The strongest wind ever felt in the Philippines’ Eastern Visayas almost carried the thin body of a fisherman who was running to get some important things on his boat. Before he went out of his house, he hugged his wife and son, and told them to keep safe. He said he would be back in a few minutes. But then, he was not able to return anymore.
Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) made its landfall in November 2013 and its wrath was immediately and immensely felt. It destroyed almost everything in Eastern Visayas, and in other areas where it made its other landfall. Then it uprooted trees and tore them in many pieces before blowing them away with its mighty wind—as if they were as light as feathers.
Aside from this, it angrily removed rooftops not just of houses, but also of huge establishments and churches. It caused a storm surge which almost wiped out used-to-be peaceful and progressive places.
It damaged fields of rice, crops and trees, leaving many people jobless and hungry. Then it ravaged almost everything that the people in affected areas worked hard for. It robbed some children of their parents, leaving them orphaned, the same way that many parents lost their beloved children. It was so mad it made sure it took many lives away.
The super typhoon, one of the strongest ever recorded in world history, left behind a destruction that was even too painful to imagine. People had no food to eat, no water to drink, no clothes to wear, no supply of electricity, no properties, and no means of livelihood.
Millions lost their houses, and they could not even bury their loved ones. They had nothing, not even a pair of shoes. They were so hungry for days and weeks that some even resorted to looting. The rain had stopped, but not their tears. They almost felt like there was nothing to live for, now that their loved ones are gone.
But the next day, a rainbow appeared. Its beautiful rays seemed to express God’s message of hope in a very much devastated place. Sure enough, donations of every kind poured in. Help came from many people—from every corner of the globe. Even children offered their savings or sold foods and drinks, then gave the proceeds to the typhoon victims.
People from all walks of life wanted to contribute something, to somehow assuage the difficulties and trials that the Haiyan/Yolanda victims were facing. As for my friends and me, we organized a concert titled, Love in Myriad Colors, for the benefit of the Super Typhoon Yolanda survivors. We gave the funds to the Red Cross Organization in order to help those distraught people.
Most of all, nations of different colors not only provided material things to the Filipinos, but they also extended helping hands to express their compassion, understanding and love. And because of the empathy that the people of Central Philippines felt, they had the courage to stand again. It was definitely a long and grueling journey for these super typhoon victims, but what mattered was that they learned to start the journey toward their new lives. They shouldn’t be called victims. They value faith and gratitude. Rekindled hope filled their hearts. They were survivors. They have truly shown how resilient Filipino hearts can be.
Super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda failed to destroy everything.
It failed to defeat thankful hearts that may have become broken for some time but became whole again—because of their strong faith. And most of all, because of the love that people from all over the world have given.