Tacloban Leyte is located in the north-eastern part of the island-province of Leyte in Eastern Visayas in the Philippines. It lies in the Cancabato Bay and faces the Samar island. It is because of this strategic location that it became the commercial hub, educational hub, and political hub of Region 8. This capital city is home to about 250,00 generally warm Waray speaking Filipinos.
Interestingly, Tacloban city was, for about 4 months, called the capital of the Philippines from 20 October 1944 to 27 February 1945.
After Typhoon Haiyan
Typhoon Haiyan made landfall on the morning of November 8, 2013 in Leyte, leaving apocalyptic scale destruction in the island and much of the Visayas region. Typhoon Haiyan, locally named as Yolanda, is listed as the world’s strongest typhoon to make a landfall and left 95% of Tacloban devastated.
Haiyan may have left the people of Tacloban in a state of a depressing shock and on its knees, but not its peoples hope and dreams. As the entire planet’s support and prayers started to pour in, the people of Tacloban started to stand up and work on rebuilding their houses and their lives. Rising is no easy task, but no typhoon can forever wash away their spirits. Signs of normalcy may not be completely there, yet you cannot help yourself to be moved by their sincere welcome as you arrive at the domestic airport. You are well aware of where they come from, of what they have been thru, but your arrival must be seamless and smooth as possible.
Even more heartening is the way they greet and receive you in every establishment you visit. The genuine display of their unwavering smiles just melts your heart. They offer you the best of what they have. They ask if you had a good night sleep and if you have been helped. They show concern if that fish was too salty for your taste.
You want to ask them how they did it. You want to hear their stories. You want to know what kept them alive and going. You want to know the secret formula for being resilient, for being stronger than the strongest typhoon. But you hold yourself.
You roll into the newly cemented streets lined with newly built modest houses, hotel accommodations, cute and quaint coffee shops, graffiti walls depicting that dreadful morning and people who have seem to accept that storm surge is the new way of life they need to adapt to. Leyte is now home to more than 50 hotels and still growing. Its tourism industry is now alive more than ever after Haiyan. Robinson’s Place and many other malls are already thriving and nightlife is back to its old state of joy.And when something awful happens, the goodness stands out even more - Banana Yoshimoto Click To Tweet
You whisper “thank you” for the countless good deed done to you while you were strolling its streets or for smiling while you were taking their photo, and realize you meant to thank them for something else. You meant to thank them for an important and valuable lesson in life, rising above. You meant to thank the people of Leyte for showing you how its done. You meant to thank them for showing the world that they are stronger and more resilient than any storm. You’re also thankful that you made this trip to witness firsthand how they are understanding that storm surge is now a new vocabulary in the dictionary.
Yes, the city beckons for you to experience their amazing island, their colorful festivals, their sweet pineapple and equally warm people. You turn your head, you hear the call. As you board the plane to depart, you make a pact with yourself, “I shall return”.
Liked this article? Share it using the sharing buttons below!