It’s Christmas morning. I woke up a couple of hours ago and just had a plate of leftover spaghetti and ice cream that my mom, my sister and I had last night for our Christmas dinner. This is the first time that we spent Christmas away from home, away from my dad and brothers. It saddens me that we didn’t get to celebrate this year’s Christmas as a family.
You see, our country has been hit by Typhoon Haiyan (more commonly known as Super Typhoon Yolanda) and our city was the most affected one. Yes, I came from the city called Tacloban. A city that no one knew of unless you live there, have been there or have someone you know who lives there. After the horrific typhoon, our city became the talk of the country and now, there’s no one who doesn’t know where Tacloban is.
The typhoon did not only destroyed homes and other structures, it also took lives. Thousands of lives. Luckily, God spared me and my family. Our house only suffered minor damages like leaks but everything is intact.
Looting started. Mall, business establishments and warehouses have been robbed empty. Looters took whatever they could take even though they have no use for it. The city was chaotic. It was like we were in a time of war. Some people were stealing food and medicine to survive; the others who came from nearby towns took advantage of the situation and came to steal to satisfy their greed.
There were no poor or rich. Everyone was hungry, everyone was thirsty. Even if you had money to buy food, there were no stores open. My family prepared ahead of time. We had food and water but our supplies were dwindling.
When the President declared that our city was under a state of emergency and there were rumors that the looters’ next target were houses and subdivions, my dad thought that it was best to send us away temporarily until things get better and my neighbors adviced my parents to take me away because of my condition and there were no hospitals or pharmacy. We were sent to a city that was a 3-hour drive away from our house. It took us 15 hours to get there because the roads weren’t entirely passable yet and the traffic was heavy. We stayed in a hotel. We were supposed to move to Manila after a week since staying at a hotel wasn’t practical. But each week, something bad happens that we had no choice but to postpone the trip. I was so glad when it finally pushed through.
Because of work and one of my brothers who was left behind to guard the house with our maids, my dad had to return the day after we moved out. Each night, I couldn’t eat properly nor think straight because I was so worried. I always waited for a text from my dad saying that he got home from work safely. There was a night when I got a text from a friend who said they could hear gunshots at night and that the house on the corner of our street got robbed, the owner got killed while trying to protect his house. The former was true. The latter was only a rumor spread to scare people.
It was so stressful. Even if we were in a safe place, we couldn’t help but worry for the ones who got left behind.
Back home, things are a little better now. I can’t wait for things to go back to the way it was before so I can finally go home and get my normal life back.
Even though there are reasons that makes my Christmas a little gloomy, I still have reasons to celebrate it and one of them is that my family and I made it through the typhoon alive. That’s all that matters.
To my friends and relatives who lost their lives from the typhoon, may you finally find peace wherever you are. I feel sorry that you had to experience such a horrifying death.
To my friends and relatives who sent help and prayed for our safety, thank you so much.