Diary Entry: November 8, 2013.9:30pm.
Finally, I got some guts to write some nightmare in here.
We expected Yolanda (Yollie) at around 8am that day, November 8, 2013 with signal #1 as its strength and 250kph as speed, as announced days prior to its landfall here in Panay Island. But to some unavoidable circumstances in the sky, Yollie changed direction and speed at around 7am that morning and news spread quickly that Northern Iloilo will already be expecting a signal #4 super typhoon at around 12nn-1pm that day. Due to some Filipino Blood in me, I became complacent and neglected the news and underestimated signal#4 because never in my mind and whole being that we are really at that danger (!!!). Fire truck roamed around our community and firemen warned us to get ready for the landfall of Yollie and that families near the seashore are forcibly evacuated to the evacuation centers. I laughed at the warning and still have the guts to talk about Napoles with my family rather than prepare for her arrival. After breakfast and still giving reviews to Napoles’ first senate hearing, there was a cruel “BANG” at our church’s left window and Gay and I covered our head and started panicking as Nanay shouts, “Pahigad na, basi madagdagan kita. Kaluya na na nga daan.”, pointing to the weak window, thinking that it would really collapse at that moment. After securing our safety, I realized that I acted crazy for overacting that way and duh it was uhm… nothing, but just a random strong wind. Gay joked that we’d rather buy some foods instead of worrying, so we happily bought some cheese-curls and candies and really not minding the arrival of Yollie. At around 9am, we laughed at the idea that Yollie was late because she’s a Pinay, and that she also observes the “Filipino Time” habit. 😀
Tita Fely brought Oting and Marione to our care because she will help distribute the relief goods to the evacuees and so she couldn’t worry for her two kids. We literally consumed all of our food stocks that very moment and enjoyed it. In between that 30minutes after 9am, winds started to really blow, and rain showers occasionally. I was busy texting (though no reserved power at all) to my classmates, asking if how are they in their respective places and laughed at their replies that no sight of Yollie’s presence was felt and her signal #4 is way too weak than Frank’s signal#1.
10am came, and winds began to blow stronger and still with only rain showers. Maybe, I expected flood just like Typhoon Frank’s, but no heavy rain enough to cause a big flood. Eventually, hours after, sights of bending trees, white sky, with silhouette of swaying coconut trees, mango trees, appeared at our very own eyes. And congrats to me, I started to panicked, until our neighbor shouted for help, that the large and heavy tree fell slightly parallel to the national highway. We shouted and called for Tatay’s attention (who at that time is busily updating Kol Boyet about the whatabouts of our place) to help Bebe align the tree to the convenience of the commuters, but failed to do so because of its size (with Nanay’s background shout for Tatay not to.) Meanwhile, a mango tree boasting with plenty of unripe fruits slanted to our neighbor’s house due to a strong west mountain wind. We cheered to warn him because anytime, the tree would fall directly to his kitchen. To prevent the tree from falling, he put 2 straight steels and a ladder to support it.
12noon came and I could really really feel Yollie’s anger (to his ex, Frank), sweetened with text messages that she had already her landfall in San Dionisio, Iloilo which is only 4 municipalities away from my dear Banate. We watched the whole happenings at our window, as we awed in surprise that the well supported mango tree fell to the opposite direction, and twas because of “Hanging Habagat”. Literally, wind changes direction and tripled its strength. We could mistake it to a whirlwind. I can’t believe that somewhat the news we watch on television came to life – right before our eyes!! It’s very unbelievable and Marion started to ask, what was happening. Suddenly, one of our church’s right window gave up, and fell because of the constant swooshing and swashing of the wind. Gay cried (with no tears) while shouting “tay! ang bintana”. I ran to the window, speechless at first and then also shouted “Hala! Wala na ang bintana nga isa.” I immediately thought of the things inside the church that could possibly be reached by rain showers through the broken window. I hurriedly arranged the glass stand (leaving behind 2 electric fans and a stereo because I thought Yollie won’t get worse) and commanded Banban to arrange their room, and secure the important things from water.
Tatay gathered us in our room to pray because we started to really panic after our neighbor’s fences (which is made of GI Sheets) piece by piece land at our lawn because the wind is unexplainably scary. It was like whistling. Tatay want back to his thing – checking for his books and covering them if needed – only to realize that a portion of their room’s roof is almost gone (with the wind). Hello sky.
Suddenly, Inday Oting, Gay, and Marione bursted out crying, that was because they witnessed the wind carry the church’s roof upward and then brought it to any direction it wanted. I shouted “ano to?” after hearing only “hala and sin tay, nagtabog na ang sin!” and peeped to the window and also cry “waaaaah! Lord, and sin! Wala na atop ang simbahan Lord.” Then I hurriedly go out to tell Tatay that almost the half part of the roof is gone. Tatay and Nanay immediately went outside and witnessed the other part collapse.
We were really surprised that Yollie had strong winds rather than the expected heavy rainfall. What more shocked us are the electric fans that we thought were safe at the edgiest part of the church, they were reached by rain by then. Ban2 and I couldn’t get it right away because of the fear that the remaining roof would fall anytime too. So we waited for about a minute and the wind began to calm down signaling that it’s time to rescue the electric fans. They were all wet and yet we still took them and wait for God’s miracle that it will still work. (By faith, it will.)
I went back to the room, hearing the wind gets stronger again, looking at nowhere and they cried again, “Abaw, kadamo2 sin! Diin ina halin?” and my sister added, “tay, ang sin day Lola, ubos gid.” (The next day, we realized that it was the rest of our neighbor’s fences, not our Lola’s… we were trapped into it, because it piled up to our exit covering the well.) I wanted to feel numb. I don’t want to see the roof of the house that sheltered us for 13 years. But still, I lift my feet and peeped through the window and saw that the front wall of the old house was completely gone and that I could see directly the national highway.
I wanted to cry. I wanted to only sleep, but Marione awakened my senses, “Ate, ma untat na na karon no? Nagpray ko bal an kay Jesus gina…” while cuddling to a blanket which later I understand his only comfort while his Ates are busy worrying. Shame on me! How could this little child have that mustard seed and how dare me to worry too much. I answered, “huo to, mauntat na na karon ah. Ara si Jesus no? Ti, tulog ka lang da ha…” while caressing him and he went back to laying down. I wondered how this little child can understand the scenario when in fact the adults had a hard time understanding it. It’s his faith. He believes that the storm will stop soon, so that he could play outside.
Tatay signaled us to help them rearrange their things because the GI Sheets on their roof are gone, so that means, rain would go straight to their room. I quickly took his many barongs, polos and longsleeved shirts and dump it in Gay’s already chaotic room.
The church… the house… and even the littlest part of the compound were typhoon-stricken. Yollie-stricken. The sights of our ka-baranggays running in the streets (with their houses totally damaged), uprooted trees, gone church’s roof and houses wall ache my heart. But, I was overjoyed to see that no one in my family went home to Heaven ahead of me.
As the night draws nigh and Yollie’s goin’ away of Panay island, I thanked God that despite the damages, we are still safe and tonight, 10:30pm, I am about to sleep, beaming with hope that tomorrow, a shining and bright sun will greet my forehead.
Yollie came to teach me a heartfelt lesson (which I sometimes don’t mind and that a cliché always) – to stop worrying and to start praying – when things are out of control. Trusting God seizes Yollie, for He controls everything.
10:31pm. Deafening silence.
Ps. Way nagd sang mas tinong pa di Lord? Hehe J
Bye Yollie… keep safe Palawan.