I lived at V&G Subdivision. One of the catch basin during rainy days in Tacloban. I am a Waray. A Taclobanon that happens to be working in Manila for my family. A family with parents, a sibling, and a neice living in the province of Leyte.

In my 5 years of independent life, I’ve never felt a anxiousness in my family. May it be earthquakes, illness, rainy season, etc. But then last year. It was the first time I cried for my family worrying about them.

It was still clear in my memory. Last year. November 08. I was on a dayshift – 7AM ’til 5PM. I was alone in my cube. My lead was out of office. The other sub-team, GSCM, was still there. They were in night shift schedule. At around 7:30AM to 8:00AM I started checking Facebook feeds and PAG-ASA forecasts. Feeds said they can’t contact their relatives. I had work issues (tickets) that time. But somehow, I was distracted with those feeds. I cannot focus on my work.

I started calling them. Smart network. No signal. Globe network. No signal. At first it was just, ‘ Okay, gonna call them later.’ But then worriness overwhelmed me I started calling them again. News feeds said that there were storm surges happened. Flood happened. Flying sims (if you know what I mean).

I started searching for this word, storm surge. Fear overwhelmed my entire being. A lot of things came into my mind.

I’m alone in cube. I started crying. I thought I cannot control it. But half of the 15th floor secured bay heard me. They heard me sobbing. Crying. Checking the feeds. Trying to call my parents.

That killed me big time. Killed me out of worrying.

To cut the story short, was able to call them on a Wednesday morning. And everything else is history. They are fine.

A year later.

I’ve decided to visit Tacloban a year after the storm. Hitting two birds in one stone. I’ve decided to go back a year later to visit my parents and to commemorate what Yolanda did to my city.

Bulig Isko, an organization which I am part of, organized an initiative, Light Up Tacloban: One Light, One Prayer, that aims to raise 5,000 commemorative candles to be lighten up on the night of commemoration.

They tapped me to help raise funds. Since the plan has been polished, all it needa to do is to implement. I am just so favored that I am part of a project with 500 resources. Project Windchimes. A very competitive project not just in deliverables but also in engagement.

I just presented the proposal to the Outreach team I presented an opportunity to help. I didn’t asked for donations or sowhatever. Just presented an opportunity. There’s a difference. Presenting an opportunity means the initiative will still push through with or without your help. So it is up to the project if you will grab it and be part of it.

Project Windchimes was able to raise 172 candles. And because I will go home for the event, automatically I will be their representative.

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November 07. While waiting for my flight, I’ve decided to create my overdue blog topic. It took me the whole travel to finish it! Three hours! Ganun pala ako katagal gumawa ng blog!

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It was also my first time to ride a 40-seater propeller plane. Nasira kasi yung runway ng airport causing big planes not be able to have a flight to and from Tacloban. A lot of flights were cancelled.

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And during my travel, I was able to meet chairman of Philippine National Red Cross? Dick Gordon. And it is just so amazing that he even discussed with me about his plan of doing a big IT Project for Red Cross. He even gave me his card. I told him that I am working for Accenture and I told him that Lito Tayag is our currently our Country Managing Director.

At long last I missed HOME. Iba pa rin ang feeling pag nasa bahay ka. Yung bahay niyo talaga. Regis’ house. It is just so different kasi parang ang luwag ng bahay. Tatlo lang kasi kami. Mama. Papa. Tin. Samantalang dati eh lima kami. Mama. Papa. Ate. Tin. Meg. Nagbago na nga.

Meeting with Bulig Isko. I just need confirmation on what to do the following day.

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300 Lanterns were lighten up at Leyte Park in commemoration of last year’s devastating storm that swept off all coastal areas and nearby areas of Tacloban and the rest of Leyte. These lanterns symbolized hope, life, and gratitude. That despite the adversities, Taclobanons remained strong.

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And t’was my first time to light up a lantern! Ang galing! Hindi nasusunog ung paper! It’s like a hot air balloon!

November 08. Saturday. Exactly a year after the storm. Bulig Isko prepared a small appreciation party for the barangay officials of Tacloban.

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First, the candles were ‘blessed’ before giving to the respective barangays. I saw some of the candles of Windchimes others who sponsored commemorative candles. It’s just so heart-warming that my project and some of my colleagues were able to grabbed the opportunity to help.

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The party started but unfortunately I needed to go to Robinsons Tacloban to meet with my parents to have some quality time with them.

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Night time. Light Up Tacloban started. Mama and I was able to roam around the downtown area to witness the candle lighting drive. At Balyuan grounds, we were able to see Imelda Marcos speaking about encouraging the Taclobanons. She speaks in Waray! Just so fluently. Amazing.

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I will always be proud of these guys whom I worked with during outreach activities for Tacloban.

Siguro the name Tin Regis is always being linked to the word outreach. Well, I don’t mind. It is humbling to know that people recognize me because of such initiatives – project-wide or Tacloban-related. It is not about me really. What I’m doing is just a byproduct of how Jesus loves me. It just overwhelms my heart it cannot contain but to spread it to others. I’m not doing such to impress people but to impress and please Him. Not an assurance of my salvation but of how He loves me. Salvation? Only Jesus could give it to you. Wanna know how?

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