barely above water

We’re back at square one, or at least some of us are.  Others are not as fortunate and are still struggling to get a grip on reality up to this day.  The situation is improving, but not by much.  There are very long lines everywhere – bank ATMs, grocery stores, pharmacies, gasoline stations, meat shops, fast food outlets now reduced to food trucks, relief goods distributions, soup kitchens, medical check ups, etc, etc.  Street vendors have taken over the city’s commerce, selling goods ranging from basic food items to looted merchandise.

Of all the items being sold on the streets, the fastest moving items are soda in 1.5 liter bottles.  Prices have now dropped to Php50 each, inching closer to the pre-disaster price.  8oz soda bottles are also now appearing on sidewalks.  That’s a sparkle of hope that things will be alright, but all in good time.

Cycling has become the main form of transportation within the city as public transportation is roughly at 10-15% operational.

There’s not much in terms of Christmas toys this year, nor new clothes.


Everyone is starting all over again.  A new wooden cart from fallen coconut lumber and old materials picked up from piles of debris.  These could have easily been somebody’s wall or floorboard, somebody’s house that could never be put back together again.

Amid the setback lies a golden opportunity.  All it takes is the right mindset.

Somebody once gave the advice to not put all the eggs in one basket.  That somebody didn’t know that this guy had eggs that will fill more than one basket, and this guy will be returning with another batch of eggs to sell, and then another after that until he runs out of chicken.  But the chicken will come from the eggs, and then the eggs will come from the chicken, and so the cycle continues, and the question will remain unanswered.

Things are now moving forward, but if you ask me where we are at this point in time, my answer would be: we’re just barely above water.

Thank you all for your feedback and I would like to apologize for not being able to respond to all of them.  There are still many concerns that need to be addressed; some are urgent, some are not, but any one of them has the potential of throwing a monkey wrench into the thinking process.  Life here is still a long way from what it used to be, and there is that possibility of it not returning to what it was before, but we’ll move on.  There will be no timeline for that.  We’ll get there when we get there.

It has been a good 3 years for this blog.  Thank you all for accompanying me in my photo walks and I wish you all a better year in 2014.


21 thoughts on “barely above water

  1. Really nice images, this is the other side of being under water, were the life was disrupted due to rain, now it’s back to normal, as u say back to square one.. Keep clicking.. 🙂

  2. I have been praying for the Philippines and specifically Tacloban since the typhoon has hit. Thank you for keeping us updated and showing us how things really are. I cannot imagine what you/the people are going through, but I am praying things get better… When Katrina hit Louisiana, it took so much time for things to get back in order and still it is not what it used to be, but people learn to move on and pick up the pieces. I am glad the same is happening in the Philippines…

    I admire your skills in photography and also your captions.. It’s so simple, but cuts into my heart… I wish you and your family a wonderful 2014… I hope it brings many more great pictures and stories for you to share!

  3. I hope Tacloban will recover soon! My friend has the privilege to volunteer there for three weeks and left for Tacloban again after Christmas to help. Our thoughts are always with you fellow kababayans. And as usual, awesome photos. You and your people may have lost a lot but your resilient spirit and your talents are still there.

    Happy New Year!

  4. I’m really glad to hear that things are already starting to turn around there.

    For months in my coordinates of the atlas, the media has reportedly almost incessantly about the peculiarities of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. It’s as though the media forgot to report on real news.

    I wish you and everyone there an early full turnaround, and even greated prospects in 2014.

    • It’s the same for us here. The national media has only been showing the “good side” of Tacloban, which is but a small part of the city. Things will get better in the days and years to come.
      Thank you.

  5. “barely above water”, is better than the 18 ft. below that Yolanda brought. as you said, will get there, but barely there. hoping for the better if not best:(:(
    it has been a wonderful couple of years with you and your blog., it has been a good ride. you’ve brought more than enough of what is expected of you. you inspired, brought awareness to what was happening from that side of the world, you brought Tacloban, and the kids to places you would not imagined be. you shared your talent in photographic journalism. thank you, thank you, and may 2014 brings good cheers, and more wonderful walks with your camera. I speak for myself, I will be following your walks!! Happy New Year!

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