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    Posted November 8, 2013 by
    Niena
    Location
    Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Looking for loved ones in the Philippines

    More from Niena

    THEY'RE ALL SAFE: I'll be Okay Until I Hear From You

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Niena told me, 'I don't think my family is missing. But I can't verify that until I talk to my mom and my children.'
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    The last time I heard from my mother was on November 7, 2013 at 9:34 pm. She was so worried because my eldest son was not at home. He was tending the people from coastal areas who evacuated in our Parish Church. She asked me to call him but I couldn’t reach him. I told my mother(Nanay) to evacuate to my uncle’s three-story house and that was the last time I talked to her. At that time, I knew the eye of the storm had not landed yet according to CNN Breaking News. I stayed up all night chatting with my sister and other friends who are in Cebu. At around 3 am Jeddah time, few hours after the electricity went down, all cell sites and landlines shut down too. I started to panic…I stayed up until 6 o’clock in the morning. Got up at 12 noon and I still heard nothing from them.
    I tried to help my fellow OFW friends from other parts of the world by trying to reach out from other friends until one Palomponganon was able to post through FB Zero, saying “no casualties but some houses and schools were severely damaged”. Until now, I cannot confirm what happened. Photos are grabbed from my friends and I cannot confirm the time they’re taken. I will ask the source of these photos later to credit him/her.
    I’ve heard from other FB friends that our hometown has no casualties. But, I cannot confirm until I hear from my family and the Local Government Unit.
    I'm submitting my story in hopes that I could reach my family and and help other OFWs around the world, know the situation of their families and friends.

     

     

    November 9, 2013

    3:06 pm Jeddah Time

    By luck and by chance, my niece-(Cong Ramones Villardo) was able to contact me.

    She said that Palompon is a disaster, but did not elaborate the extent of damages.

    I asked her to confirm her location. She said she’s in Palompon. She told me that the last time she saw my son(Bryle Keanu) was on November 7, 2013, while aiding the evacuees in our Parish Church(St. Francis Xavier’s). The day after that, she didn’t hear from him.

    She was wondering why she got connected to the internet  through Bayan DSL as it’s been more than 24 hours that we haven’t heard from anybody in the town.

    Our chat was just in a matter of minutes.

    She added, that there are lots of houses and roofs destroyed.

    I asked her to update me if all are safe. She replied, “Yes.Thanks God!”

    My town mates(#palomponbrigade )  in Cebu City will go to Palompon, Leyte by boat tomorrow with all the food, water and other needed supplies.

    All her information given are yet to be confirmed.  She didn't answer me when I asked her about the casualties.

     

     

    November 10, 2013

    3am Jeddah time

     

    Update by ABC President, Irving Joseph Arevalo aka "Chime" while in a speedboat with Hon.Mayor Ramon Oñate and Town Councilor Burt Bregaudit at sea near Bogo, Cebu

    *95% damage

    *Houses made of light materials are destroyed

    *No electricity

    *70% concrete houses without roofs

    *Town Hall, Social Center and St Francis Xavier Parish Church destroyed

    *4 casualties reported

    *All roads leading to Palompon inaccessible

    *Direct access to Palompon is by sea only

     

    November 9, 2013

    7am - Jeddah time

    Boat leaving Cebu to Palompon

    I asked my brother to send food and water to our Mom and my children.

    Many of my townmates are doing the same thing too.

     

    November 10, 2013

    10:07 pm - Jeddah time

    My cousin, Rowel Bughao, Palompon Brigada Organizer sent me message that my Mom and kids are doing fine.

     

     

    November 11, 2013

    Initiate Fund Raising for hometown.  #TabangPalompon #HelPPalompon

     

     

    1. The Municipality has already been placed under a STATE of CALAMITY by the Sangguniang Bayan.
    2. An Executive Order has been issued declaring 10 days no classes for Pre-school, Grade school and High school.
    3. A resolution has been issued cancelling all socio-cultural activities for the fiesta celebration but religious activities shall continue.
    4. 200 sacks of rice have been distributed everyday to all barangays with 1-2 Kg per family per day based on the Registry of Voters. All relief goods will be distributed directly through the monitoring of the Brgy. Chairperson.
    5. Clearing operations of fallen debris have started for the last 3 days on major roads. Arterial roads will follow.

