Reunited with My Friend after Typhoon Yolanda!

It’s been two weeks since Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) devastated some provinces in the Visayas, here in the Philippines. Even before the super typhoon have landed on our shores, the people were already warned of the potential magnitude of this typhoon. We were used to typhoons every year but we were not expecting the worst to happen to our country.


In the early morning of November 8, 2013, I was watching “Umagang Kay Ganda” show, wherein the host, Atom Araullo was showing  footages of how strong the typhoon is in Tacloban. I suddenly got the urge to send a text to my best friend Didit who hails from  that province and ask about their situation. She informed me that she was stranded in Catbalogan (where she works) and could not travel to Tacloban due to bad weather, but she’s okay. I simply said to her “Ingat” (take care) and that’s the last time I had a communication with her.

I was never aware of how massive the destruction was, not until I saw the footages on CNN and BBC. I couldn’t believe what I saw, the whole province of Leyte was almost gone. It was like one of the scenes that I could only watch in movies. I called up Didit to check on her but all I got was “the subscriber cannot be reached”. Another friend posted on our group page if there’s any news about her, but there were none. I searched for her Facebook friends for relatives of her and luckily I found her niece but they also have no idea of their situation since all communication lines were cut off from that island.  Everyday, I would check her FB timeline, hoping that she will post an update, I even tried to ask a favor from a stranger (who posted on Facebook about her own family who survived the disaster), that maybe she knew Didit's family  We were all worried and hoping that nothing bad happened to them.

Five 5 days after the disaster, a friend of hers posted on her Facebook wall that she just accompanied Didit to Tacloban to check on her family, and fortunately, everyone’s okay, I was relieved, I immediately informed her relatives here in Manila. After a few days, I learned from her niece that her aunt and other family members will be flying in to Manila to take shelter at their house since they have nothing left at Tacloban.

reunion, my friend, survivor
Didit and Me

Last Tuesday, finally, we were reunited with her again. I almost didn’t recognize her, she lost weight and looks like she hadn’t had a good sleep, she was wearing a pair of leggings, an old shirt and slippers. I hugged her tight as if I haven't seen her in ages. She recounted to us her story that she had to walk 7 hours just to get to her house since all roads are not passable to vehicles. When she reached her destination, she discovered that her house was destroyed, all that’s left are the concrete walls, she even joked about sleeping under the stars and the moon. stargazing,  because their roof was toppled by the strong winds. Luckily, they still have some food to eat but she was worried that it wouldn’t last long and they also fear of the looting that is happening, that’s why she decided to bring her family to Manila. So they went to the airport hoping they could ride the C-130 plane that is flying back and forth, carrying relief goods, but it wasn’t easy. They stood in line for 3 days, taking just a few sips of water and little food, no bathroom breaks, all she wants is to get her family to safety. After so much pleading with some military men, they were able to get on the plane and landed in Cebu, from  there she booked a flight to Manila that cost her P24, 000 for family a seven, it’s a good thing that she had her credit card to pay for the plane fare. From the NAIA, they were fetched by her sister. While we were chatting, I asked her if she hadn't slept well, because she kept on yawning and her eyelids were about to close. She replied, " I can't sleep comfortably at night, the images of the tragedy kept flashing in my mind."

my friends, reunion

























Our friend Christine, posted this photo on her Facebook wall, when this picture was taken, Didit even joked saying “Feeding the homeless and clothing the naked”, that’s how she is, funny and bubbly, despite everything she’s been through. We parted ways past 8 o’clock in the evening because she and our friend Joel are still going to pick up some relief clothing. She will be back in Catbalogan on Saturday for work and will be leaving behind her family here in Manila. When I asked her how were their rounds the other night, she texted that she got a lot of clothes and jokingly told me, “Now, I am you, I’m wearing your pants and your blouse!” That's my friend Didit, she may have lost nearly everything but at least her sense of humor and spirit is still intact,  that’s the most important thing!

To all the countries and individuals around the world who have reached out to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, Thank You so much!




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2 comments:

  1. Glad to hear that she and her family are okay, with all the bad news that we are hearing, something like this lifts the heart. Thank you for sharing.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I am relieved that she's okay and can smile despite everything, thanks!

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