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…

Paris Agreement: What We Need to Know

With updates from Bam Alegre Finally after weeks of discussion in Paris and decades of international disagreements, representatives from 195 nations have created the Paris Agreement at the United Nations climate change talks in France. This agreement is historic because it is universal — all developed and developing countries will follow its rules and regulations….

From Disasters to Shelters

Two years ago, super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) made its third of six landfalls over the town of Daanbantayan in northern Cebu. That time, Felisa Amistoso and her family were still living in Sitio Samar in Barangay Agujo among fish pens and a creek, in a small, dilapidated shanty on a plot of land that was…

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…

Notes from the Arctic

At the airport, I was enjoying the sight of people chatting, some making use of free WiFi and texting. Some were checking their bags, making sure everything they needed were inside like passports, seaman’s book, letter of guarantee, certificates and other important documents while waiting to board on their respective planes. I imagined where their…

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,…

Stories We Leave Behind by Micaela Papa

There is nothing in the world more fluid than the news. Today’s PDAF scam headline could be cradling my dog’s poo at the bottom of his cage tomorrow. I’m not the first reporter who is thankful that stories expire at a (nearly) daily rate. We rarely take our stories home – especially when the day’s coverage…