    CASUALTIES
    1) Remegio Pasana 72 yrs old Single Male Brgy. Taberna
    2) Jonathan Gulane 18 yrs old Single Male Sitio Sta. Maria, Brgy. Mabini
    3) Virgelio “Berling” Esmero 60 yrs old Married Male Sitio Lebo, Mabini
    4) Rodulfo Porcarie 59 yrs old Married Male Brgy. Cambinoy
    5. Corazon de Paz 70 yrs old Female Brgy. Cantuhaon
    6) Quirina Costelo 50+ yrs old Married Female Brgy. Tabunok
    7. Melania “Mely” Encianco 70+yrs old Single Female Brgy Ypil II Cardiac Arrest

    The Rural Health Unit is open 24 hours. The townspeople have been provided with the medicine in good condition after the typhoon ravaged the supplies.

    The water system is functioning well. A resolution has been passed discounting the water fee to HALF of the consumed amount per month for those families who have shared their homes with their neighbors. 30 faucets installed on risers have been opened free for public consumption.

    Most of the buildings in the Public Market Complex have lost their roofs. Repairs will immediately commence to normalize the businesses in Palompon. An Executive Order has been issued by the Mayor for all businesses to control the price of commodities. A bakery has already been warned for closure for imposing high prices on their goods.

    Most Houses in the poblacion have been damaged or have totally lost their roof. Severely damaged are the shanties in the areas of Bitaog, Mazawalo, Ginawayan, Torril, Taipo, Kapinyahan, Salvacion, Palanas, San Martin, and CCF.

    People have been evacuated from the said areas.

    The buildings in the Northern Leyte College and the Palompon Institute of Technology, both tertiary level institutions, have either been partially or severely damaged. Most public schools within the municipality were also badly hit.
    The Catholic church which served as evacuation center during the typhoon lost ¼ of its roof cover. The parish priest calls for its immediate repair.

    The Palompon Social Center, the town’s multi-purpose hall, has totally lost its roof. It’s structural framework is deemed unsound and needs demolition.

    Most Birthing Centers have been damaged.

    All government workers together the municipal and barangay officials and including volunteers have been mobilized to help in cleaning, security, and distribution of relief goods from the LGU.
    Security in the Municipality is on high alert. The Police and Barangay Tanods are on duty patrolling 24/7. There have been minor incidents of looting during the early aftermath which has been dealt with. Despite the devastation, Palompon remains generally peaceful.

    There is still no electricity as well as cellphone signal servicing the municipality. Water services still functions well.

    The Municipality allows free recharging of rechargeable items such as batteries, cellular phones and lamps using the 60KVA municipal backup generator from 3pm-6am at the ground floor lobby of the Town Hall. Owners will have to provide their own extension wires. The Barangay Hall of Brgy. San Isidro also offers free charging from 6pm to 10pm.
    A television set has been set up both in the Municipal Hall and Brgy San Isidro outpost for news and updates via VHF antenna receiver and can be viewed by the public from 3pm-6am at the ground floor.

    Streetlights will be lit tonight, Nov. 12, or tomorrow for security purposes via generator.
    According to Mr. Leo Lastimosa of DYAB, relief goods have been sent through Cokaliong Shipping for Palompon. But as per ship’s manifesto no relief goods were loaded. The Municipal Government calls to anyone to kindly inform DYAB for this matter.

    Financial assistance may be sent trough Cokaliong Shipping since the company is keeping its regular service. Schedule of trips are as follows:
    CEBU-PALOMPON
    Monday & Thursday @ 8 pm
    Sunday @ 12 nn
    PALOMPON-CEBU
    Tuesday & Friday @ 8 am
    Sunday @ 10 pm
    The victims of typhoon Yolanda in Palompon need the following:
    Rice
    Canned goods
    “Trapal”, tent shelters
    Medicine
    Vaccines
    Rechargable LED lights

    Assistance may be made directly though your families concerned via LBC, Palawan, MLhuillier and other forwarders.
    Despite the devastation, Palomponganons remain steadfast and in control as the town journeys its way to recovery.
    MY SISTER PAID A VISIT TO PALOMPON, SHE TOOK SOME PICTURES OF MY YOUNGEST SON, OUR MOM AND OUR 3 DOGS(ELISHA,TINY AND CHIWAWA) AND SOME HOUSES AROUND THE TOWN. WHEN I ASKED HER ABOUT MY ELDEST SON. SHE INFORMED THAT HE'S VERY BUSY VOLUNTEERING FOR THE RELIEF EFFORTS IN TOWN.

    NOVEMBER 15, 2013

    10:25 PM

    FINALLY, I TALKED TO MY MOM FOR THE VERY FRIST TIME AFTER YOLANDA'S DIASASTER. IT WAS VERY BRIEF BUT WORTH IT. MY SONS ARE ASLEEP AND I DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH CREDIT FOR A LONG CONVERSATION.

