The Philippines: Heaven and Hell

This week has been both heaven and hell for the Philippines. Hell because our country has endured the devastation of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked the crumbly Bohol province as well as the adjacent provinces of Cebu and Panay. It destroyed multitudes of old churches that dates back to the Spanish times, particularly the well-known churches of Loboc, Looc, Baclayon, Daquit etc. The oldest basilica in our country – the minor basilica of Sto. Nino in Cebu have suffered damages in its belfry and have been closed for restoration / renovation. There are a lot of people dead during the earthquake but the most affected were the old churches who finally crumbled to the seismic force of the earth. People were mourning for the loss of their historic tourist spots, for it is not history that is lost but also the potential tourist income from those well-treasured structures.

The remains of Loboc Church in Bohol
Photo credits: Inquirer.net

 

But unfortunately, it seems that mother nature is indeed a bitch for this year. A couple of days ago, the country again was devastated with one of the strongest storm in recorded history. Typhoon Haiyan (local name, Yolanda) amassed strength that surpassed those of a category 5 hurricane. Some experts observed that the storm may have belonged to a mythical category 6-7, it has been the strongest storm for this year and its strength is greater than hurricane Katrina and Sandy.

Again, the earthquake hit areas of Visayas were the first provinces to bear the grunt of the storm. But the damaging losses were observed heavily in Tacloban and Ormoc, Leyte in which there are unverified reports that there is a possibility that there could be thousands dead. Basic necessities like food and water have run short and reports of looting have been widespread which is a result of the desperation experienced by the people there.

The government, this time around, tried its best to evacuate the people who are in the path of the storm but unfortunately, the storm rammed so hard that even evacuation centers themselves experienced casualties among the evacuees. The Philippines, however, had been admired by netizens and people around the world, for exhibiting extreme resiliency in the midst of insurmountable odds.

 Satellite image of Typhoon Haiyan Photo credits: National Geographic

As of the moment of this post, recovery and relief operations are underway. The social media have been helpful in trying to relocate / recontact lost loved ones as well as encouraging one another to volunteer or donate.

 

*****

 

In the flip side of the coin, the Philippines experienced a dose of shining moment in the midst of its struggle, as Ariella Arida represented the country in the much concluded Miss Universe 2013 pageant held in Moscow, Russia. The stunning Filipina competed against formidable Latina beauties from Spain, Venezuela, Brazil and Ecuador. I happen to watch also the live coverage that was broadcasted 2AM PST. Arida went through the top 15, top 10 and top 5 of the competition and ending the competition with a solid answer in the question and answer portion.

Photo credits: missosology.info

But then again, luck is still elusive for the Philippines to capture its third Ms. Universe crown since 1973 and 1969. Arida failed to capture the crown and landed in the third place. Of course, as a Filipino, it made me more proud of my country as we try to face the devastation left by the storm and held our head up high as we pitched in our hope to Arida to capture the crown.

Anyway, Arida is a winner for us, for bravely representing our country and bring pride to our nation.

Until the next Ms. Universe pageant, Filipinos will still be hopeful to capture the crown.

***

For the meantime, this will be my post as I try to get more news about what have happened in the storm hit areas. Hopefully, my monster schedule will not try to hamper again in my usual blogging stint. Hay.

See you in my next post.

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