Tacloban, Months After Yolanda

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.

Typhoon Yolanda

Typhoon Yolanda Satellite Photo, Courtesy of ABC

___     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.

Off to Tacloban

Off to Tacloban

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.

Air Asia

Air Asia

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.

Tacloban Airport

Tacloban Airport

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.

Luggage Area in Tacloban Airport

Luggage Area in Tacloban Airport

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.

Welcome to Tacloban

Welcome to Tacloban

Yolanda’s mark is still evident on wherever corner we look upon

Super Typhoon Yolanda aftermath in Tacloban

Super Typhoon Yolanda aftermath in Tacloban

The impression of the flood inside this house is still visible, serving as a reminder of how deep and terrifying the water had become.

Typhoon Yolanda Flood Level

Typhoon Yolanda Flood Level

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.

Aro Gospel Church in Leyte

Aro Gospel Church in Leyte

Mister Donut Rolling Store Destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda

Mister Donut Rolling Store Destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda

Huge Tree Uprooted by Typhoon Yolanda

Huge Tree Uprooted by Typhoon Yolanda

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.

MV Eva Jocelyn

MV Eva Jocelyn

MV Jocelyn bought inland by Typhoon Yolanda

MV Eva Jocelyn bought inland by Typhoon Yolanda

MV Eva Jocelyn bought inland by Typhoon Yolanda

MV Eva Jocelyn bought inland by Typhoon Yolanda

Shipwrecks in Tacloban

Shipwrecks in Tacloban

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.

Typhoon Yolanda Destruction

Typhoon Yolanda Destruction

Brick Walls destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda

Brick Walls destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda

The Government was prepared for a Super Typhoon, but they did not anticipate Yolanda.

Leyte Colleges destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda

Leyte Colleges destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda

Tacloban Barangay Hall

Tacloban Barangay Hall

Looting took a major part in the history of Yolanda. People are starving and the whole Island is isolated from the outside world.

Car destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda

Car destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda

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.

Super Metro Mall destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda

Super Metro General Merchandise destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda

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.

Robinsons Mall Tacloban

Robinsons Mall Tacloban

As I continue to look upon the wreckage along the road, I can only imagine the peoples’ experience during the typhoon.

Destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda

Destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda

University of the Philippines, Tacloban

University of the Philippines, Tacloban

But life has got to move on. People are trying to recover from the catastrophic experience.

Tacloban after Super Typhoon Yolanda

Tacloban after Super Typhoon Yolanda, during the time of our visit, famous food chains such as Jollibee and Mc Donalds are still not operating.

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.

Relief distribution for Yolanda Victims

Relief distribution for Yolanda Victims

Relief distribution for Yolanda Victims

Relief distribution for Yolanda Victims

Relief distribution for Yolanda Victims

Relief distribution for Yolanda Victims

Relief distribution for Yolanda Victims

Relief distribution for Yolanda Victims

Relief distribution for Yolanda Victims

Relief distribution for Yolanda Victims

Relief distribution for Yolanda Victims

Relief distribution for Yolanda Victims

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.

My Cousins in Tacloban

My Cousins in Tacloban

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.

House destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda

House destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda

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.

 

Shipwrecks in Tacloban

Aerial view of the Shipwrecks in Tacloban, courtesy of Panoramio and Google Earth.

 

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

 

 

CLICK HERE for interactive Panoramic view of my shots in Leyte via Gigapan:

1.Mc. Arthur Monument March 8, 2014

2.Palo Leyte March 8, 2014

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