Walk The Talk

For those who survived the aftermath of Yolanda (known as Haiyan internationally), they walked. They walked kilometers of roads leading elsewhere. Anywhere far from where loved ones were snatched from them with a clean swipe of those cruel waves. It was painful for them to look back at the wreck, the chaos that was continuing to unfold right before them even after the waters have subsided. They needed to get out – to live, to survive because there was nothing else left and my months in Tacloban and Ormoc, and travelling around nearby towns, have taught me this much. I could not really get a clear picture of what they went through. I can try to paint a picture but it will still not reflect the same colors, the same tortured or hopeful expression, or the same clearness of the lines.


Yolanda survivors. Salute!

I promised myself that my stint with Oxfam will be my way of contributing or helping the communities affected by the super typhoon Haiyan which has devastated thousands of Filipinos in the Visayas region. Cliché as it may sound but all I wanted to do was help, in any means possible, and at least give a small percentage of offering before I go back to performing, crafts making, teaching, and travelling; but I surprised myself when I caught myself falling in love with my job – largely because of the people I have reached out to. And this love for my job, for these same people is my reason for pushing myself to the limit in the past week – to the point of exhausting every ounce of energy in my body because it was the only token I can give.

We were told weeks ahead that we had an option not to join the Climate Walk that was happening in November 8 because there was also a Commemorative Walk that we can take part in. I was not too keen of joining the commemorative walk and I have made this clear from the beginning. I was determined to join that Climate Walk, meet the climate walkers at the San Juanico Bridge in Samar’s side and march (even if I’ll be dragging my feet) all the way to Tacloban. I wanted to get a feel of what the survivors went through and to be part of that monumental stand in fighting climate change. Since I could not take part in both walks, I have asked permission to be part of the Haiyan Survivor Run instead before going to the San Juanico Bridge to meet the climate walkers. Luckily, the boss said yes.

Haiyan Survivor Run

We survived the Haiyan Survivor Run!

I know it’s probably not worth bragging about but for someone like me, who has not been paying attention to taking care of her body lately, finishing that 5k run for a cause was a big deal and it became an even bigger deal when we, the fun run participants, hurried to San Juanico Bridge to join the climate walkers afterwards to brave kilometers of scorching sun and hot pavement. Did I finish the walk must be your question now and just to set the records straight, I will admit that I did not. My walk ended in the Holy Cross Memorial Park where we were taking a breather under a palm tree, dismayed after Imelda Marcos’ arrival on a chopper that spewed dust and sand on our tired faces. I was tired and irritated with the audacity of this woman’s grand entrance at a memorial service which did not start until she graced her presence.

Climate Walk

When I asked the organizers how far we have covered from the bridge, they said between 9-10 kilometers and that there is still about 8 kilometers left before we arrive in our last stop. My legs were shaking and my knees were about to give way. I was thirsty, hungry, and was developing a headache because of the heat. I knew I could not walk farther and right then, I made a silent salute and a prayer of well wishing to all the survivors who walked from Tacloban to Samar with no water, no food. My respect grew immeasurably and I am proud to have worked in an organization that helped them.  Mabuhay po kayo!

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