Super Storm Haiyan Stories

February 15-21 Edition

Super Storm Haiyan 
Northgate Diary
Living In Gratitude

Jonathan Aquino's
Fisherboy :
Imaginarily Directed By Ishmael Bernal

My novel "Fisherboy: Imaginarily Directed By Ishmael Bernal" is published October 12, 2013 on SmashWords

This is the story behind the story

A coming-of-age tale about a boy and his tragic rite of passage from innocence to acceptance of the mysterious forces that guide the destinies of men Less

Jay was a 15-year old homeless orphan who was adopted by an old bachelor, Prudy. On their first night together, he had his first sexual awakening.

Jay became fascinated with being a fisherman when Prudy took him to Bicol. Prudy wanted him to send him to school but the boy refused. Prudy, fearing that Jay would rebel like his late ward Arman, agreed. Jay experienced the harsh realities of being a fisherman.

The boy became close with Orlando, a young man who advised him to finish school and not waste his youth. Among the fishermen, Orlando was the loudest in denouncing the use of dynamite in fishing.

Then one day, Jay, was traumatized for life as he saw Orlando, whom he saw as the brother he never had, died when Orlando's boat got blown away from dynamite

As human beings, we all respond to the emotional cadences of our collective music, as this story also deals with the unbearable pain of losing a loved one, showing that courage often shows itself in the little things we do in our day-to-day existence.

It is based on true events.

Haiyan Stories

November 7, 2013
7:15 p.m.

Haiyan, locally known as "Super Typhoon" Yolanda, is about to hit us tonight.

I'm writing this in one of the office cafeterias, with a plastic cup of warm water.

Rain began to fall softly.

President Noynoy Aquino had a live broadcast on the evening news just a couple of minutes ago. The government is making preparations for what meteorologists predict to be the strongest storm in recent Philippine history.

The Western Visayas region, which includes Cebu where I am now, could face signal Number Four, which is totally unheard of in decades. I heard news of people panicking and going on mad grocery binges. Of course they would.

Now, on the brink of a giant storm with catastrophic proportions, I'm in the pantry watching the doomsday movie 2012.


November 25, 2013

             I was in Tacloban, in the neigbhoring island of Leyte, before coming here to Cebu earlier this this year.

             This is where Douglas MacArthur, the commander of the Allied Forces for the Far East during the Second World War, landed shortly before the Japanese surrendered in 1945.

I have always wondered why they dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and not on Hitler. MacArthur was with Carlos P. Romulo, who would eventually become the first Filipino to head the United Nations General Assembly and the first Filipino to win the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism for his war chronicles. With them is the exiled Philippine President and Cebu's most distinguished native son -- Sergio Osmeña.

"I shall return!" goes MacArthur's famous sound byte. Let historians tell us why he had to leave in the first place, and why the reinforcements for our soldiers in Corregidor was diverted to Australia. But it's all now in the past.

The entire city of Tacloban almost disappeared just over a week ago. Typhoon Haiyan, a.k.a. Yolanda, has virtually erased it from the map. The devastation was total. I've been following CNN's live broadcasts on the TV at the office pantry during the second week of November.

I saw the aftermath of one the biggest tragedies in recent times.

"These soldiers have no idea what they're up against," says correspondent Anna Coren, as the Philippine military arrived for aid and rescue.

No one had any idea that the damage would be so overwhelming.

The people of Tacloban, she says, "have lost everything."

      Senior Correspondent John Paton Walsh was with the mayor, Alfredo Romualdez, as they drove around the demolished ghost town. Romualdez, whom everybody heard had died at the first onslaught, was showing how his sea-side house was destroyed in a blink of an eye. "Boom!" he says, describing the sound the walls made when they collapsed and the raging waters came in.

       Anderson Cooper was besieged with cries for help as he reports from a crowded hospital. The casualties was mounting, and that's just the reported cases. Those who had survived are traumatized for life. The people were on the verge of panic as food and potable water steadily dwindled. There was no time to bury the dead. The body of an unidentified young man lay forlorn in a gurney in the corridor.

I've seen worse, but that's one of the most poignant scenes I've ever came across. Nobody deserves to die abandoned like that.

But there was no time to even mourn.

Jonathan Aquino's
Northgate Diary

December 8, 2012
11:51 p.m., Saturday

This is my first night in my new rented room, still in CENA in Northgate, Alabang, at the back of Wilcon.

My new room is cheaper and bigger; and I even got a real desk which I borrowed and I'm sitting on a chair which I just bought earlier in the evening. I found the room this morning and have moved all my things in less than half an hour.

I've lived in lots of different places and I'm grown used to, but still excited by, moving into a new place.

It's a family compound, and the landlady is really nice and she's not greedy, unlike my last landlady who plays the stereo super duper loudly; God told her to disturb other people by playing gospel songs for His glory.

Here, in my place. it's quiet, the neighbors are considerate and seems close to each other. It feels like a community. The landlady's husband is nice too.

When I entered the gate lugging the chair, they were watching MMK in the open terrace, the softly-playing unforgettable theme wafting in the air and going along with me.

 I feel like I'm on an episode. 

 I went to the place where, at least for now, I call home.

Maalaala Mo Kaya

It's nice to be here.

As I write this line, Bread's Make It With You began playing on the radio, following the acoustic medley of Somewhere Over The Rainbow and What A Wonderful World, one of my favorite songs ever, and the theme from Finding Forrester.

(See my story on Finding Forrester)

Bread's Make It With You

Living In Gratitude

November 17, 2013

Gratitude fills my entire being.

I've seen for myself, since I started my personal quest for spiritual enlightenment a year ago, that our lives are govern by the law of attraction.

Everything that happens to us is a result of what we have done.

Our actions comes from our decisions and these are what we have decided to take, in this and in all our previous lifetimes.

I'm harvesting good karma. There are some things I needed to do, and I got to do them today with the help of a friend whom I have helped ease out of a tight spot last night. What I gave him is crucial to his situation. I know what he's going through because I've been there.

The positive reaction of the powers of the universe blew my mind. I got more than I expected. All the more humbling because I expect nothing in return.

Blessed be.

Over The Rainbow/ What A Wonderful World
Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole

"Someday I'll wish upon a star,
wake up where the clouds are far behind me,
where trouble melts like lemon drops,
high above the chimney tops,
that's where you'll find me..."


"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing."

~Benjamin Franklin
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~ John F. Kennedy
Huggybear said…

"Gratitude fills my entire being..."