The Philippines is no stranger to natural disasters. I have lived through many earthquakes and typhoons. In fact, when I was about 5 years old, a huge earthquake hit my city and nearly destroyed it, and now, years later, if you looked around, you would never think anything happened.
When news of Super Typhoon Haiyan or Typhoon Yolanda broke out, many of us were worried. Still, we were hopeful that it would be like other times where the warnings were strong, but when the typhoon would hit, it wouldn’t be so bad, so many speculated that perhaps this would be like those other times. However, when it was announced that the typhoon was deemed the 4th strongest in history, people became even more concerned.
Everyone was on tenterhooks, hoping for the best until the typhoon made landfall. I am from the north of the Philippines, and the worst we had in my city was extreme winds, some rain, a few fallen trees here, and no major damage. Then, we started getting news about how our fellow Filipinos were not as blessed. The first few days, all lines of communication were down, and there were frantic posts on social media of concerned friends and loved ones asking for help, searching for any information. My mother and I frantically reached out to a friend in the area to no avail, as we have a few close friends living there. News coverage gave no solace as images of the devastated areas assaulted our television screens. Pleas for help, water, food, and rescue coming from survivors were also aired. There was also news from Bohol, an area in our country that was ravaged by an earthquake just a few weeks ago and has now been hit with the typhoon as well, and many of them are struggling with these back-to-back disasters.
Whether we live in those areas or not, we all feel the pain, we all see our broken countrymen in their ravaged environment, and we weep with them.
News of friends who are thankfully safe but have lost their homes, news of friends or their family members who did not escape the typhoon, learning that the death toll is now close to 2,500 and is still rising, this is what we as a country are dealing with. It is heartbreaking and sad and a heavy burden to bear indeed. Whether we live in those areas or not, we all feel the pain, we all see our broken countrymen in their ravaged environment, and we weep with them.
Yet, despite all the heartbreaking news, in the midst of this despair, be it about those still fighting to survive, I feel hopeful. I feel hopeful because I see people in my networks organizing volunteer groups, I see calls for donations, I see pledges by artists that proceeds of their work shall go to the victims, I see bottled water and food drives, I see everyone else in my country pulling together to help those in need, not only in my country but people from all over the world, including my employers at MyOutdesk, my fellow Virtual Assistants and their respective clients.
We are a resilient people, we are a nation full of love, courage and joy, I know we will get past this, amidst the surrounding clouds of pain and sorrow, the rays of hope pierce the darkness…I have heard from friends all over the globe wishing the Philippines well, sending prayers, love, well wishes, all of these things matter and all of these things give us hope. We are a resilient people, we are a nation full of love, courage and joy, I know we will get past this, amidst the surrounding clouds of pain and sorrow, the rays of hope pierce the darkness…
Abby Enriquez is a full-time employee of MyOutDesk and works daily with our company’s creative and marketing teams. Her coworker Jeremy Meehan, located in the United States, asked her to share her thoughts as the details of this national tragedy unfold.