Once Upon a Tragedy: A PhotoStory of When Haiyan Struck the Philippines

Once upon a time, somewhere between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea…

Image courtesy of Bulaclac Paruparu via Flickr

Image courtesy of Bulaclac Paruparu via Flickr CC BY 2.0

…there lay a unique archipelago named the Philippines.

• • •

It boasted of pristine white-sand beaches with clear blue waters…

white beach phil

Batangas Beach, Philippines
Image by Crissa Tenorio via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

…abundant natural resources found nowhere else in the world…

Image by Derek Keats [http://www.flickr.com/photos/dkeats/] via Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/dkeats/5211158701/]

Philippine Reef Dive
Image by Derek Keats via Flickr CC BY 2.0

…and picturesque sunsets of the kind that’ll take your breath away.

phil sunset

Sunset at Boracay, Philippines
Image by Carl Parkes via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

 • • •

But despite these stunning treasures, the Philippines hosts a people of notable humility and simplicity.

bahay kubo

The Bahay Kubo, a traditional house in the Philippines
Image courtesy of moyerphotos via Flickr CC BY 2.0

These people go by the name “Filipinos.”

The Filipinos are a remarkable people. They are hard-working and resilient, patiently bearing the hardship of life…

phil farmer

Filipino farmers braving the midday sun to work on their fields
Image by CJ Chanco via Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

…but they never forget to smile.

smiling Filipina farmer

Image courtesy of IRRI via Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

  ¨

No matter what month of the year it is, there’s always a festivity somewhere in its 7,107 islands.

masskara festival

Masskara Festival, Bacolod City, Philippines
Image by Bernardo Arellano III via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

They are among the happiest people in the world…

phil smiles

Children of Digyo Island, Leyte, Philippines 2008
Image by Jun Pinili via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

…and indeed their smiles are among the most beautiful

phil smiles

Sinulog Festival, Cebu, Philippines
Image by Carl Parkes via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

…the most authentic

…and the most heart-warming you’ll ever find.

¨

But as in all stories, it can’t be all smiles and peaceful days for the main characters; a stormy time has to come. Only, for this particular story, the “stormy time” is quite a literal one.

Enter, Supertyphoon Haiyan.

supertyphoon haiyan

Supertyphoon Haiyan shot from space
Image by Karen L. Nyberg/ISS courtesy of NASA GSFC via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Believed to be one of the strongest typhoons ever — the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, packing estimated maximum sustained winds of 195 miles per hour — Typhoon Haiyan had the whole world on tenterhooks.

haiyan

Haiyan traversing the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 7, 2013
Image courtesy of NASA GSFC via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Copyright 2013 JMA/EUMETSAT

Unlike its fellow supertyphoons which have come and gone without causing much fuss (as they did not make landfall and simply contented themselves raining down upon vast oceans), Typhoon Haiyan wanted to be a show-off and decided that it had to make its presence felt on inhabited land.

  ¨

At first, it wondered where it ought to go, and then something unique down South China Sea caught its eye (no pun intended).

Hmm, the Philippine archipelago, perhaps?

IMG_IL_13_11_08 typhoon haiyan nasa

Infrared image of Haiyan as its center was halfway through the Philippines Nov. 8, 2013 o4:00 UTC
Copyright 2013 EUMETSAT

   ¨

 Thus Haiyan (local name Yolanda) rained down on the Philippines that fateful day. 

typhoon haiyan

Tacloban, Philippines
Image by WFP/Praveen Agrawal courtesy of EU-ECHO via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

¨

Okay, so “rained down” is totally an understatement.

atom araullo haiyan coverage5

Filipino news reporter Atom Araullo braving the cruel winds and heavy downpour of Haiyan in Tacloban to bring the latest update on the calamity as it happened (Nov. 8,2013)
Screencap from ABSCBNNews Youtube video

“Ravaged” seems to be the more fitting term. Entire cities were flattened in Samar and Leyte, the worst-hit parts of the country.

typhoon haiyan hits tacloban

Typhoon Haiyan batters Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines
Image by REUTERS/Erik De Castro courtesy of Mans Unides via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

typhoon haiyan tacloban

Tacloban City, Philippines
Image by REUTERS/Erik De Castro courtesy of Mans Unides via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

   ¨

The Filipino people living in these worst-hit areas faced a terrible ordeal. The widespread devastation Haiyan brought upon Central Philippines was nothing short of apocalyptic.

