"Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, was an exceptionally powerful typhoon that devastated portions of southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, in early November 2013. It is the DEADLIEST Philippine typhoon on record, killing at least 5,235 people in that country alone. Haiyan is also the strongest storm recorded at landfall, and unofficially the fourth strongest typhoon ever recorded in terms of wind speed."
I know we have all heard about it the news. Seeing it is one thing, but knowing your family is actually going through it is far worse. As many of you know I am half Filipino. My mom is born and raised Filipino. She grew up on Panay Island, in San Enrique (near Iloilo), in Barangay Braulan. I have had the pleasure of visiting her home three times before, and nearly all of her family still resides there to this day.
Map of Panay Island
This was two years ago when I visited my family after a tournament with the Malditas.
The path of Typhoon Haitian
But back to the barrio (the term we use to describe the neighborhood or area in the countryside, similar to "campo").. my family pretty much live in one designated area. There's my lola's house and then her kids have their homes nearby, all within walking distance of one another. And then the wives and husbands of my aunts and uncles also have family members nearby. That is why when you go to the Philippines, EVERYBODY is your family, and why filipinos are known to be friendly and welcoming (unless of course you catch me in a soccer game or on a mtv challenge then my maldita side comes out :p).
Just a few of my relatives!
Inside my Lola's house last year with my cousins, tita, and lola
In front of my tita's house last year. Houses like these suffered significant damage.
In my tita's house two years ago. Much of the houses are constructed with bamboo.
Roof blown off
Roof blown off and even inside is damaged
Destruction and debris
Well, what is going on now? Because so many people were affected by the typhoon most resources are limited. Carpenters for rebuilding are tending to their own families right now. Generators are triple the price and are only in main cities. My family is currently trying to acquire one, but it is turning out to be a arduous task. One of my cousins in Manila might have to get it there and then travel by boat instead of by plane to get a generator to my family. Power is out for the next few months probably and that is why a generator helps!
The make shift kitchen for the meantime
We're also lucky that the newly paved main road is still open, linking us to the nearest open town that is still up and running. The hospital is also in good condition. Unfortunately my lola is there now after being injured in a post typhoon motorcycle accident. Why my badass 83 yr old tiny-but-tough-as-nails Lola was left on a motorcycle to be hit by my careless cousin who's motorcycle was stuck in the ridges of the muddy mountain road... I don't know. But I am sure when Lola is back to her normal health some one is going to get pinched. Hard. Lola is THE boss in the barrio. I also think this mini accident happened for a reason, because my Lola can be stubborn and she refused to see a doctor after her terrible cough and aches and pains as she had too much to do in the barrio! They just suffered from this crazy typhoon. So I get it. Family first. Gotta make sure everything is getting done. Well, lola, you can't do all that when you're sick. And because my family dragged her to the hospital (hopefully they took the trike this time), she found out she had tuberculosis and pneumonia. My lola has been able to get the proper care and STILL after all this tragedy, sickness, bruises, etc.. she in high spirits. That is my lola. And I see my lola in my mom today. My mom is always reminding me family is everything, to be thankful for what I have, and to help people whenever I can. I am so proud to be related to both of them and that is why I am so proud to be a filipino.
Lola and i
Nanay (mom) when our family went to visit the Philippines for the first time. never thought I would ever see my mom do this!
HERE'S HOW YOU CAN HELP!!!
So in light of this typhoon and the destruction that it has caused, I have decided to find a way to help my family who have been directly affected. The last few weeks I have been accepting donations to paypal account firstname.lastname@example.org and I have also been auctioning off items on eBay where 100% of the money is being sent to my family in the Philippines to help rebuild their homes.
Also, my fellow challenge buddies Sam from Real World San Diego and Robb from Real World St. Thomas, on their own accord contacted me and sent me their jerseys to help raise money!
So far, I have raised over $3000 between ebay and paypal donations.
My challenge jersey from Rivals 2 went for over $300!
My recent Philippine National Team Jersey went for over $400!
Other jerseys and items relating to soccer and real world made over $800!
So for the people that have already helped, thank you so much!!! Know that you are directly helping my family rebuild their homes lost in Typhoon Haiyan. They will have a much easier time thanks to all of you. Some of you I know, and some of you I don't, either way I can't tell you how thankful and grateful my family and I are for your generosity!
I will be trying to update my blog as I receive information. Thank you so much for reading!