     

    NOVEMBER 16, 2013

    2:15 AM IT'S AROUND 7AM IN THE PHILIPPINES.

    I TRIED TO CALL MY MOM'S MOBILE PHONE AGAIN, ASSUMING THAT BY THIS TIME, MY KIDS WERE BOTH UP ALREADY.

    EXCHANGE

    TEXT MESSAGES WITH MY SON, BRYLE KEANU.  THE NETWORK IS SO BUSY...AND MY CALL FOR HIM COULD NOT GO THROUGH.

    I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO REACT, WHEN HE TOLD ME THAT HE GOT STUCK IN THE CHURCH ALONG WITH THE EVACUEES. I FELT SO HELPLESS...BUT I HAD TO LISTEN TO HIM INSTEAD. I  EXPRESSED HOW WORRIED I'VE BEEN. I WAS RIGHT , I JUST HAD THE FEELING THAT HE STAYED WITH THE EVACUEES AS YOLANDA MADE ITS LANDFALL IN OUR TOWN.

    ...KEEP DIALLING....UNTIL

    3:15 AM

    FINALLY ...I SPOKE TO BRYLE THROUGH MY MOM'S MOBILE PHONE. HE'S ON HIS WAY TO GO TO THE OFFICE. I ASKED HIM, WHICH OFFICE? HE REPLIED, "RELIEF OPERATIONS OFFICE", TO START REPACKING THE GOODS.  I AM SO HAPPY TO HEAR HIS VOICE.  HOWEVER,  I'M  STARTING TO WORRY FOR THEIR SAFETY. I'VE BEEN HEARING NEWS ABOUT THE VIOLENCE IN THE OTHER TOWNS. I HOPE THEY'RE NOT TRUE. BRYLE TOLD ME THAT PALOMPON IS STILL THE SAFEST TOWN TO STAY.

     

    NOVEMBER 17

    2:15 AM

     

    I SPOKE TO MY YOUNGEST SON,EDWARD. IT WAS PAINFUL FOR ME TO HEAR HIS HUSKY LOW VOICE. IT'S 7:15 AM IN THE PHILIPPINES AND HE WAS FORCED TO WAKE UP SO I CAN TALK TO HIM. HIS FIRST QUESTION WAS,"MA, WHERE ARE YOU?' HE MUST HAVE ANTICIPATED ME TO BE HOME.  I BELIEVE THAT HE'S TRAUMATIZED. IT'S VERY PAINFUL NOT BEING AROUND BUT I CHOSE TO BE POSTIVE. I TOLD HIM THAT I WILL SEND HIM MY TAB BECAUSE I WANT HIM TO HAPPY.

    MY UNCLE AND HIS FAMILY(Uncle Floro and Laine)  FROM CEBU VISITED ALL OUR RELATIVES IN TOWN. THEY TAGGED ME A VIDEO CLIP OF MY MOTHER. THEY ASKED HER SAY A SHORT MESSAGE FOR ME. " I THOUGHT IT WAS THE END OF THE WORLD, I THOUGHT WE'RE GOING TO DIE. IT WAS UNBELIEVABLY STRONG."  SHE ADDED THAT SHE WAS STILL IN OUR HOUSE WHEN THE TYPHOON STARTED. EDWARD WAS ALREADY IN MY UNCLE'S HOUSE. BUT, SHE WASN'T. EDWARD CALLED HER MOBILE PHONE AND URGED HER TO COME TO HIM OR ELSE HE WILL COME BACK AND GET HER. AFRAID THAT MY SON WOULD DO AS HE SAID.. SHE LEFT THE HOUSE AS FAST AS SHE COULD. BY THAT TIME, SHE SAW A ROOF RIPPED OFF AND FLOWN AWAY.

     

    MY TWO SONS DON'T HAVE THE SAME PERSONALITY AND CHARACTER, BUT BOTH OF THEM ARE IDENTICAL WHEN IT COMES TO COMPASSION AND LOVE FOR THE ELDERS.

     

     

     

    Photo#1- Patron Saint Francis Xavier placed in our parish church wing(December 2012)
    Photo #2 - My post on FB today,sharing photo No.1
    Photo #3 - Tourism building before(December 2012) and after ( unverified and will credit the source of the photo later)
    Photo#4 St. Francis Xavier Parish Church(December 2012) and after (unverified and will credit the source of the photo later)

    Photo #5 & #6 message from my Mother(Nanay) from his mobile through Chikka

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