It was on November 8, 2013 when Super Typhoon Yolanda with an international name Haiyan hits the Philippines and claims the lives of more than 6,000 people. It’s a Tropical Cyclone equivalent to Category 5.
___ Photography by Romi Barcena ___
Feeling uneasy about what to expect in Tacloban, with anticipation that each travel brings a new lesson and at this moment I’m thinking; what is it that I am going to learn from this trip.
Carried by Air Asia from Manila to Tacloban with so much hope, fear, excitement, eagerness… all mixed up on a single bowl full of apprehension.
Because of the grief and distress, we never actually expect a warm welcome to the locals in Tacloban though the fiery heat of the sun during that day reveals the reality of the situation.
It chills my whole body as I look around taking photos at each corner of Tacloban Airport. Then I remember the saying; “the Airport is window to a country.” I actually asked myself, am I looking at the right window? Or did somebody just brought us back in time? Five months after the devastation of Super Typhoon Yolanda, her footprint is still evident as if she was just here yesterday.
Tacloban can’t even manage to welcome us cheerfully as we enter her City. This sign feels like she’s trying to do her best to make us feeling at ease, yet she can’t hide her scars.
Yolanda’s mark is still evident on wherever corner we look upon
The impression of the flood inside this house is still visible, serving as a reminder of how deep and terrifying the water had become.
I can gather a hundred shots of the disaster’s outcome here in Tacloban and yet it never seems to end. I ran out of batteries and essentially have come to a point where I don’t want to take a shot anymore. I was born to love taking pictures, but the outcome of the disaster in Tacloban worn me out.
It feels like I’m watching a disaster movie. I can’t believe my eyes on what I’m seeing because it’s been five months by this time and Tacloban’s wounds still look fresh.
I can only assume that the reason this situation is still apparent on every corner here in Tacloban City is because of the overwhelming power of the said Super Typhoon Yolanda. First time it happened in the Country, strongest among the record.
The Government was prepared for a Super Typhoon, but they did not anticipate Yolanda.
Looting took a major part in the history of Yolanda. People are starving and the whole Island is isolated from the outside world.
This Super Metro General Merchandise had just been opened a day before Yolanda came, it didn’t last that long because Yolanda took her down and as expected this mall had been ransacked by many.
On a brighter side of life, these Shopping malls played a key role on people’s survival, if not from them, many would have perished due to hunger. These set of photos are a salute to the unsung heroes in Tacloban. Besides the fact that Robinsons Mall deliberately opens it’s store so people could take what they need. Sadly, some people become greedy and took the unnecessary items such as Digicam and other luxurious gadgets.
As I continue to look upon the wreckage along the road, I can only imagine the peoples’ experience during the typhoon.
But life has got to move on. People are trying to recover from the catastrophic experience.
Armed with just a sandwich, a tetra packed orange juice drink and a free Bible we tried our best to ease the residents’ hardship. I’m afraid they are going to complain with the small expanse of assistance we can contribute, but am I so glad to be wrong, the locals are so thankful for the little help we offered them.
I’m so happy enough that in-spite of my kin’s horrifying experienced in Tacloban and Samar they are alive with only minor injuries. This situation gave us the chance also to meet them again and be able to give the assistance from our relatives here and abroad.
Tacloban teaches me a lesson I would like to pass on to the next generations. We must learn to appreciate small things we usually took for granted, food, shelter, family.
All Photos featured here are personal property of Romi Barcena, not for any solicitation purposes. Feel free to share the link, subscribe and comment below.
After 3 months we visited Tacloban yet again and many people still needs assistance which makes me wonder, where are those donations from here and around the world, many locals still lives in the Tent City?
Tacloban July 19, 2014
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