• How did you prepare for the typhoon?

    Honestly, all we did was to just secure our house. Made sure that we stayed indoors as the wind got stronger. Personally I didn't know what a "storm surge" was, but my father said we won't be in danger despite the fact that we live near the coast, he said it was okay cause it isn't the Pacific ocean. 
  • What did you think the impact and devastation of the Typhoon would be? Did you understand the strength of the storm (i.e. storm surge, power of the wind speeds)?

    I knew that a storm was coming, but we all know that Leyte is prone to typhoons, I practically grew up knowing that some classes will be suspended every year because of typhoons. I didn't really understand the strength of the storm until after I saw the devastation. 
  • What were you thinking or feeling the morning when the typhoon hit?

    The wind was very strong, it was cold and I thought that it was just like any ordinary typhoon. I was kinda scared because I heard the creepy sound of the wind. But I was confident that our house can take it and won't be totally damaged. 
  • What did you do during the typhoon to protect yourself from the extreme flooding and high winds?

    As the water was rushing into our house, we thought it was only rain water, we didn't know that it was already flooded outside. The water rose up to chest level in just a matter of minutes, so we decided to get out of the house so that we won't be trapped inside. We held on to our window grills but eventually my family and I were separated from each other as the floods swept us away.
  • How did you feel immediately after the typhoon had ended?

    Well, devastated and terrible is definitely an UNDERSTATEMENT. No words can ever explain how I felt. It was as if the experience hasn't sunk in yet. I was like a zombie, just like many other survivors. The only thing that kept us going was the need to survive, finding food and water. 
  • What do you feel was your greatest personal loss during the typhoon (i.e. monetary, family members, safety, etc)?

    Family members. I lost both my parents, eldest brother, his wife and their kid. I didn't really care much about the material losses. That was the time I realized that family is everything and no amount of money or any material thing can ever compensate the feeling of loved ones lost.  
  • What did you do to survive the first 24 hours after the typhoon?

    My brother and I went back to our house and luckily we found 5 kilos of rice still sealed. There were lots of junk food and chocolates as well and we didn't know where it came from, so we brought it with us to our cousin's place where we stayed for the night. Our neighbor also had pork chops saved from their fridge so that was our dinner. I didn't really have the appetite to eat, but I had to because I know that it will be a long day the next day and I needed the energy. I also kept myself hydrated. 
  • How did you build or repair a temporary shelter for your family for those first few days?

    We stayed in my cousin's place cause their house wasn't totally damaged. The next few nights we stayed at a friend's house.
  • If you could go back in time to just before the typhoon hit, what would you have done differently?

    I could have just convinced my father that we stay in my Lola's place in Pawing. Their house was damaged but the surge was just about the hip level. All of us could have survived.
  • What lessons have you learned from Haiyan (Yolanda)?

    A lot. I can write everything here but it will be too long. I guess I'll just write the top 5 lessons I learned.

    1. Family is everything. And I mean everything, yes we have our friends, careers and properties. But when you lose your family to something that is out of your control, you wouldn't know how to start over. Because all these years, my family has been the strongest support system I had, now that they are gone I am still in the process of picking up the pieces which is very hard for me to do. Quoting a part of Mitch Albom's book, For One More Day- "But she was gone, and that's the thing when your parents die, instead of going into every fight with back up, you are going into every fight alone." That's how I exactly feel.

    2. Tell and show your family you love them everyday. Cliche, I know. But really, if only I told and showed them how much i loved them every single day I would. Our family wasn't actually showy of our feelings, but we make it to a point to bond with each other over food, travel and just talk about random stuff. That was our i love yous I guess. It's such a shame that we always think we have so much time here on earth. It is best to say and show how much we love our family and friends while we still can. 

    3. Life is unpredictable. It really is, I could never imagine that such horrific experience can happen to me and my family. I only saw that in movies, I never could have guessed that I would experience it first hand. Until now, whenever I wake up in the morning I still can't believe that Haiyan happened. I never imagined losing my family so soon. 

    4. Having good relationships are important. If it weren't for the good relationships my parents' built with our relatives, their friends and colleagues my brother and I will have a difficult time to survive financially. The friends of my brother and sister-in-law were a blessing to us as well. The help that we received from them was so overwhelming. Yes, they passed away, they are gone physically, but angels were sent to us in the form of family and friends to make us feel that we will never be alone. 

    5. 5th lesson I learned from Haiyan is that we have to remain optimistic and strong for each other's survival. For the survival of  Tacloban, for the survival of your family, friends, for every Taclobanon and for every Leyteno. We have to learn how to see the good in the bad and the happy in the sad. If we remain optimistic, nothing can ever hold us down. So let us continue to move on and take chances. The future is scary and unpredictable, I know. But as they say, life is not meant to be lived in fear.
# haiyanstories
# yolandastories
# survivor