Tacloban Diaries – Day 1


Time check: 11:29 PM.

Finally settled in today.

We arrived in Ormoc at around 4 am. We took a v-hire to Tacloban, and I wasn’t able to take pictures, so bear with my description na lang. Hehe.

It was still dark when we departed for Tacloban. I was very curious, I couldn’t take my eyes off the houses and vacant lots we passed by. Most roofs look new. I can’t push the thought of that terrible storm off of my head. That was around three years ago.

The city looks tender. Or maybe it’s because it’s 4 AM. But there is still a ghost of destruction and loss hanging over this place, so imminent and almost tangible. Maybe it’s because I couldn’t grasp the idea of a storm wreaking havoc. I know it but I haven’t been a victim (thank You Lord), and head knowledge and experience are two very, very different things. I can’t describe it fully. Ewan. Am I making sense? Haha

We arrive at Tacloban City around 6 AM, and our host Pastor drives us to the church. New Hope Evangelical Church.


Pastor Dante greets us warmly. The ladies serve us breakfast. We refresh ourselves and dive straight into what we came here for – their Youth Camp.

Last week lang, friends, ay we held a youth camp in Cebu, too. That is an annual thing I commit to. And now, a week later, we get this privilege to conduct the same camp to our outreach youth.

Malaki ang pagkakaiba, friends. Venue pa lang, this one is held at their church grounds, whereas sa Cebu we go to a much larger campsite. We have a fewer campers here and the activities are much more stripped down.

I came here with 11 other people.


So kami, we do everything to run the camp. Some of us speak sa sessions (the same sessions our cebuano youth went through), we are all sorted into teams, and we also serve as medic, praise team, documentation, gamemasters, finance, etc. Depende sa kurso. Haha. But don’t ask us how we do it. Hindi rin namin alam kung paano to mapupull off all by ourselves.

This year, me and Shookie got sorted into the red team. My campers are very active. They thought of our name (VictoRed), our cheer, they made a banner and they even made individual signage thingys.


Our campers come from Marayag, Tacloban and Bohol. And to say that they are an interesting mix is a biiiig understatement. Everytime may games, we give out the instructions 3 times – first one in Cebuano, second in Waray and lastly, in Tagalog.

We handle small groups, too, but more as a facilitator because hindi rin namin sila mafofollow up after. We are just there to be available if ever they have questions or need guidance.

But with my small group, I couldn’t help but engage and interact. Noong una, mahirap, because we have different languages. We first decided to speak in Tagalog para maintindihan ng lahat. But then I thought it would be better if magwawaray ang mga Waray and Cebuano ang mga Cebuano.

To make it short, just by listening and having conversations, I learned a few Waray phrases today and of course, made new friends.

We played games after the first session. At eto, medyo nakakatawa. In our camp last week, we had a camp rule na bawal pakialaman ang mga tanim ni Mam Merl (owner of the venue). Dito sa Tacloban, we didn’t have camp rules. To our surprise and great laughter, pagkatapos ng ilang round ng Catch the Dragon’s Tail, several flowers have been uprooted and a papaya tree was cut in half. Hardcore campers. Haha. Napasigaw nalang kami ng “halaaa, ang mga tanom ni Mam Merl!”

Bath time ng campers afterwards, so we went to the beach. None of us could dare swim sa beach, knowing that lives were lost there. The sand was black and shimmery. The waves were big. Pacific Ocean na pala iyon.


I have a lot more to say, but I think I’ll write them tomorrow. This day was very full, and fulfilling. Wish you were here guys. This place reeks of new hope.

Tomorrow ulit? πŸ™‚

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