haiyan devastation

Image courtesy of Caritas/CAFOD via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

¨

Power and communication lines were cut off…

Tacloban, Philippines Image courtesy of Nove foto da Firenze via Flickr

Tacloban, Philippines, Nov. 12, 2013
Image courtesy of Nove foto da Firenze via Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

¨

…and the damage and rubble extended to as far as any of them could see.

haiyan devastation

Leyte, Philippines, Nov. 10, 2013
Image by Joelle Goire courtesy of EU-ECHO via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

Image courtesy of Nove foto da Firenze via Flickr

Tacloban, Philippines, Nov. 12, 2013
Image courtesy of Nove foto da Firenze via Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

¨

Transport vehicles were destroyed.

haiyan devastation

Haiyan’s hurricane-like winds were unforgiving
Leyte, Philippines, Nov. 10, 2013
Image by Arlynn Aquino courtesy of EU/ECHO via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

haiyan devastation

Tacloban, Philippines, Nov. 9, 2013
Image by REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco courtesy of Mans Unides via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

   ¨

But even if our jeeps weren’t destroyed, asked Juan, where would we use them? The roads are unpassable.

haiyan devastation

Brgy. Batang, Hernani, Eastern Samar, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013
Image by Jire Carreon courtesy of Oxfam International via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

   ¨

And even if the roads were passable, added Pedro, where would we go? 

haiyan devastation

Guiuan, Eastern Samar, Philippines, Nov. 15, 2013
Image by Liam Kennedy courtesy of US Pacific Fleet via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

   ¨

Certainly, we have no office today…or for quite some time.

haiyan devastation

Leyte, Philippines, Nov. 9, 2013
Image by Arlynn Aquino courtesy of EU-ECHO via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

   ¨

We have no class.

haiyan devastation

Tacloban, Philippines, Nov. 10, 2013
Image by WFP/Praveen Agrawal courtesy of EU-ECHO via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

¨

We have no market day.

People looking for food and water at Estancia Town, Panay, Philippines Image by Torben Bruhn courtesy of the EU-ECHO [http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm] via Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/69583224@N05/10920265613/]

People looking for food and water at Estancia Town, Panay, Philippines
Nov. 14, 2013
Image by Torben Bruhn courtesy of EU-ECHO via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

   ¨

We don’t even have a roof…

haiyan devastation

A remnant of the trail Haiyan left at Tabogon, Cebu, Philippines
Nov. 11, 2013
Image by sparkyluck via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

…and in fact, we have no home.

haiyan devastation

Brgy. Batang, Hernani, Eastern Samar, Nov. 14, 2013
Image by Jire Carreon courtesy of Oxfam International via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

  ¨

 We have but a small bundle of scavenged things…

haiyan devastation

Tacloban, Philippines, Nov. 12, 2013
Image courtesy of Nove foto da Firenze via Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Image courtesy of Nove foto da Firenze via Flickr

Tacloban, Philippines, Nov. 12, 2013
Image courtesy of Nove foto da Firenze via Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

haiyan devastation

Tacloban, Philippines, Nov. 12, 2013
Image courtesy of Nove foto da Firenze via Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

…but we have lost more than our possessions.

¨

We have lost our community.

Southern coast of Eastern Samar Image by Conrad Navidad courtesy of IOM [http://www.iom.int/cms/en/sites/iom/home.html] via Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/iom-migration/10865900664/]

Southern coast of Eastern Samar, Philippines, Nov. 15, 2013
Image by Conrad Navidad courtesy of IOM via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

¨

We have lost lives.

Image by Joseph Agcaoili, EU/ECHO [http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm] via Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/69583224@N05/10922355065/]

Tacloban, Philippines, Nov. 16, 2013
Image by Joseph Agcaoili, EU/ECHO via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

¨

Where do we go from here?

haiyan devastation

Brgy. Libertad, Bogo City, Cebu, Philippines, Nov. 10, 2013
Image by Pio Arce/Genesis Photos-World Vision courtesy of EU-ECHO via Flickr  CC BY-ND 2.0

haiyan devastation

Brgy. Kayang, Bogo City, Cebu, Philippines, Nov. 10, 2013
Image by Pio Arce/Genesis Photos-World Vision courtesy of EU-ECHO via Flickr  CC BY-ND 2.0

haiyan devastation

Nov. 10, 2013
Image by Arlynn Aquino, EU/ECHO courtesy of Mans Unides via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

¨

The Filipino people cried desperately for help.

philippines call for help

Guintacan Island, Cebu, Philippines, Nov. 16, 2013
Image by Keith Morgan courtesy of Royal Navy Media via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

¨

No sooner had the Filipinos called, when the world was quick to respond, “We are here. We will help.”

