Remembering Yolanda

If you are given a second life, what will you do? That is the question that always pops up in my mind after my experience with Super Typhoon Yolanda. It was the 8th of November in 2013 when super typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan brought tremendous destruction in the Philippines. Leyte, particularly Tacloban was one of the many…

#COP21: The Glamorous Paris Talks and the Suffering of Filipinos

This is a story of two very different people, bound by an issue that will bring together 147 world leaders in Paris, France — climate change. Paris, France Former Philippine Climate Change Commissioner Yeb Saño is in Paris now, having spent the last six months on a pilgrimage that started out in Tacloban and across…

A Tribute to Visayas and Mindanao

It was the hottest time of day inside a rickety bus last April that I think I fell in love with Visayas. My skin was dark and burnt, having spent the last four days on polar ends of Cebu, and my forehead was dripping wet with sweat as we made our way from the Remegio…

Post-Yolanda, What Have We Built Back?

Nestor pointed at a 15-foot coconut tree standing by the sea shore. Its leaves have fallen off and the trunk shows chipping and cuts from children trying to reach for a fruit. “Mas mataas pa dyan ‘yung alon” (The waves are higher than that tree), he recalled. The tree reminded him of November 8, 2013…

Bantayan Island Will Never Be Paradise Lost

On November 8, 2013, Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) made its fourth landfall on Bantayan Island, the northernmost tip of Cebu. For days, the remote island had no communication to the world beyond the sea. The storm destroyed 90% of houses, including resorts and other establishments that sustained tourism in the island. In the days that…

How Sendai Recovered from the 2011 Tsunami by George Gamayo

Four years ago, a catastrophic tsunami ravaged Sendai, Japan resulting to thousands of casualties. Before the tragedy, it was a lively fishery port with 7,000 residents. One of whom is Noriko Kikuchi who lived in Yuriage, Natori City, one of the worst hit areas. As we walked through the wrecked community, Noriko unveiled her stories….

The Siege of Zamboanga’s Youngsters by Makoi Popioco

A little boy cowered behind an overturned wooden chair, avoiding gunfire. The other boy breathed heavily, he dashed his small feet forward and with his frail hands, he fired. The boy hiding behind the chair got shot, fell down, and played dead. I raised my hand, pointed my index finger, pulled the invisible trigger in my thumb,…