CNN PRODUCER NOTE Despite the devastation wreaked by Typhoon Haiyan in the central Philippines this year, it seems Filipinos remain determined to hold on to their Christmas spirit. Aid workers from the WorldVision1 charity captured these poignant images of Christmas decorations in the towns of Palo and Tolosa in Leyte province. The sight of colorful Christmas decorations amid the rubble proved incredibly moving for aid workers Eugene Combo and Chris Lete. "We were overjoyed to see these images -- that's why we stopped by our vehicle and decided to make stories of hope from the people who decorated them on the streets and highways," they said. "We were inspired not only with the Christmas decorations but, most of all, by the people who put them up to remind everyone that Christmas is still in their hearts." The charity says it is currently shifting from emergency response to long term rehabilitation, by rebuilding homes and assisting in jobs.
- sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer
The Philippines arguably has the longest Christmas celebration in the world. As early as September 1, you can hear Christmas songs over the radio. People start to put decorations in their houses, commercial and business establishments. Everyone looks forward to the holiday, but children are the most excited. In the communities where Typhoon Haiyan caused death, destruction and despair when it made landfall November 8, it’s almost impossible to see and feel the significance of the season. Yet these people remained resolute that amidst the rubble; Christmas hasn’t lost its real essence. On the contrary, it becomes more meaningful. World Vision staff saw families putting up what little ornaments they have left, or even using items like old CDs to write messages of hope for those struggling to recover from the massive storm.
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