Madridejos, Cebu: Two Weeks Later

Bantayan Island Cebu katay

Heartbreaking scenes replaced the idyllic paradise appeal of Bantayan Island after Yolanda unleashed its wrath. Ruptured houses leaving many Bantayanons unsheltered, huge trees unbelievably uprooted from the ground, and debris scattered on roads, farms, beaches, fields, everywhere – these were the imprints left by one devastating typhoon that shook the entire country, even nations from across the seas. I witnessed first hand the aftermath when I arrived two days after the storm.  (Warning: Graphic images)

Bantayan Island Yolanda 2013 Cebu HaiyanTwo days after Yolanda.

Bantayan Island Cebu after YolandaTwo weeks later.

Bantayan Island Cebu Yolanda 2013 Haiyan typhoonTwo days after Yolanda

after typhoon yolanda haiyan bantayan island cebuTwo weeks later.

With unparalleled efforts coming from non-government organizations (NGO), local government units (LGU) and international relief operations, and the local community, two weeks of hard work made a dynamic progress in rebuilding Bantayan Island. Skies were blue and the sun shone bright, the grass grew and trees blossomed, houses rebuilt and shops reopened – the daily rural life, day by day, came back to its regular track. A lot has changed when I came back two weeks after the tragic incident.

bantayan island cebuStitching up the lechon

Bantayan Island CebuWhile the men took care of the meat, the women slice and dice vegetables.

bantayan island cebuShaving the goat for our spicy caldereta

Structures and properties crumbled during the height of the typhoon, but thankfully, many lives were spared in Bantayan Island. We held a small celebration, a salu-salo, with friends, relatives, and neighbors in gratitude for each and everyone’s safety and even for a short time, take our minds off the rebuilding. That day, everyone put down their hammers and nails, and filled our tummies of local delicacies matched with warm beer (no electricity yet).

bantayan island cebuNo beer-below-zero’s yet, but warm Gold Eagle will be just fine.

bantayan island cebuAt his age, he knows how to slaughter a chicken.

It was really nice to see everybody smiling and merry-making. Everyone took part in our celebration, adults, kids, neighbors, distant neighbors, etc. For me, the small feast we had was way to lift up the spirits and piece back together the shattered hearts brought upon by the disaster. This was also my 28th birthday. My sincerest thanks, my family and friends, for making this special day something I will remember for the rest of my life. I will see you all very soon.

Family photo.

bantayan island cebuSister, dad, uncles, and stars of the night.

Mga barkada ko sa Bantayan.


1. This events occurred last November 2013

2. Please LIKE Biyaherong Barat on Facebook

3. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter

4. Always be safe. Happy travels.


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