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The Story of Danilo

CATBALOGAN, EASTERN SAMAR

"We live a very simple life. Me and my family are happily living in our own house.

Back then, I am working in a tailoring shop and I can say that my earning is enough to provide for my family.


When typhoon Yolanda hit our place, we lost everything.  Our house was destroyed. I thought that it is strong enough to keep us safe since it is made of concrete but I was wrong.

I clearly remember as if it only happened yesterday.  The wind grew stronger and stronger that morning and the water suddenly rises. The roofing of our house was destroyed because of the strong winds, the doors and windows of the house as well due to the heavy flood. My wife was very afraid. She fears that we will all die. I told my wife I will do anything to survive and protect them and bring them to a safe place. But in my mind if it is our time there is nothing we can do.


As the water rises I know that all of us will be carried away by the flood and might drown so decided to bring my family to the highest part of our house and look for something that we can hold on.  I wrapped my wife and my children with the table cloth I saw floating and put ply wood that fell from our ceiling in front of them. I embraced my whole family together with the table cloth and the plywood. I can feel the pain every time something hits my body but I have to keep embracing them to protect them. As I recall the strong winds lasted for about 2 hours and I embraced my whole family the whole time.


When the storm surge stopped, the water also slowly subsides. The rain continues to pour and we hardly see anything. When the surroundings become visible, I saw the widespread devastation; fallen trees, toppled posts, overturned cars, dead animals and ruined houses including our house. On most houses, only the stone frames were left. I thought I was having a bad dream. I tap my head several times and say to myself wake up this is not real… this is not real.


When I saw the destruction I thank God for sparing my life and my family’s life. I have cuts and bruises all over my body protecting my family. It hurts but it is nothing compared to what happened to the other families especially those who lost the love ones.


About noon time the next day, we started to look for anything that we could still use. I saw our stuff in the mud; our clothes, furniture and others but we cannot use it anymore. We were not able to salvage anything.


Without eating for a day, we started to feel hungry. We looked for food but the whole barangay has no food. News came to us that a cargo vessel loaded with rice going to Cebu was stranded because of the typhoon.  Two of the crews of the vessel died because of the storm surge. The stranded cargo vessel is 4 kilometers away from our place. My body is still in pain and because I have “polyo” it will be difficult for me to walk that far so my wife decided to go with the others to take chance to get rice and other food. She succeeded but the food did not last long.

I don’t want my family to suffer more so we took chance and go to Manila thru the C-130 plane.  We stayed temporarily at my wife’s cousin’s house in Caloocan. My cousin helped me to find a job. I am now working as a sewer. My family decided to stay here in Manila. We are now starting to rebuild what was lost.


I am very grateful to all the people who helped us in Tacloban and here in Manila. To mention, the owners of the company where I am working now, the IPrevail donors/sponsors and the WEIP workers and volunteers. Thank you  very much for all the help. I will be forever grateful!

Because of your help, my wife can and will start a small store business very soon. My children can enroll and continue their studies this school year.


I know that it will take a long time before we can recover fully from what happened but as long as there are selfless people, never holding back to help, we will make it. "