There will always be certain events in our lives that will never be forgotten even against time. Events that still play back on our minds fresh as the daylight break. Events that still conjure emotions from the deepest depths of our hearts as though they just happened yesterday. Events that make us wonder why they had to happen.
It has been a year since the devastation marked a tragic and heart-piercing history in the beautiful islands of the Philippines especially in the eastern Visayas. I could still remember the weather forecasts, how people prepared, how mama exclaimed in dread when we checked the map of the Philippines and learned that Cebu is situated southwest of Leyte, how mama checked on our relatives in the province (in northern Cebu) and repeatedly told them to prepare, how my uncle underestimated Yolanda and was proved wrong when it finally showed off, and how I have come across a signal # 4 typhoon for the first time in my 20 years of existence.
It was in the early morning of November 8, 2013 when we felt Yolanda in central Cebu. She was indeed strong but there was not much damage in our place as her aftermath. My brother and I went like “Is this what you call SUPER TYPHOON?” Later that day, we were put to shame and guilt crept in our hearts as we watched the news that pierced everybody’s hearts a million times. I wanted to beat myself for thinking Is that all? when during such shameful and irrational act, thousands of people were dying. My heart was so heavy and my eyes almost dried up seeing my fellow countrymen in great agony, mourning over their lost loved ones, broadcasting (as reporters gave chance to survivors to say something over the news for their relatives living somewhere else in the Philippines to know of their situation) sad and touching lines like “(Name), I’m sorry I wasn’t able to save (name)… the waters rose high and we were separated…” “Ma! I’m still alive…”, etc.
But amidst the darkness that seemed to have engulfed the nation, light shone. Help from compassionate countries, individuals and institutions mushroomed. And there was a rainbow that started to paint colors in people’s dimming lives.
Now a year has passed. What happened on November 8, 2013 will always remain in every Filipino’s heart. But with the grace of our loving God, the Yolanda survivors remain strong.
The Philippines remains strong.
And not a storm would ever make us fall on our knees.