Happy Monday Morning!

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We cannot always have a bad start, sometimes the good begins because of the bad.

*Photo used not mine.

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Christmas Eve

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Coldness

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Snow is falling on the other side of the world and here I am in a tropical country experiencing a blizzard of feelings, feeling so sad about the coldness of the environment. 

Mr. Sun, stay with me as I journey into a renewed life. Take away the coldness and make me feel your warmth again. 

It is a new life I suppose. 

 

bam </3

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A Letter of Thanks To All The Donors

It is with utmost sincerity that I express my gratefulness to the international community for having extended their help to the Filipinos. We will be forever indebted to the help that you have given me and my countrymen and it is with my whole heart that I say, “thank you”!

To each and everyone of you who has extended help to the Philippines, thank you. No words can ever describe how grateful my family is receiving help from you.

During November 8, we did not receive any goods even from our local government units. Everyone was a victim. We looked for food, buried our dead, and sought refuge to the castigated homes we have had before Haiyan struck us. The survivors had to help themselves to survive the following days.

All of your help reached the Philippines, nevertheless, there were slight problems because of my fellow Filipinos in the capital. I do not blame you but I blame the government for allowing this kind of atrocity to happen. I am ashamed to all of you who has extended donations worldwide but had to read from news reports that some of your donations have been placed in shelves and were sold in a mall in Makati City.

To the innovative people all over the world who donated water purifiers in the areas ravaged by Haiyan, thank you for those, without which my kababayans would not have any potable drinking water.

To the people who has donated in- kind, thank you so much. No matter how many or how few you have donated, my fellowmen are grateful. Numbers are just numbers, it will always be the thought that would count.

To those countries who have lent their brave soldiers in helping us recover little by little, you also helped us recover our almost defeated spirits. By helping us fix our infrastructures, you have also fixed our hearts and added hope to us.

To the medical teams sent by different countries worldwide- the survivors you have treated shall forever be indebted to all of you for helping them by extending their lives. Without the medical teams of the international community, the victims could have suffered far worse and intensely.

To the search and rescue teams and rapid response teams, you do not know how much blessed we are for your help in getting our loved ones body in the midst of all the debris. Finding them and putting them to their final resting place are important to us Filipinos. It hurts that we have lost loved ones during the typhoon but it has lessened our burden and our pain that we have recovered their bodies and we have finally put them in their resting places. It is the least we can do for our dead aside from offering prayers for them.

To those who have lent us their cargo ships and aircrafts- we are glad and grateful for everything. You have delivered to the affected areas the relief goods they needed and have also carried soldiers back and forth to help in relief operations and search and rescue efforts.

We are all indebted to non profit organizations, international charities and foundations for also extending their help to the Philippines. I am thankful. You have instilled in us more the spirit of camaraderie and love for our fellowmen. We are grateful. We are blessed for have received such great help from such great people all over the world!

Thank you!

Maraming salamat po!

Damo nga salamat!

Daghang salamat!

Mabuhay kayong lahat na tumulong sa amin!

Dios magbalos! (God will repay you.)

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PS: It is with pure honesty that I am suggesting (it is not too late) that I hope when each government sends help, it should be directly to the victims because the corrupt officials of the Philippines steal it from the supposed recipients.

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Shattered

This is our family home after the devastating typhoon ravaged us. This is the aftermath of Haiyan.

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Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful that I am alive today and making this blog post but there are times when you can only sigh deeply and wonder about all the efforts of your parents for thirty long years gone in 5 hours.

I do not care about our family’s personal belongings but what I care about is the business where we get most of the money we spend for our daily expenditures. Everything is gone. Yes we have our savings but it will take too much time and money before we rise completely again.

All the apartments were destroyed and here I am wondering how my parents would let my sister finish medical school. How is the family going to fare after losing the business? What are we going to do since dad just retired from government service and his retirement pay is taking too long? How will life be?

Everyone affected will be indebted again. My family too. We started from loans and savings and we are back at the beginning again. I just hope this time, it will be faster. We need to move fast to cater to the needs of those looking for a shelter so that they may have a place to rent.

I hope and pray that someday my family will live comfortably again despite and in spite of what happened.

Those who are facing this much of a trial are to be tomorrow’s strongest people.

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Utter Disappointment

I came from the place hard hit by the typhoon with thousands of casualties- I came from Tacloban City, Philippines. I saw dead people, I saw the faces of the people who has lost their loved ones and their reaction after the storm. The stench and feel of death around you cannot go unnoticed. Everyone relied on one another during day one. In this blog post, I just want to point out a few things about the issues that arose because of the typhoon.

1. Preparedness

When the tragedy struck, it was the victims who has helped themselves, buried their dead, gathered strength to find food, helped their neighbors. You see, the Local Government Unit (LGU) was prepared. People were notified about the super typhoon. They even did the pre emptive evacuation and the people had panic buying causing some establishments to close late during November 7, 2013.

We were prepared. To some extent, those people who did not prepare enough, I think they believed that the typhoon was just like those that have passed in Tacloban. We faced typhoons a lot in Eastern Visayas, so maybe the people thought that it would be swift.

You see, today,the national government is blaming the LGU for the death of so many. I tell you Mr. President, if you had been there during the typhoon, I bet my sweet ass all of your hair had fallen off your head by now. Don’t you dare tell us we were not prepared because no matter how prepared, even the richest people in Tacloban, were also victimized by the typhoon. No matter how prepared a person is, if he was to face that kind of typhoon, he might be rotting now despite his preparedness.

