, originally I made bargain with him from 250 to 200 and he said yes with no further complain, but when I saw all the hardship and effort he was to take just to carry my luggage, I felt awkward, I felt bad it wasn't easy and if I were to carry those luggage I would not asked for 250, I would definitely asked for more. Lesson Learned. Be Nice and Kind and avoid being Kuripot or Miser in situation like this.

Have you ever met someone who is so positive with all there thoughts when all their chances are zero?
With Ate Bingbing 

YES! I meet one inspiring hopeful lady on my way home. I meet Ate Bingbing at the Pier; she was in line at Supercat ticketing office when I was talking to the officer in charge for my refund ticket. She asked me why I have to cancel my ticket and told her that there is an early rides going to Ormoc. She asked me if I could take her along with me, with no question asked I nod and said yes, we went there together, and she look after all my things when I was running hoping I could get a ticket for her. I wasn’t even thinking if I could trust her. I mean she’s a complete stranger from nowhere. All I know is that we’re on the same boat; we want to go home as soon as possible. And in order for us to be home early is to help each other. 

On the cruise we were talking where we came from and where we heading once we lands in Ormoc. I told her mine, and she told me hers, to my surprise, she told me she’s going to Tacloban. As we all know Tacloban is the most devastated City hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda. Then she continues; she’s living in Cebu but her families were from Tacloban City, her Uncle, Aunts were dead and the only survivors from her family were her two nieces. She’s coming back to Tacloban to get them and take them with her back to Cebu. And her second reason for coming back to Tacloban that broke my heart is her missing mother. She’s so positive and hopeful that she will see her mom alive in spite what happened to Tacloban. Her mom is one of the prisoner's who escape when the winds ripped off the roof of the prison and from a flooded jail.

She told me she will wait her Mom for one year and was imagining that maybe the reason why she can’t get hold of her mother’s whereabouts right now, because her mom’s phone is low-bat  or maybe her mom is still in shocks because of what happened.

Listening to her story really made me cry  inside, If I were in her shoes, I would hope the same, as long as there is no confirmation of her death I would hope and wait that one day she will be home. Dead and Missing are two different story, when we say dead means no coming back, but when we say missing there is a possibility of coming back. Let’s keep them in our prayers that hopefully she will see her missing mother soon. 

Enough with the sad part, sharing you my awesome experience on board. I was the lucky two who were able to go up at the Cabin Crew Room the most restricted part of the ship. The LITE SHIPPING crew of the ship allows us to drive the wheel. Yay!!! It was fun feeler Captain of the Ship ang Peg ko :) They were super cool, with this white guy next to me I felt like were on educational tour :)

Related Blog Entry:

Super Typhoon Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda, was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, which devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, on November 8, 2013. It is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, killing at least 6,300 people in that country alone. Haiyan is also the strongest storm recorded at landfall, and unofficially the strongest typhoon ever recorded in terms of wind speed.-Wikipedia

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  1. Awe! I hope ate Bingbing found her mom. I felt sad reading about her story and yet she is still hopeful. What a sad story, but I can still she has a strong spirit. It still saddens me girl thinking about everyone in Leyte. God Bless, Leyte and God Bless, Philippines!

  2. She is girl. I hope she found her mom alive too! Super Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda made us Filipinos even stronger. Hard as it may seems now but I know God will help us make it through, lets keep trusting him girl :)