UK lynx

A UK Lynx helicopter comes in over Hagdan,
Guintacan, Philippines to deliver aid, Nov. 18, 2013
Image by Simon Davis courtesy of UK DFID via Flickr CC BY 2.0

The US Navy delivered food, water and other humanitarian supplies at Guiuan, Eastern Samar, Philippines (Nov. 16, 2013) Image by Paolo Bayas courtesy of US Pacific Fleet [http://www.cpf.navy.mil/] via Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/compacflt/10898981783/]

The US Navy delivered food, water and other humanitarian supplies at Guiuan, Eastern Samar, Philippines, Nov. 16, 2013
Image by Paolo Bayas courtesy of US Pacific Fleet via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

US Aid - haiyan

Relief supplies airlifted by the US Navy to
Henane, Eastern Samar, Philippines, Nov. 17,2013
Image by Chris Cavagnaro courtesy of US Pacific Fleet via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

US Aid - haiyan

US Navy loading containers of safe drinking water for transport ashore
Nov. 16, 2013
Image by Peter Burghart courtesy of US Pacific Fleet via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

Aid - haiyan

Relief supplies flood in from all corners of the country and the globe
Nov. 18, 2013
Image by Jonathan de Guzman via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

US Aid - haiyan

US Navy and Philippine civilians unloading relief supplies
Nov. 17, 2013
Image by Beverly Lesonik courtesy of US Embassy – Jakarta via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

US Aid - haiyan

Guiuan, Eastern Samar, Philippines, Nov. 17, 2013
Image by Peter Burghart courtesy of DVIDS via Flickr CC BY 2.0

US Aid - haiyan

A beacon of hope for a starved people – Filipinos swarm around an MH-60S Seahawk delivering relief supplies at Guiuan, Eastern Samar, Philippines
Nov. 17, 2013 
Image by Peter Burghart courtesy of DVIDS via Flickr CC BY 2.0

US Aid - haiyan

Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines, Nov. 17, 2013
Image by Chris Cavagnaro courtesy of US 7th Fleet via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

IDF Aid - haiyan

A 148-team of the Israel Defense Forces medical experts
on its way to the disaster zone, Nov. 13, 2013
Image courtesy of IDF Spokesperson’s Unit via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

 

Medical Aid - haiyan

US Marines and AFP airmen working hand-in-hand, Nov. 14, 2013
Image by Lance Cpl. Caleb Hoover courtesy of DVIDS via Flickr CC BY 2.0

EU Medical Aid - haiyan

A Belgian field hospital set up in Palo, Leyte, Philippines
giving much-needed medical help, Nov. 16, 2013
Image by Joseph Agcaoili courtesy of the EU-ECHO via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

¨

And bit by bit, the Filipino could smile again.

IDF Medical Aid - haiyan

Medical experts of the Israel Defense Forces at the heart of the disaster zone
Nov. 18, 2013
Image courtesy of IDF Spokesperson’s Unit via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

¨

Hope was born amidst a sea of hopeless destruction…

a baby is born

A baby is born at the IDF Rescue Mission’s field hospital in Bogo City, Northern Cebu. The baby’s parents named him Israel, after the country that aided his birth into the world.
Nov. 15, 2013
Image courtesy of IDF Spokesperson’s Unit via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

¨

…and the Filipinos could only be grateful for the great helping hand of the world’s nations that pledged and delivered aid…

Image retrieved from @MatamaanKa via Twitter

Image retrieved from @MatamaanKa via Twitter

¨

…and look up to the warm generosity with which the rest of humanity embraced it.

IDF Med Aid - haiyan

At the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Field Hospital, Nov. 18, 2013
Image courtesy of IDF Spokesperson’s Unit via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

As much as a happily-ever-after would sound good right about now, the real story dictates another plot twist. The outpouring of help from both within and outside the Philippines did not manage to easily flow into the hollow vessel Haiyan bore into the middle of the country.

As days passed, the country began to speculate on why only trickles were making their way out of a full pitcher when so many glasses needed to be filled.

¨

The Filipino people were divided on the issue.

Was it lack of organization and incompetence in leadership?

Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III

Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III
Image courtesy of Asia Society via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Or are we expecting too much and being too hard on the government?

The rest of the Filipinos wondered and debated and thought some more, while those badly afflicted could only hold on to hope that help would come sooner than the hooded black figure with a scythe.

 • • •

Meanwhile, a few other matters were irking Filipinos.

Philippine broadcaster Korina Sanchez, wife of DILG Sec. Mar Roxas, clashed with CNN's Anderson Cooper didn't know what he was talking about  Image courtesy of southomer.com [http://southomer.com/anderson-cooper-cnn-speaks-korina-sanchez-radio-comments-video/]

Philippine broadcaster Korina Sanchez, wife of DILG Sec. Mar Roxas, clashed with CNN’s Anderson Cooper when she commented on the accuracy of Cooper’s reporting regarding the situation at Tacloban
(Image courtesy of southomer.com)

Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay earned the wrath of the Filipino people when relief goods for Haiyan-hit areas were boldly stamped with his name Image courtesy of talk.PH [http://www.talk.ph/1536/vp-binays-epal-moves-yolanda-relief-angers-web/]

Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay ignited the wrath of the Filipino people when relief goods for Haiyan-hit areas were boldly stamped with his name
(Image courtesy of talk.PH)

Korina Sanchez also received additional backlash when netizens spotted her name imprinted on these slippers donated for Haiyan victims Image courtesy of talk.PH [http://www.talk.ph/1731/korina-sanchezs-donation-yolanda-victims-useless-netizens/]

Korina Sanchez also received additional backlash when netizens spotted her name imprinted on these slippers donated for Haiyan victims
(Image courtesy of talk.PH)

But such issues of political gimmickry, attempts to protect the government’s image, and finger-pointing battles between the LGUs and the national government are, as Anderson Cooper would put it, “all just kind of a bizarre side show.” Cooper continues, The only thing that matters is what’s happening on the ground, and is aid getting to people who need it most?”

¨

That is indeed the right question to ask. And while individual civilians can only do (and rage) so much to help in the relief efforts and try to hasten the delivery of aid to the needy, there’s no denying that in the aftermath of this tragedy, we saw no shortage of inspiring acts of altruism and kindness by people from all walks of life, from all across the globe.

Volunteers sorting and repacking emergency supplies at the Tacloban Task Force Logistics headquarters Nov. 19, 2013 Image courtesy of USAID [http://www.usaid.gov/philippines]/US Embassy-Manila [http://manila.usembassy.gov/] via Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/usembassymanila/10935591704/]

Filipinos from all corners of the country helped in the relief operations by volunteering their time and effort in sorting and repacking donated goods and emergency supplies at various organizations and agencies. Shown here are volunteers at the Tacloban Task Force Logistics headquarters, Philippines (Nov. 19, 2013)
Image courtesy of USAID/US Embassy-Manila via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

¨

Grade 1 students of Southridge School in Metro Manila made sure to max out the hope their donations brought by including handwritten notes of support along with the relief goods they sent   Images by Aileen Payumo [https://www.facebook.com/aileen.payumo] via Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=819403277143&set=pcb.819403297103&type=1&theater,

Grade 1 students of Southridge School in Metro Manila, Philippines made sure to max out the hope their donations brought by including handwritten notes of support along with the relief goods they sent
(Images by Aileen Payumo via Facebook)

¨

pre-schooler from Tokyo donates savings

Pre-schooler Shoichi Kondoh of Tokyo donated his piggybank savings amounting JPY 5,000 for the benefit of Haiyan victims
Nov. 14, 2013
(Image by R. Gavino via Philippine Embassy–Tokyo)

¨

kindness for Haiyan victims

An old lady who worked as a laundrywoman and charcoal packer gave this half-opened pack of powdered milk to her neighbor Oj Trance Atilano (who was soliciting for donations to Haiyan victims) and apologized for having only that to spare for the affected people in Leyte, since she herself was struggling to make ends meet.
(Image by Oj Trance Atilano via Facebook)

¨

Street kid Benjie, who can be found begging for money everyday, donated 2 pesos to a donation drop-off center at Butuan City, Mindanao. Image by Brown Man via Facebook

Street kid Benjie, who was commonly found begging for money everyday, donated 2 pesos to a donation drop-off center for the benefit of Haiyan victims at Butuan City, Mindanao, Philippines (Nov. 13, 2013)
Image and story by Brown Man via Facebook

