Typhoon Haiyan - Tacloban Philippines


I will live to tell the story of once upon a time, a world record Typhoon (Haiyan) destroyed parts of the Philippines and i was there to witness first hand the fury and rage of the Typhoon that brought complete devastation to my Countrymen and Nation. Though despite of the destruction one Key thing i experienced was God's Grace and Mercy even in the midst of the Tragedy.

We were there when typhoon Yolanda hit Tacloban and parts of the Philippines. We were on a vacation then as my wife is from Tacloban. My wife's place was in the path of the Typhoon's Eye.. I thought i've seen the worst of the typhoons, but i was wrong. I've experienced worst flooding too and near death situation, but nothing can come close to typhoon Yolanda. You know, first time i've experienced seeing everything vanished and destroyed in a couples of hours. As in literally. Physical things we would usually trust and hold on to? Gone in front of my very eyes. And all we could ask then is for God to spare our lives.

My wife and daughter were with me and my in-laws. My daughter was just 2 plus old. So that made it even worst. When the water rose due to storm-surge i thought this it. I told my wife, since i don't know how to swim, i told her no matter what happens, do your best to keep our daughter safe and i told them, i loved them. You know, those last moment goodbye. We are blessed however that my wife's place has a second floor. Though water rose up in minutes to about 9 feet, water just barely reached the second floor. But thinking about those folks near the shore, i said to myself, this is bad.

Why we got spared from flooding, we were not safe still. Wind faster than Formula One with flying debris, i just don't know when it would stop. I was monitoring our house roofing and a third of it has already been blown away. And there just one room at the second floor where we could stay. We kept praying that the Lord may sustain the structure of the house and with God's mercy, He did secure it. The typhoon has settled and we went out to see the neighborhood. And the mountain where we could not clearly see before because of houses covering the view, now it's clear from the second floor where we were watching it. And of course, the neighborhood, barely standing.

Since typhoon was out, now it's time to rejoice... No not really. I know that the worst was not from over. With everything destroyed, No Transpo, No food, No water, i can already imagine what the coming days' situation would be. My daughter had not enough milk, diapers and distilled water, what now? We stayed at home first day the typhoon hit Tacloban, we slept wet and muddy and crumpled in a single size bed, 5 of us. Neighbors shared shelter in my wife's place, total of 3 families. The next day went out to secure milk and necessities and there we've seen the true chaos... Dead bodies everywhere on the streets, dead animals, people walking without direction/destination as if like in a movie World War Z. Cars on top of the tree and buildings. Structures just barely standing with no walls and roofing etc... We walked in flooded streets with flowing water soaked in dead bodies and we did that for 3 days just to hunt for food. We had to gather water from rain just to have something to drink and wash bottles and utensils.

But in all these, the gracious Heavenly Father were watching us and were with us and is with us even today. Fourth day, we went to the airport, my wife's Church managed to salvage one vehicle and we rode that to the airport. We were shortlisted to fly at C130 plane but when we got to the destroyed airport, the plane was ready to take off. So we lost our seats. Now what? My wife and i with our daughter decided to stay. After a couple of hours, a passenger propeller plane landed, first time in four days. I started to inquire about it and one of the plane personnel said, our priority will be the families of the company's employees and some folks who will need urgent medical attention. So i said to myself, no hope today. Then a lady started to make noise saying that one airline will issue a seat if you have money (for days first time i heard that money still had a value when all became equal in the given circumstance), so i went and checked it out anyway.

While i was checking some information, i saw a small line next to a longer line and i said, what's this line for? And no one bothered to answer me, so i fell in line. And little i did know that it's the line where people being issued a boarding pass. When my turn came, i just showed my passport and i got a boarding pass for me and my family. Just amazing amazing timing, perfect timing from the Lord. If i ignored the noise from the lady, i may not had the curiosity to check for information. It was only a matter of minutes where i got our boarding pass and the plane took off. It was that first passenger plane we saw landed first time in four days. Coincidence? No, i believe.

While i'm sorrowful today why this tragic event happened and we may now know why it happened and may not live long enough to see God's overall plan. However i believe that God is in control of everything... For me to be there, my perspective of life totally changed. I used to rely more on what i have and what i could hold on to. But i'd say today, i'll hold on more to God through Christ as the One in control of all things to secure me today and beyond...