Oftentimes, I get a feverish desire to go back to Tacloban — not the Tacloban in the face of total destruction, whose roads are strewn with corpses laying on the sodden grounds, with piles of debris, downed power lines and tin roofs blown away.

Hungry orphaned children with their hands outstretched ask for help;  battered survivors, whose anguish are as real as their tears and moans and sufferings.

Hundreds are half dead with hunger and thirst bristling with soldiers dragging men unable to walk, in their bloodied rain-soaked clothes. The stench of  death is everywhere.

I yearn for the Tacloban of my first trip. I still dream of those green trees on Veterano and P. Petern’s crowded  streets, by the school I went to. The gentle heat  which lulls you into a mysterious languor.  They had beaches that were white and gold , they saw sunset by the trees.

As the sun turned red and it sank to the shorelines.

It was light that binder the Waray Warays together — those who had so little in life and those living a marvelous life.

The ancestral home of Antonio Montilla, a landmark on the quaint street of Juan Luna was trimmed and lined with trees that looked like blocks  of jade and emerald.The sky was dome of cornflower blue. The rivers by the nearby towns ran cold and clear.

How easy it must have been to be happy there, fishing at the wharfs and tending to the lovely orchards.

Why must nature soil what is beautiful?

Now, Tacloban has plunged itself into my life, like a knife. Maybe because when death comes at any moment, every object, every feeling is precious. If only  people could learn to stay happy with the mere fact of being alive.

I am writing reluctantly, because I don’t want to remember. I don’t think anyone would like to remember the most powerful tropical storm ever recorded to make landfall.

It lashed with winds and rain and brought a wall of seawater ashore — it  all happened so quickly.

Almost 4,000 people have been confirmed dead, thousands still missing — an exact figure is impossible to be had.

Who wants to remember?  It is not easy to be unafraid, but fear leaves you quite suddenly when you see all others possessed by it.

The tragedy wasn’t apparent, because the tragedy was below, hidden in the hearts of the people. How do you touch it with your hands? Or how do you manage to get behind their  brusque and defenseless exteriors?

If one could only look at each one’s heart and know their story.

There is something in this city that is as horrible as the deaths! The moral disintegration that  makes all hopes pointless in the days that followed.

There’s an angry man kicking a heap, demolishing it — underneath  a yellow stiff little hand, left over from three days ago.

An old woman with a bowl of soup weeps quietly as  tears drop in her soup.

In those days that I knew,  they still gave a funeral if you died. Now, there are heaps of dead bodies and garbage on the streets.

Others slept with the corpses. Death suddenly has a relative value: when it’s  rare, it matters; when it’s common, it no longer does.

Yet the good thing about a calamity is that sometimes, you find a friend. People run to you to help

That friendship is more beautiful than love.

After a storm, the birds sing.


E-mail Mylah at moonlightingmdl@aol.com

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