“At my age of 61 years old, Typhoon Yolanda was the strongest typhoon that I had ever witnessed,” Jovencia S. Pastor, a local market vendor, remembers.
“At around 4:00 am on November 8, I was already in the market. I was surprised because 400 pieces of corn were sold before 8:00 am. These were being bought up by evacuees in the civic center.
“After that I went home already. I almost crawled because of the strong winds and there were fallen trees along the way,” Jovencia remembers.
Edgardo D. Hibanada, a supply officer whose office is based in the civic center, shared that it did not flood in Bantayan. Flood was prevented by the low waters, of low-tide: yet the winds remained extraordinarily strong.
“There was a lull for 15 minutes after the first wave, and then the tail of Yolanda was at its strongest,” he said.
“I can still hear the sound of the trees and houses as they toppled down.”
Nor was the municipal hall spared. Most of the roofing and ceiling collapsed. Marilu C. Mangubat, a municipal hall employee, says that after Yolanda, they worked instead in the lobby. “The Mayor’s office was also greatly damaged,” she said. “Many documents were damaged and washed out.”
In that respect, Magdalena K. Derecho, a DSWD employee, shared the challenges of facing calamities, with multiple roles and responsibilities: working in the government to serve the people and at the same time, being a victim of those very same circumstances.
The public market was damaged right after the first blow of Yolanda. In the days to follow, vendors sold their products beneath improvised roofing. “We are very thankful because our market was repaired. It was not just repaired, so many things were improved especially the lighting,” Jovencia said.
Edgardo is also thankful for the rehabilitation of the nearby civic center. “After it was repaired, it serves as a temporary classroom for some schools here in Bantayan. Aside from the usual activities like sports and cultural events, they also use the civic center as a venue to talk about DRRM,” he added.
“I was assigned in the operations center after Yolanda and handled the relief goods. Going home at night, I encountered young people heading to the plaza. A question was raised in my mind, why are these people are are going to the plaza as if nothing happened? Then I found out the answer.”
“It’s because we returned to normal immediately,” Edgardo says.
“Still, we are thankful to all the assistance we received from the national government,” he added. “It really has helped to make our infrastructures resilient.”