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After Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)

I spent the week away from this blog, on Facebook reposting news updates about Yolanda and information on relief efforts on my Wall. I hope that I kept the tragedy unfolding in the Visayas in the front of the minds of my Facebook Friends and maybe inspired some to donate to those trying to rush aid to Yolanda’s victims.

For me, far away and completely safe, Typhoon Yolanda was extremely sobering.

Yolanda scared me. I was frightened at it’s ferocity, I was frightened for my friends living in its path and my family living at its edges. I was sick with fear for those whom I consider, rightly or wrongly, to be “my people” now who were staring Yolanda in the face.

The storm has made me reassess what life may be like in the Philippines, even out of the path of most storms, living on Mindanao.

I am not one to underthink things. Quite the opposite. I tend to overthink everything. I admit, though, that my thoughts of retiring and living in a tropical paradise were those of lechon and beer, sand and warm ocean water, sunshine and colorful flowers. I had not given much thought at all to disaster.

I’m worried more about my family, my in-laws and relatives by marriage, in the Philippines. I’m trying to think of ways to help ensure their safety in case calamity turns its baleful eye in their direction.

Disaster has now entered my plans for packing our luggage for vacation. There are hundreds of people still stuck in the Visayas who never thought they would be. What can I do here and now to help my wife and I should something similar happen to us two months from now? Do we buy a solar charger for our phones and electronics? Do we buy energy bars and stuff them in our day bags? Should I bring water purification tablets? Matches? Should we buy a flare gun when we land?

I’m feeling the tug to learn about generators and gasoline storage solutions before we’re even in the market for a house and lot on Mindanao. What’s the correct mix ratio of concrete to water? For that matter, what’s the correct mix ratio of sand and aggregate to cement to make the dry mix? Should we be thinking of a larger parcel of land so we can host more animals  in case we have to rely on them for food?

I’m not saying that Yolanda has made me a quivering mouse but the most powerful storm in recorded history has made me much more cautious.

Super Typhoon Yolanda was and is (and will continue to be for some time) a line of demarcation in the lives of many millions of people. In the Philippines, the days before Yolanda and the days after Yolanda will be very, very different for those in the storm’s pathway. For other Filipinos, things will change in more subtle ways. Some will even benefit from the coming construction and rebuilding in the Visayas that we pray will come in months and years in the future. Others will feel the economic impact in other ways both positive and perhaps negative.

For this Kano, Typhoon Yolanda  will serve as the point that dreams of living in the Philippines took on a tone of reality.


The relief effort is still underway in the Philippines. Donations are best made to reputable international and local Philippine charities. I choose to donate to the Philippine Red Cross via PayPal. Whichever organization you choose, thank you.


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