¨

Philippine actress Anne Curtis held a garage sale that raised PhP370k and donated her talent fee for her Doha concert all for the benefit of Typhoon Haiyan victims.  (Images from Anne Curtis' Instagram)

Philippine actress Anne Curtis held a garage sale that raised PhP370k and donated her Doha concert talent fee all for the benefit of Typhoon Haiyan victims
(Images from Anne Curtis’ Instagram account)

¨

Netizens helped spread the call for help by posting “unselfies” encouraging people to donate for the benefit of Haiyan victims Image by Daphne Oseña-Paez [http://daphne.ph/] courtesy of Our Awesome Planet [http://www.ourawesomeplanet.com/] via Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/diaz/10921693636/]

Netizens helped spread the call for help by posting “unselfies” encouraging people to donate for the benefit of Haiyan victims
(Image by Daphne Oseña-Paez courtesy of Our Awesome Planet via Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

 ¨

phil united as one

Facebook profile pictures were changed to this logo for One Philippines: Black Monday, a show of sympathy to the victims of Haiyan and solidarity as a people helping the afflicted rise back up
(Image courtesy of Our Awesome Planet via Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

¨

With the outpouring of such help and support from a world that no longer recognizes borders in times of calamity, of heroic acts of volunteerism and sacrifice, and even of small yet touching acts of kindness, the Filipino people is bound to pull through. After all, their resilience is unmatched…

Image courtesy of Caritas [http://www.caritas.org/]/CAFOD [http://www.cafod.org.uk/] via Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/cafodphotolibrary/10821231343/]

Image courtesy of Caritas/CAFOD via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

¨

…their fire to survive no matter what the odds cannot be quenched by any typhoon…

Filipino optimism

A mother waiting in line to receive a shelter kit from UK aid, Nov. 18, 2013
Image by Simon Davis courtesy of UK DFID via Flickr CC BY 2.0

¨

…their well of optimism runs deep…

phil kids drawing

Drawings by Filipino children who survived the Haiyan tragedy
Nov. 18, 2013
Image by Jonathan de Guzman via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

¨

…their faith is strong…

Image courtesy of Society of the Sacred Heart [https://rscj.org/] via Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/rscj/10856963943/]

Evacuees at Samar, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013
Image courtesy of Society of the Sacred Heart via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

 ¨

…their sense of humor even in difficult times is unparalleled…

Atom Araullo's daring coverage of Haiyan's gnashings trended on Twitter worldwide and led to the spread of hilarious memes such as this [Translation of the tagline: “You’re just a typhoon. I’m handsome.” Atom to Yolanda.] (Image retrieved from michaeldsellers.com)

News reporter Atom Araullo’s daring coverage of Haiyan’s gnashings in Tacloban trended on Twitter worldwide and inspired the spread of hilarious memes such as this [Translation of the tagline: “You’re just a typhoon. I’m handsome.” – Atom to Yolanda]
(Image retrieved from michaeldsellers.com)

¨

Image courtesy of tagabacolod [https://www.facebook.com/tagabacolod] via Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152084186939458&set=a.236827829457.173772.190273454457&type=1]

Image courtesy of tagabacolod via Facebook

¨

…and their smiles are still among the best.

Filipino children

Filipino children smile and greet members of the US Navy at Ormoc City, Philippines, Nov. 16, 2013
Image by Brian H. Abel courtesy of DVIDS via Flickr CC BY 2.0

¨

Their flag may currently be worn and torn in some places, but they continue to raise it up.

Phil flag torn

Southern coast of Eastern Samar, Philippines, Nov. 15, 2013
Image by Conrad Navidad courtesy of IOM via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

¨

As the world joins the country in clearing out the debris of the Haiyan aftermath…

US Navy Aid - haiyan

US Navy clearing a damaged tree off a building in Ormoc City, Philippines, Nov. 16, 2013
Image courtesy of US Pacific Fleet via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

¨

…in rebuilding homes and lives…

Haiyan aftermath - rebuilding

A UK Naval team helping repair the roof of a local school
Nov. 18, 2013
Image by Simon Davis courtesy of UK DFID via Flickr CC BY 2.0

¨

…in contributing small acts of kindness that snowball to great change…

Haiyan - help for the victims

The United World College Southeast Asia in Singapore conducted a Focus Philippines #yolandarelief Day, which raised S$18,872.40 for the benefit of Haiyan victims. The school will course the funds raised through UNICEF Philippines. (Nov. 18, 2013)
Image by Paula Guinto via Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Image by Paula Ginto [http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulaguinto/] via Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulaguinto/10920592096/]

