That’s a question, I asked myself right after Typhoon Yolanda. After thinking about it for a day, I convinced the girlfriend that’s exactly where we should be going! When I told my family and friends that I had booked my flight tickets a week after the Typhoon; they all looked at me in disbelief.
Common phrases such as:
“Don’t you watch the news!?”
“The people are desperate. You might get robbed!”
“What if another Typhoon comes!?”
“No way! Really!? Your joking!?“Philippines!? Its too DANGEROUS now!”
“I’m sure it will all be okay”
Deciding to go the Philippines was actually really simple, while most tourists (like my family and friends) will probably AVOID going to the Philippines. I decided it was best to support them as they desperately try to rebuild during a time of crises. Through my small donation and money I have exchanged. My plan is to spend freely and generously and doing my small part in supporting the local economy.
What really hit home for me was when my friend Danielle; an American girl teaching SCUBA in the Malapascua island, posted pictures and a video of her home demolished by Typhoon Yolanda. (The picture above is her boyfriends’s sister’s home…or what’s left of it) It was shocking to see the devastating damage and seeing poor Danielle sleeping outside with no shelter (eventually upgrading to a tent)
Life is totally different now. I pitch water at the well (using a rope and a bucket), then I carry the water to my house for my bucket shower by candlelight. Then I sleep on the floor with a pillow and thin mat. – Danielle
We always hear about the bad news. Violence, looting, etc. But what about the good news!? Danielle mentioned how everyone was so helpful with one another. Strangers and neighbors bonding and looking out for each other. The pic below is Danielle distributing a pair of donated slippers or “Chinellas” as they call them on the island.
Here’s a quote from a person on a relief effort recently:
“I visited Malapascua to help with relief/rebuilding efforts post-Typhoon Haiyan over a week ago. Words can not express how incredible our experience was. The Malapascua community was filled with love – they welcomed us into their homes and were kindhearted towards us – it was beautiful. To see the families and children happy and moving on gracefully after having lost everything was inspiring. I am grateful, truly grateful, for all that I have learned throughout this experience. There is still so much more to be done.” -Esperanza
After reading that, I knew without a doubt. We made the right choice of going to the Philippines for our winter vacation. I’m also 99.9% confident that my girlfriend and I will be completely safe and will have the time of our lives!
To end off here’s a final quote from Danielle:
Home Sweet Home… But do not feel sad for me, because this is 100% by choice. I have the chance to leave the island, stay in a hotel, or borrow the couch in several homes. But, I choose to ‘suffer’ along with the rest of my friends and family. Though, honestly, I do not feel like I am suffering… I feel like I’m camping at the beach! – Danielle
You can read the follow up to the relief efforts in the post here