once bitten, twice shy

If we are to believe that super typhoons come about only once in every century, then we shouldn’t have any more of these catastrophic hurricanes in the next 200 years.  I certainly hope this is true because this is getting to be very tiring and traumatic.  Last week’s calm was the precursor to this storm.

Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby) didn’t hit us directly this time, nor was it as violent as Haiyan, but it was the longest 8 hours of fierce wind and rain that battered Eastern Visayas.  The eastern seaboard of Samar received the brunt of the typhoon and news are now slowly trickling in.  As of this writing we still don’t have electricity, or maybe the better term should be powerless.

Everybody seemed well prepared this time.  People living in the coastal areas moved to evacuation centers as early as Thursday.  Everyone bought their food supplies early and the groceries opened until the last day before the storm made landfall.

The weather was still bad on Sunday.  It was not the usual sunshiny day after the storm.  People had to wait until Monday to return home.


Aside from their houses, these may be their only other possessions.


The trip home is a short one, but nobody knew what to expect when they reached home, if it was still standing.




The statue of the Santo Niño is a staple in most Filipino homes.  There has been a lot of stories about this statue of the child Jesus during super typhoon Haiyan, of how the flood water didn’t reach where it stood, or how it miraculously stayed dry while everywhere around it was submerged in water.


Fishing boats were tied on top of the bridge, safe even if it didn’t stay dry.  It will sail another day.


A fisherman reassembles the outrigger of his fishing boat.  Things will be back to normal for him who has learned the hard lessons from the year before.


Picking up the pieces.  This time there are pieces to bring back home, and there is a home to return to.


The less one has, the less there is to worry.  There will always be trade offs.


and imagine if only we didn’t have to worry about anything….


It feels good to be back home again, and all the dolls have made it home as well.


Too old and partially paralyzed to get a regular job, the challenges have just multiplied for this aging carpenter.

And these are the stories of our lives…


14 thoughts on “once bitten, twice shy

  1. I am so happy to hear from you Orlando. I kept a close watch on new coverage and was glad to hear about the early evacuations and shelters that obviously saved so many lives. Sometime the most devastating storms aren’t the most powerful one but those that are slow moving and dump large amounts of rain can cause so much damage. Thank you for posting again when finally had the opportunity.

  2. I love your blog Orlando. You always have such a wonderful story to tell. When I heard the typhoon was headed your way I wondered how everyone and everything would make out. Kinda felt like I had family there to worry about even though I have never had the pleasure of even visiting. Thanks for keeping everyone posted and I’m glad it wasn’t worse. Maybe there won’t be another for a couple hundred more years now. Stay safe.

  3. So relieved you and yours are safe, you’ve been in my thoughts these last few days.

    As always a very moving and thought-provoking post with some very touching images. The aid agencies have been full of praise for the way the authorities have dealt with things this time around. It certainly looks like the tough lessons of last year have been taken to heart. The casualty figures were significantly lower this time around, although the slow progress of the typhoon has increased the flooding risk dramatically and I suppose we won’t see the full effect for a day or two.

    Having said that, your pictures bring home what it means to leave your home behind, not knowing what awaits on return. I have a lot of empathy as my parents were refugees from Poland after World War 2. Theirs was a different exodus but the trauma of losing everything including friends and family, is something they went through, so it’s something I can relate to.

    It makes me angry that the areas of the world least able to afford any loss are having to pay the price for the profligate existence and practices of the Western world. Climate change is having a savage effect on some parts of the world – I was in Fiji three years ago and local villagers where I was staying told me that until around 10/15 years ago, their houses were previously made of wood. But after endless repeated storms of increasing ferocity in the past two decades they were forced to change the practices of hundreds of years and now all construction is of brick or stone.

    Anyway, time for you all to get back to normal, I guess.. till the next time…. Stay safe and love to you all.

    • Yes, indeed, the government has learned a lot from the past experience. The police and military were deployed as early as 2 days before the expected landfall with the last minute mobilization to Eastern Samar when it was clear that Tacloban will not be in the typhoon’s direct path.
      I do wish this to be the last strong typhoon to ever hit the country, or anywhere else for that matter. Another such catastrophe might prove to be too difficult to recover from, both mentally and physically.
      We’re still waiting for power to be restored before we get back to normal. They say we’ll have electricity before Christmas, and if that’s the case, let tonight be Christmas eve.

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