Together with some friends, we visited Villamor Airbase in Pasay City last November 16 to bring some food and toys for the survivors of typhoon Yolanda. They came in groups, almost every hour, the military’s C130’s bringing families and individuals wanting to escape the visuals and the searing pain of what they experienced from the wrath of the typhoon.
I met an 8-year old boy named Esteven Jobs (I forgot his surname), who was looking at us when we went up to the Airforce stadium. He can’t speak Tagalog, only Waray, but his eyes looked playful and with a shy smile, we were drawn to him amidst all the people there. I took out a toy Pterodactyl Dinosaur from my bag, (supposedly for my infant son when he’s old enough to play with it, but decided to give it to somebody who can play and benefit from it now) and gave it to him. His playful eyes grew big and was very delighted and ran to where his family are. I met a woman, and her husband, both in their late 30’s and found out that she’s her Tiya (aunt) and that Steven Jobs’ parents are separated (his dad is in prison for several years now). I said “kamusta kayo” and asked where they came from and she said that they’re from the coastal town of Tanauan, Leyte–20 kms away from Tacloban City. I asked her what happened and I noticed that her eyes and her tone still evoke fear and panic, as she recounts the horror of their experience and how they escaped. What’s more horrifying were the following hours, finding themselves surrounded by piles of debris, shouts of people looking for their loved ones, cries of panic and anguish as they discover the fates of some of them. She and her children wandered through all these, even stumbling onto some dead bodies along the way, looking for her husband and other siblings. Thank God all of them were safe, some with minor cuts and bruises.