After Yolanda hit Tacloban, the Cagabhion family almost decided not to go back to the devastated city. They could not imagine how they were able to escape death. Three days after Yolanda severely hit Tacloban and the rest of Leyte, the Cagabhion familiy were among those who patiently waited in line to get a free ride in a C130 plane.
They did not care where the plane would take them, as long as they can get out of grief-stricken Tacloban. All they wanted then was to vanish from their view the devastation and the floating bodies everywhere. All that the couple Reo and Menchie had were two bags full of their children’s clothes and their three precious blessings when they left Tacloban.
The couple are residents of Tacloban since birth and it never crossed their minds that one day, in just one glimpse , they would be relocated somewhere.
Menchie, teary-eyed while relating what they had gone through could not imagine how they survived. After painstakingly transferring from one building to another holding on to the wires dangling from the fallen electrical posts, they managed to reach a three storey building where many of the survivors in their area took shelter.
Upon reaching Cebu City, they looked for their immediate families. Luckily, their relatives were able to reach the city and had an emotional reunion in the evacuation center.
The first few days at the Tinago evacuation center were so depressing and at the same time, encouraging. They never expected the heartwarming welcome the Cebuanos particularly in Brgy. Tinago had in store for them.
Their family along with their fellow survivors is very thankful of the Brgy. Council of Tinago headed by Chairman Joel Garganera and the rest of the Council members who were all very accommodating in helping them out and who went out of the way to source out for donors all over Cebu to provide their basic needs. They also extend their thanks to both the Local Social Welfare and Development Office and the Regional Office for also doing their part in making their stay at the evacuation center more comfortable for them.
After a few days of staying in the evacuation center, Menchie’s parents decided to go back to Tacloban to assess the damage of their house. They feared that looters and thieves would come and own all that was left of them, if there was any.
Reo and Menchie chose to stay in the evacuation center for as long as they can. They wanted the children to fully recover first from the trauma before they go back to Tacloban. When I asked Cherry (9) their eldest, if she still wanted to go back to Tacloban, she immediately answered yes. She could not wait anymore to travel back as she was eager to attend school. Luckily, their school was spared from the storm surge.
Reo used to work as an optical technician in Tacloban long before Yolanda. One of their greatest fears after the calamity was how to get back on their feet without any means of income. Menchie had a sari-sari store in Tacloban which had somehow helped make both ends meet.
“The Lord is indeed good” said Menchie. Just last November 27, Reo was hired by one of the branches of the optical clinic he used to work with in Tacloban. His employer looked for him and recommended him to the manager here in Cebu. (as of the time of the interview, Reo was at work) She realized that after every tragedy, problem, and trouble in life, God takes full control of those who ask for His help and guidance.
True enough, this just proves that there is indeed hope and light after darkness.
Written by Mitzie S. Santiago, DSWD