As fund-raising activities, face-painting stations, games, and bake sales were hosted by students of the United World College Southeast Asia. The school is also currently in the middle of a clothes drive (until the end of November) for the benefit of Haiyan victims.
Image by Paula Guinto via Flickr  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

¨

…and in lighting hope amidst darkness…

Empire State Bldg

The Empire State Building lighting up with the colors of the Philippine flag to show support to the country after the Haiyan tragedy, Nov. 16, 2013
Image by gigi_nyc via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

¨

…the Filipino people will once again rise up, smiling.

Mask of the World

The Filipino people owes part of its new smile to the world
Image by Eugene via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

¨

Because typhoon or no typhoon…

…this people knows how to bear hardship and uphold incredible resilience in daily life.

¨

Such is the story of the Filipinos as a people, lived out in day-to-day battle, and only challenged and highlighted by the great tragedy that made the rest of the world shudder to even witness.

cnns-heartfelt-compliment-to-filipinos

Image courtesy of FBNWS.com

A happy-ever-after is not near in sight, and the story of the Filipino people’s recovery from the devastation brought by Supertyphoon Haiyan is far from over. But this story will not have to end in a tragic scene, either.

¨

The flattened cities in Central Philippines — in Leyte, Samar, and others — will rise up again. Their wiping out was catastrophic, but it brings the potential of a clean slate for a fresh start. Hope is not lost. Amidst all the rubble, the Filipino flag will continue to unfurl proud and strong, with no hesitation in its wave and no hiding of its sun…

Image by Storm Crypt [http://www.flickr.com/photos/storm-crypt/] via Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/storm-crypt/2636651166/]

The large flag at the Leyte Landing Memorial
Red Beach, Palo, Leyte, Philippines
Image by Storm Crypt via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

¨

For as beautiful and picturesque as its sunsets are, the Philippines’ sunrise is even more majestic. No matter how many earthquakes rock its beds and no matter how many typhoons lash out at it, every morning, the sun still rises to smile down on this country…

Ormoc City, Philippines, Nov. 16, 2013 Image by Brian H. Abel courtesy of US Pacific Fleet [http://www.cpf.navy.mil/] via Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/compacflt/10927653513/]

Ormoc City, Philippines, Nov. 16, 2013
Image by Brian H. Abel courtesy of US Pacific Fleet via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

…Or more probably, the sun only reflects the smile the Filipino people has for the world, every single time it rises to face another day. ♦

¨

» • • • «

wanderrgirl-blogging-challenge» • • • «

¨

To help in the relief efforts for the victims of Supertyphoon Haiyan in the Philippines, you may channel your donations through such organizations as the  Philippine Red Cross and UNICEF Philippines.

Anyone who would like to use part or all of this post for purposes such as making videos for fundraising activities for the benefit of Haiyan victims, please email me first [cperuel(at)yahoo(dot)com]. Don’t worry, I will not be soliciting any fee for it, but there are just matters to be discussed regarding the proper crediting of this story and the images used. Thank you! 🙂

For anyone else who would like to share this post via Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform, please feel free to share the link or hit any of the Share buttons below. 🙂

¨

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182 thoughts on “Once Upon a Tragedy: A PhotoStory of When Haiyan Struck the Philippines

  1. I was one of the survivors of this tragic history. Thank you for all your thoughts. I have to wipe out bucket of tears flowing through my face. 🙂 quite literally.

    • I understand those tears you shed, though probably not in the same depth as you do. I’m happy to know you got through this tragedy. Wear that survivor mark proudly. All the best to you! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Sunday Cryptoquote Spoiler – 08/31/14 | Unclerave's Wordy Weblog

  3. WOW… This is an amazing post ~ summarizes the beauty of Tacloban and the Philippines, the terror of the storm and then people from around the world united with the Filipinos to show what can happen when we work together. An incredible post, so very well written, and then highlighted by some incredible beautiful & sad photos. Thank you for posting this, it is such a great account.

    • Thank you for the heartwarming comment. When I made this post, I had no idea it would reach the number of people it did. But I’m glad to feel like I’ve done something to inspire hope and thank all those who helped our country get through that calamity. 🙂

      P.S. I think you’ve also inspired hope and honored the resilience of the Filipino people through your Tacloban post. Thank you!

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