I first flew in an airplane in the year 2000, when I was 16 years old. I flew from Manila to a city in the Visayas called Tacloban. It was the first time I’d ever been outside the island of my birth, and this place could not have been more different from my hometown. Although I only have vague memories of this trip (this was before iPhones and Instagram), I do remember peace, quiet, a warm welcome, an unforgettable rainy crossing of San Juanico Bridge, and the sea, always there, glinting in the sunlight.
But now that city is unrecognizable, destroyed by the same sea I had so admired. The statistics after typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan are horrifying: billions of dollars worth of damage, thousands feared dead, millions displaced. The images on the news are even more heartbreaking, as the survivors struggle to live even as they mourn their dead.
I really have no words to describe the scale of the disaster, but perhaps there is no need for any words apart from: please help. Please help Tacloban, please help the Visayas, please help the Philippines. Here are some ways you can.
Tulungan po natin ang mga biktima ng bagyong Yolanda sa Pilipinas. Please help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Ayuden a víctimas del tifón Haiyan en Filipinas. Aidez les victimes du typhon Haiyan aux Philippines.