November 10, 2014 – One year ago, thousands of lives were lost and millions of people displaced when Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on November 8.
But memories remain and on Saturday, residents and survivors from the city of Tacloban gathered to remember that fateful day when the strongest recorded typhoon hit the country.
Prayers were offered for those who perished. Sons, fathers, mothers and daughters – they were gone but not forgotten. “I wish he will make it to the kingdom of heaven. I wish he will be forgiven by the gods for his sins after he goes to his last destination,” said F Calalin, a Tacloban resident who lost a loved one to the typhoon.
Joemark Asis Rosales, a student, said: “Before this (anniversary) event, I could not forget but now with this event my fear is reduced and it’s like everything is coming back to normal. We are starting to get up on our feet.”
Today, as Tacloban tries to rebuild its city it gathers the people to rekindle its spirit. Residents lit candles around the city on Saturday to pay respect to those killed by the devastation one year ago.
Residents placed the candles along a highway and around their houses, offering silent prayers to their dead loved ones and those unaccounted for. As twilight approached, hundreds joined a torch parade and watched sky lanterns being released near the coastline where the deadly storm surges made landfall.
Each candle represents a memory, a hope and a determination to rebuild what was taken away. “Our tradition as Filipinos – it’s very important for us to light the candles because we want to remember our loved ones, especially those who died during the typhoon,” said a resident. Twenty-four thousand candles were lit and the city that was once torn apart in tragedy now unites in remembrance.