• Tacloban 3 Years after

      Visiting Yolanda struck places is surreal. Seeing the damage the super typhoon has done and seeing how the place rose up from the ashes like a Phoenix.

      M/V Eva Jocelyn Yolanda Memorial Marker, Anibong, Tacloban City

      Elena Abello
      Manang Elena lives in Anibong, Tacloban City, the place where M/V Eva Jocelyn crashed. She vividly remembers that fateful day, how the winds howled and how the water stung when it touched the skin because the water was mixed with sand. Looking back, she says that when an order to evacuate will be announced, she will gladly follow orders. A week before Yolanda otherwise known as Typhoon Haiyan hit, they were told to evacuate but did not do so because to them a typhoon is a typhoon and they are used to braving typhoons. Yolanda was different. Yolanda hit hard and a lot of lives were lost in its wake and it took months and even years before lives went back to normal, electricity on the other hand took 6 months to become available.

      The sign on the road before getting in the M/V Eva Jocelyn area

      Manang Elena learned 3 valuable lessons because of that harrowing experience. First, she learned that you have to charge everything to experience when life throws you not just a lemon but a truck full of lemons. Second, life has to keep moving forward and by moving on, you make a lot of lemonades out of those lemons. Third, she has learned to be strong because she has survived and lived to tell the tale about it for every visitor and tourist who visits M/V Eva Jocelyn who asks her about how that typhoon changed the lives of thousands.

      Melchora Bandoy and Darwin Flores, Head for Community Partnerships Department, Public Affairs Group of Smart Communications

      Melchora Bandoy
      Lola Melchora is a septuagenarian who also lived to tell her tale. Lola Melchora did not let her old age stop her from moving on and be dependent on someone else. She availed of the 15-day training for sewing of the Eastern Visayas University and in turn she became a recipient of one of the 61 sewing machines that were given by Smart Communications Inc. as part of their livelihood program for the survivors of Haiyan/Yolanda and a P10,000 grant from DSWD which she used to buy cloth and sewing materials to start her off. All of these became possible thru the coordination of the International Emergency Development Aid Relief (IEDAR), to which Lola Melchora is very thankful for. She earns P500 on a good week, P300 on a slow one, and in some instances nothing. Even though it is not every week that she earns, she is still grateful of the opportunities that sewing provides and be able to buy even if it is just the most basic commodity, salt.

      Tanauan Yolanda Monument, Barangay Calogcog, Tanauan, Leyte
      The construction of the Tanauan monument was made possible through the financial assistance of Smart Telecommunications and the Granix Distributions, Inc. of Procter and Gamble.

      Rosvenil Hotel
      There is now a bustling growth of hotels and hostels to accommodate tourists

      Life has moved on not just for these two survivors but also for the rest of the region. The typhoon was an equalizer but it did not dampen the spirits of the people who chose to be resilient and live for another day.
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