I first visited Tacloban five months after Typhoon Yolanda struck the city. It was like a war zone. Totally devastated.
Now three years later i had the chance to return and see if it had changed at all. The centre of town was now clean, with new businesses sringing up. The Church that had its roof ripped off had been renovated and things seemed to be back to normal.
Next stop was to try and find the Alcaraz family in Brgy Anibong who i had befriended 3 years before. I was interested to find out how their lives had progressed since i last saw them. Arriving their by tricycle i noticed that the ships that had been picked up by those tidal waves and grounded inland had been cut up and cleared, except for some mysterious reason their some rusty engine parts that had been left lying there.
One of the ships that had grounded by the main road has been made into a memorial for the victims of Yolanda. I actually recognised one of the girls in the Dancing Children of Tacloban video from 3 years before and gave her one of the photographs i had printed before arriving there. She was happy i recognised her. I forgot to take her name. Next time maybe 🙂
Then came the task of finding my ” family ” . I wandered in the general direction of where i remembered their home was but got lost as everything had changed. No more Yolanda Village amongst the grounded ships to guide me. So i asked in a Sari Sari store if they knew the Alcaraz family. It wasnt until i showed them a photograph that they understood who i was looking for. One of their boys kindly guided me to where they now resided.
They were surprised to see me but were very happy that i had remembered them. I wanted to hear an update of their situation and soon we got talking. They told me that their relief home was destroyed by another typhoon which hit Tacloban in 2014 and thats when they moved uphill to their present quarters.
Hearing their story made me sad that the authorities hadn’t done more to help them as well as other families in a similar situation. They seemed to be just surviving somehow without any hope of a brighter future. This all left me wondering what will happen next time a typhoon hits Tacloban or what future the kids will have living there.
I will soon return yet again to Tacloban and find out for myself. I just hope i find them in good health.