2. Inefficiency of the Mayor

Now, on to those people who say that the Mayor is inefficient, can you please assert your statement? I checked those people on Facebook who commented on some of GMA News’ posts and they did not come from Tacloban. It is disheartening to read that those people who were not in Tacloban during the rampage of the typhoon were the ones who has strongly commented about Tacloban’s lack of preparation and has questioned the leadership of Mayor Romualdez. Uh-uh. No.  They clearly do not know what they were talking about. I pity them for relying on media’s false or sometimes exaggerated reports.

I repeat, I came from Tacloban. I saw first hand and before my very eyes what really happened there. How families fought for their lives during the tragedy. How the leaders of Tacloban reached out to the constituents as soon as the skies cleared up.

3. Politicization 

As a Filipino, it is noteworthy to know who are the powerful people in the country- those that are written in our textbooks. Well, this is the result of being a nephew of the famous Filipino dictator, Ferdinand Marcos. The Mayor of Tacloban City is the nephew of Imelda Romualdez Marcos. The father of Alfred Romualdez being the brother of the elegant First Lady. We all know that President Aquino is the son of Ninoy and Cory Aquino.Now that is history and if I may say, that is the reason why the President declined to help Alfred Romualdez.

Isn’t it heart breaking that the President whom you have thought who would help everyone would be the very person who would abandon you in the midst of distress?  The very father that the voters have chosen to care for them has left them and blamed them instead of being unprepared.

I stand on my ground that you, Mr. President is unprofessional. You should have set aside all those history of your family feud and political rivalries. You should have thought that majority of the victims do not give a shit about your families because they needed assistance from the national government. And with that you owe the people an apology.

4. Blame Game

We sincerely hate the blame game you are playing. We need help. All of the affected people need help from the state. Stop irritating us. You act like a kid, instead of helping out, you keep on blaming others for your lacking.

5. Domestic and International Aid

I detest the occurrences that are happening. Aid scandals all over the news. I guess that the President’s “tuwid na daan” was all just a lie. Your corrupt officials in the government do not aid in sending the relief goods to the people. They were even the ones who stole from the victims.

It is a shame that the Philippines is facing this kind of issue in the international community.  I am truly saddened by what’s happening. Many are starving due to the acts of corrupt officials and not because of the tragedy. I can only bow my head in shame. No wonder the Philippines  isn’t a progressive country at all. The official prevent the progression.

The only way to help the victims of Haiyan is to directly give the people the relief goods instead of handing it to the government. We cannot trust the Philippine government at all.

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With that I express my heartfelt feelings of disappointment.

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The author is a native of Tacloban City, Philippines and is currently relocated in Davao City. Her family is left in Tacloban City.

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The Yearning Heart (Haiyan/Yolanda)

They say that when a person dies, the wife or girlfriend would know easily because she can feel it within her or she would see a white light or anything that would let her know that the loved one has departed from the earth. Yes, somehow, I have believed in the signs. But I could not feel it. I did not see it. 

After Haiyan struck my hometown, Tacloban, I did not know what to do. My boyfriend, together with his family lives in a coastal community of Palo, Leyte (about a 20-30 minute drive from the downtown area of Tacloban City). I had relatives in Palo. We were supposed to check on them but there was no means of travelling. My dad cannot bear walking with his gouty arthritis victimized foot and so we had to ask people coming from the direction of Palo if Cavite East (where my grandma lives) was okay. 

I, on the other hand would secretly ask the people if San Joaquin (my boyfriend’s community) was okay, but they would only shrug and say that the barangay was wiped out due to the storm surge. I cried. I hid what my heart felt. I hid the pain. But somehow, my sister caught me. I cried really hard. It was painful. My room was my refuge. I cried secretly. 

Somehow, if I lost him, I would have just accepted what happened. Move on with my life while nursing the wounds of my heart. I coped well outside, I cleaned my room, washed my clothes, took out my bed, emptied my cabinets of college research papers and threw what could not be used again. 

For days, I continued that habit. I went on with my life. Crying a little when I remember my love from time to time. Begged in my prayers that if i dreamt of Aries for just a single night, that would signify that he was already gone. And for those nights that I prayed, I was partly scared to go to sleep because I might dream of him.

I never dreamt of him. Every morning I gained strength telling myself that maybe he is also busy like me. Cleaning and fixing their house. I knew him. He’d rather clean than hang outside with friends. 

One more day, I counted, and it will already be a week since the typhoon struck and still no news of Aries. I went inside, gathered clean clothing and prepared for my bath. I forgot to get my towel. I stepped out of our cr outside the family home. I heard my sister yelling, “Riva, Riva adi na tim gin hihinulat. Man waray ka na feel kay buhi pa hiya. Kadto na dali.”  (Riva, Riva, the one that you have been waiting for is here. See, you did not feel anything because he is still alive. Go out fast.)

I looked up to him. I wanted to cry seeing him with his disheveled hair. He looks mighty thin. My baby looks tired. We talked for a short while and I knew he had to go fast because his dad was waiting and he was just really pre-occupied that he could not go to our house. to check on me and he had to prioritize his family first. I knew where he was coming from. I understood him. He was after all, a victim also. I just told him, I could not have known what to do if he was taken away from me. 

My heart is now complete. I did not lose anyone I love. I lost a house but I have my family, friends and loved ones and they are the ones that make up a home.

I wanted to hug him and hold him tight but I can’t. My parents were there and I know they would get paranoid if we had a public display of affection. 

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I have already relocated here in Davao City (Mindanao part of the Philippines) and he is in Cebu City with his sister, I have learned his story of survival and up to this day, it still gets me teary eyed. Thank you God for another life. The survivors shall live it with utmost appreciation and love. 

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