‘We need to stay strong’ | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

The worst is over, but the aftermath lingers. Stories of 20-meter-deep water, strong winds and incredible survival flooded the media, as more and more casualties were tallied. Property, land and livelihood were lost, but this was nothing compared to the 10,000 missing, and hundreds of thousands of homeless evacuees.


As fellow teens and adults saw the mortifying pictures, facts and figures on the screen, we had to face the reality of what our country was going through. I asked what they had realized from the experience of Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” and here’s what they had to say:


“The government needs to reach out to our people. This can be achieved through integrity in the system. I pray not only for better circumstances, but also for resiliency for our country and our government officials, who must show compassion when the circumstances are not favorable.” —Reuben Nicolo S. Pascual, 19, University of Santo Tomas


“As a civil engineering student, it poses a challenge to me in designing structures for the future. The task of designing a home that will meet the needs of people will be more challenging than ever.” —Patricia May Allado, 19, University of the Philippines Los Baños


“It is heartbreaking to see how many lives were taken, livelihood and property destroyed and our fellow Filipinos afflicted. I pray that we gain enough strength to stand up again and rebuild the nation. We need to stay strong and determined for the coming days, as we see more of the destruction caused by Yolanda.” —Karen Esteban, 27, high school math teacher


“My family in Silay City was all right, as Negros Occidental was not as hard-hit as the other provinces. However, at the height of the typhoon, my family provided shelter to some of our neighbors who lived across the street. Power was down for a few days but, luckily, no one was harmed, and the damage to property was not too great. I am very saddened, however, by the severe devastation in other areas of the Visayas. I am now working with fellow Pinoys here in Hong Kong to help out any way we can.” —Jambi


Gaston Reyes, 37, analyst for Media Partners Asia


“I was very apprehensive about the impact of Supertyphoon Yolanda—that it would bring a repeat of the massive flooding in Metro Manila. I was also worried about possible damage to our crops, since we grow Japanese rice on our farm in Negros. As it turned out, the damage to those places was far less than what I expected. But my relief turned to horror as I saw photos of the devastation Yolanda wrought upon Leyte. I was moved by the unimaginable suffering endured by the victims and survivors. I will be donating money for the relief efforts to Caritas Manila, and will pray that the nation will unite in support of our countrymen in need.” —Michael Anthony Mapa, 44, businessman


“I noticed that fellow Pinoys all over the world could not help but worry about how we could survive that supertyphoon. My sister from the US Skyped us early in the morning just to check on us. I would like to commend our government and LGUs, though. This shows that Filipinos are now learning how to implement disaster reduction and management.” —Michael Toledo, 31,

La Salle Greenhills science teacher


“Na-evacuate ang pamilya ko sa mataas na lugar sa Bacolod. Nag-down ang palayan at sugarcane namin kasi naapawan ng tubig. May tubig na pumasok sa bahay namin at natuklap yung bubungan. May mga tanim na malaki na puno na bumagsak rin. Pero wala naman nasaktan. Handa na kami, eh.” —Wilmar Taclajan, 41, driver


“If there is something positive about this ordeal, it’s got to be the trust, faith and hope emanating from the unequaled Filipino bayanihan spirit. It’s the very same spirit that astonishes this world, filled with people who have forgotten what connections are all about.” —Jan Yamul, 26, writer

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