WHEN the clock struck 8 a.m. last Saturday, the sound of super typhoon Yolanda reverberated in Sta. Fe.
Galvanized iron sheets clunked and people shrieked. But unlike on Nov. 8 last year, the shouts were accompanied with smiles.
But 64-year-old Ledinia Ilustrisimo’s grin disappeared as the three-minute noise barrage commemorating the day Yolanda struck ended.
Her eyes welled up as memories of the typhoon came rushing in.
“Wa ko magdahom nga mabuhi pa ko ug akong pamilya (I never thought I and my family would survive),” she told told Sun.Star Cebu.
Sta. Fe Mayor Jose Esgana led the activities remembering the day Yolanda, one of the strongest typhoons to hit land, ripped through the town.
The day started with survivors picking up trash along the beach.
The cleanup was followed by a noise barrage and a three-hour program at the sports complex where different churches offered a prayer and the Municipal Government handed certificates recognizing the efforts of different non-government agencies.
“This is one way of checking the spirit of the people,” Esgana said of the activities.
Full recovery may not happen until three years, but Esgana noted his constituents’ sense of gratitude and hope during last Saturday’s activities.
“I am grateful that the people’s spirit remains intact. They understand the weakness of the government, as well as its strengths. They are also thankful to non-government organizations that came to help,” he said.
The typhoon destroyed more than 2,300 houses and damaged more than 2,500 in Sta. Fe, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Majority of the families who need help to rebuild their homes have yet to receive aid from the National Government.
Esgana said some borrowed money while waiting for the National Government’s cash aid to repair their homes, while others benefitted from housing projects by private groups, many of them from abroad.
Marissa Colong, 44, one of the recipients of a housing project by the Habitat for Humanity, was among those who joined the cleanup and the noise barrage.
“Nagpasalamat ko nga nakaluwas me sa akong pamilya (I am thankful that I and my family survived),” she said.
Three people died in Sta. Fe during the typhoon.
Last Saturday’s activities ended with a torch parade. Hundreds walked the town’s dark streets holding torches and candles.
The parade ended at the beach where the people lit candles in honor of those who died during the typhoon.
Afterward, they shouted in unison, “We survive!” Fireworks then lit up the sky.