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Tacloban City, Leyte

Return to Tacloban City, Leyte

BY RICHARD FORD – When I stepped off the plane on the 9th September, 2019, the first thing I did was give my green wrist band I have been wearing for six years to one of the workers at the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport or also known as Tacloban City Airport.
I made a promise that I would finally take off the green wrist band which is symbolic of the greening renewal of the land, once I came back “home” to Tacloban,
The devastation of Typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan which hit Tacloban is now being erased in my memory. I felt a redemption in my thoughts since the day I arrived is also the same numerical date of the day the Typhoon struck the Visayas, the 9th November 2013.

I was then deeply saddened by what has happened because my asawa Dian whom I am married to for some 27 years now is from Tacloban and so is the majority of her family from there and from Jaro as well. I was then very much frightened for the safety of their family in our house in Tacloban.
In retrospect, I felt compelled to write about those memories as a tribute to those who survived.
“Tacloban was the city hardest hit during the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda. The super typhoon barreled through the provincial capital, affecting the 221,174-strong population, rendering 2,646 dead and 701 missing due to storm surges, strong winds, and heavy rainfall (NDRRMC, 2014). This event stands out in the history of Tacloban as the deadliest event in recent history”. Quote from:
Going back to Tacloban, I have observed for myself what the news media and family pictures shown to me as changes that have occurred. Not just the infrastructure built but something the noticeable thing I observed among the people , in this case the Visayan-Waray I’ve met. I thought of the tenacity of the peoplle of Taclobanen, the way they have been able to pick it all up and renew their lives from the devastating losses brought by Typhoon Hayan.
I am humbled myself who felt privileged to live in a country that is rich like Australia and then see these poor families pick up their lost lives and carry on again,. It reminded me about that song, “You raise me up”,. I felt the spirit of the people being raised to a new level, one that shows there will be a renewed city arising out of the ashes. As the saying says, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
My asawa Dian agrees with me that there have been noted changes in the people of Tacloban. Walking and travelling around Tacloban and other Barangays, I have also seen the changes myself since my last visit in 2012. People were talking less about their possessions. I observed they have become more helpful and caring for one another. The city is now clean and fresh. One would think it probably takes a devastating and heartbreaking event to make people very strong and realistic.
The signs that says, “I luv Tacloban” to me means things have changed their utlook on life. Probably, people’s faith in God had been strengthened and their religious and spiritual zeal increased in whatever religious denomination thay are.
There are more things needed in infrastructures such as new hospitals and medical centres, new business investments, an increase in hotel accommodation These changes have been great “morale builder” to those who lost everything, including family members, and children who were orphaned.
The attitude about slowness in their daily life and time for siestas to relax has never changed. This has also helped me to admire how much the people live from one day to the next.
It was indeed one of my best holidays yet. Thank you, people of Tacloban City,
Written by Richard J Ford. PRO , APCO Inc.,and Vice President and PRO for both Fil-Oz Liverpool Inc. and the Visayan Association of Australia (VAA) Inc.