Off I go onto the next chapter of my life volunteering as a Peace Corps Coastal Resource Management Extension Worker

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Super Typhoon Yolanda and the Amazing Strength of the Filipino Spirit

We knew it, Typhoon Yolanda, was coming. The community was prepared. People who needed to be evacuated to safer areas were moved there. Massive cutting of trees happened to mitigate the damage they could do.

My favorite trees in town, a row of gigantic acacias were severely pruned to half their size, filling the street with piles of growth to be chopped up and hauled off. Amazingly, Yolanda blew them apart even more, filling the street again.
Pruning the acacias before Yolanda

After Yolanda the acacias are a quarter the size they were
  Our group of five PCVs in my area made the decision to NOT consolidate in Baybay but stay where we were. Going to Baybay only put me closer to the center of the typhoon.
Villarubins' evacuation center

Our house became a mini evacuation center. We expected it to hit about 10AM and pass in two hours. The wind woke me up at 3AM. We had no power, no cell phone service and of course no internet. Three windows were broken and half of the tree in the back broke off. About 9:00 I realized I had a problem in my room. I’d closed the two windows that would close but the third set of windows couldn't close because of the air con unit. We hadn't thought about the upper two thirds of the window opening having only cardboard in them. The cardboard had been blown out and the typhoon was entering my room. I wish I could have videotaped this most exciting and somewhat comical operation. It took Alex, Anita and I twenty minutes to get the air con unit out and those windows shut. I did take video out windows during the storm. The Firm gas station roof almost took off like a magic carpet but after tipping back and forth ended up standing vertical.