If roads were to be the basis, one could readily see that Yolanda is gone and Samar is up on its toes again. Unfortunately, only the roads got immediate attention to provide for transport of aid to towns further south...
Not one house seems to be standing erect as we passed this barrio heading towards Caluwayan...
Same story here. All are disheveled in some way or another
This far to Caluwayan Palm Island Resort & Restaurant, I could sense something very wrong - why do I already see the hotel building of the resort? It was not like so two weeks before Yolanda when I was last here!
Meters before the Caluwayan Resort's gate, we see two of their vehicles (only one is seen in this pic) like dumped into the mud amidst all the fallen trees and plants.
But we still entered the resort just to say hi or ask how everyone was. We somehow already know every crew member and owner of this resort (though we couldn't memorize their names) having dropped by this place quite a number of times during our roams.
Thankfully, all are alive and well, though all also have their houses ravaged by Yolanda, some even have relatives who perished. Bad still. I looked around (no pictures, argh!) and all the day-time cottages by the waterfront were wiped out. None remains of how many were those 6 or 7? The pool was now full of sea-water, sand, and debris. The casitas are still standing (though rendered useless) but at least the hotel rooms (the new building) are still intact at 2nd floor. They told us the surge submerged all of the first level and went as high as to a few inches on the 2nd floor. Good that all of them, including the owners' families who live in single-level houses nearby, were holed up at the 3rd floor conference rooms.
Being on familiar grounds, and it was already past 2PM, we decided we'd have our lunch here. How? Well, the friend brought cooked food all the way from Catbalogan, as we knew we were going to and through devastated places that may not have anything for us to eat. Which it turned out was exactly the case. So out the Tupperware-ful of rice and Tamalos! As for utensils, the resort's crews surprisingly brought out their usual fine dinnerware for us! The surge at least spared some of the resort's whatevers!
Hey, as we sat on a square monobloc table with monobloc chairs starting to dig on our lunch, I shouted "MYRAAAAAAA"! I did it just for the heck of doing it, since that was how I would usually behave when in this resort before Yolanda. No, I was not expecting Myra would ever appear at my calling - c'mon, with that tall of a storm surge? In fact, I was ready to cry thinking that amiable mother of a dog had been my only dinner companion many times in this resort. I was ready to broker the topic of "I will miss that dog". BUT...
"Putangina buhay ka?" was all I could shout when indeed the real Myra of a mother of a dog came to my side! The two other dogs (I forgot their names) who are her children of different seasons were with her. Yep, they're already big dogs and Myra their mother is one old regal lady of a dog - well behaved and well mannered hehe. Okay, I suppressed some emotion there, but I cannot tell you enough how happy I was to have seen Myra and her 'children'!
As usual, Myra sat there a few inches from me, ever watchful for anything I might throw to her. She eats Tamalos, dogs eat Tamalos, I just realized now! And even if the thing gets thrown to the sand for them to pick! Whoah!
I thought Myra and her doggies were such 'happiness' enough for me, after all that i have seen from early this morning zooming through from Hilongos to Tacloban to where I was already at. Some furry thing brushed through my legs I almost jumped. But looking down there, I immediately recognized her (or him, I am not sure of the gender). "Mingming, is that the real you?" so I exclaimed! And for the first time, she let out a sweet "meow". Oh okay, was that begging or nag-iinarte kind of meow? Ah I don't know! I instinctively reached out to pat it on the head and neck (as I usually did many times before). The meow got louder and more frequent!
I know, I know.. she was like declaring to the dogs she was the 'preferred pet' or something! So, as I have done many times before, I started tossing food to exactly between Mingming and Myra, and they would quarrel, with the cat always emerging victorious! Hahaha, they lifted our already sinking spirits! Ah, if only animals could talk. Amazing how they were able to 'detect' a deadly and sudden deluge of the sea that would consume every possible hiding place they are used to.
Oh, until the friends said "we better get moving as Hernani is still far". Out of the resort we went, to see once again, the reality that Yolanda has done on this side of paradise :(
Passing by the other barangays on the way to Marabut's poblacion, the views were just as we have seen in Basey. Just 'mal viaje', this time I had no more camera. And, reaching town center, whatever is left of it anyway, we could not believe the destruction. This was so far the most devastated town I have seen since I started on this trip. Probably because the highway is above town? So that one has a clear full view of everything that Yolanda mangled? Or probably my hunch is correct, that this is the most devastated of all places I have seen. Whatever, I know this town will take a very long time to recover.
Oh, the weary brain worked a bit here... seeing that my friends pulled out their phones to take pictures of the sorry state, I remembered I could also use mine! Ah yes, why didn't I think of that! Here are shots I took with the phone...
We did not anymore go down to see everything up close. We could already see and smell and feel the extent of devastation from this portion of the national road. And this was already 22 days after Yolanda.
Let us go onwards to Eastern Samar.
(Marabut is the southern-most town of Western Samar).
For a chronology of this trip's stories, click these numbers: