Saturday, March 08, 2014

My Side of the Story that is Haiyan

What seemed to be one of the darkest times in Philippine History, made light by the resilience, generosity and volunteerism of them Filipinos.

Numbered snapshots of November 2013. A time when the call to move was so loud, the whole world came to action.  The month before the last of the year was a circus of emotions- the good and the bad. Empathy. Pity. Wrath. Hope. Charity. Generosity. Volunteerism. Recovery. Rehabilitation. Progress. Insert a thousand other BIG WORDS here.

One moment in time, varied experiences for a multitude of us. To me it was an Awakening. Of how a small deed can bring light to a dark hour. Of how a fist-sized heart can house so much love for so many people. Of how universal love outweigh romantic love in ways one cannot measure. Of how each of us carry a responsibility towards the rest of us. And for a moment, I stood in awe of humanity in progressive motion.

Banker during the day. Volunteer at night (and on weekends too!). It was amazing to be just you and yet be different people for different people at the same time.

Would have taken more photos BUUT that time, I made sure my hands got busy with a million more important things to do.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Ang Makulit sa Maculot

The arrogance of the Young is that we feel we have a surplus of time. So we put dreams off to some other day. The regret of the Old is that a lot of some-other-day's never came. 

Woke up that morning with an undecided heart. I wasn't ready. OR at least several voices in my head made me believe so. But I remembered being told that one shouldn't always wait to be prepared for everything before doing something OR risk ending up doing nothing. So with eyes closed and fears shunned, I packed my bags and hopped on the bus to the South. Instantaneously, my awesome weekend began.:)

The town of Cuenca had too many stories waiting to be told- of life in a world away from the riot that is Manila. Our house of Sawali was far from the convenience of the modern city but it cradled us home. Besides, it's always liberating to be someplace totally different from everything I'm familiar with. Delightful, even.

There were whispers of otherworldly creatures and lost souls--of travelers and mountaineers who came to conquer Maculot but failed to come out. Our host even spoke of spirits who dwelt inside our shelter. I was in a quirky dance of emotions. Disbelief. Fear. Bravado. I remembered dismissing Mama's reminder of saying "Tabi Tabi po" but atop the mountain, I did as I was told. 

The climb was a test of strength- physically, mentally and emotionally. Half of the time I was doubting whether I'd make it. The other half, I was psyching myself singin' lalala. During moments of exhaustion, we found rest and recovered strength from new found friends- fellow travelers who had their own stories to tell. When all else failed, there's buko juice. hihi. 

PS. I whispered your name to the wind in the hopes that heaven would hear it better--coming from a place nearer the clouds. It was a first but it awful felt like goodbye.  
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