(It’s like) The sky is always blue in Tacloban

I’m psyched yet again for another trip up North, this time to the Mountain Province. After spending a great deal of time traveling this fourth quarter–mostly for work and at a rate of two cities per week–I thought I reached my quota. But a friend threw the idea of going out again after Christmas (and I wasn’t really that hard to convince), so–

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetWhat just happened?  There is one city that I remember fondly, though, and that’s Tacloban. I visited it for the first time late October and came back November 8 in time for the first anniversary commemoration of Typhoon Haiyan. You’d be surprised. I don’t think there’s a superlative form for the word resilient, but if the gods of morphology would care to invent one, it has to be attributed to the Taclobanons first.

Tacloban Aerial ViewView from the plane. I think, what most people are looking for is a return to normalcy. We alighted from a small aircraft in the afternoon of November 8, saw that the conveyor belt wasn’t working just yet, but we were greeted by a small group of Taclobanon airport personnel, all smiling as if to say ‘Welcome, you have to see how far we’ve gone.’

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetWhat struck me the most is the feeling that people here did not really commemorate a tragedy. I think it was more a celebration of heroism, courage, calidad humana.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetRoadwork. I hate road work and the traffic it usually causes, but I could not bring myself to complain when I was in this city. These were the most encouraging signs. In the course of my stay, I interviewed a handful of people, mostly women micro entrepreneurs, who all said permutations of the same inspiring story: they lost all they had, relied on relief for about a month or two, and then decided, it was time to rebuild their lives and move forward.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetDuring the second visit, I was very much inclined to think that the sky is always blue in Tacloban.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSee, this is the view from my colleague’s room at the Leyte Park Hotel.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetHere too is a shot from the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport. Maybe in about a year I’ll go back there for leisure.

P.S.

I almost got stuck in Tacloban for two weeks because I got really sick, but that’s another story. It is however, a precursor to my second trip to the Ilocos region (the first one was as far back as 2010). Will write about it another time. Happy Holidays!

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