Samar, Tacloban, Ormoc Aug 5 – 6

Allen, my ride to the airport in Zamboanga was early, so I didn’t get my morning coffee or juice.  It rained very hard on Thursday night and was still raining Friday morning.

The airport is small and once through security, it’s too early for the shops to be open, so still no coffee.  The plane was late arriving, so we were late departing, and arrival in Manila was just a few minutes late.  In Manila, I had to walk the whole terminal and through security again to make my connecting flight to Tacloban.  It too was late and once on the taxiway, we were delayed by air traffic.  On this flight, I got juice, coffee, and a sweet roll.

Drive to Samar (9)When I arrived in Tacloban, I could see from the air the progress of rebuilding has moved forward.  Not much left to show the devastation of Nov 2013.  Gideon and Zana Caytap met me and we immediately headed for Samar.  Zana was one of the first ECP relief workers in the Tacloban area, but had gone to her mother’s funeral last year when I was here.  She supervises the projects in Samar.

The drive to Samar was about 5 hours, through more of spectacular Philippines country side, along the ocean much of the way and down the peninsula to Southeast Samar.  We checked into our hotel in Guiuan and had dinner on the harbor.  The hotel is more of a hostel, with shared bathrooms and showers, but adequate for the stay.

Early Saturday morning, we went to Sabong fishing village and Sunrise beach in hope of seeing the morning catch come in.  There were few fish as only a few fishermen went out the night before.  The catch was 4 blue marlin, each weighing about 15 kilos (35 lbs.).  We returned to Guiuan for breakfast, checked out of the hotel, and headed to Sulagan to see an old church.  We didn’t get in the church because there was a worship service going on.  It’s an old RC church, with a depiction of the Last Summer in the altar and a row of life-size saints along one wall.  We did some shopping in the market across from the church, and on the waterfront.

We returned to Sabong to visit Auntie Dora, secretary of the Tay Tay Fishermen and Fish drying Association and saw the drying process for the small fish, mostly flying fish and other small variety.  These are dried and packaged in 1 kilo packages for local sale.

There are two kind of fishermen in the village – those who go out at night to catch the blue marlin, and others who go out in the daytime to catch the small fish, like the flying fish.  During the 2013 typhoon, these families lost all their equipment and boats, and their homes in the storm surge.  Most of the residents evacuated and there were few lives lost.Sunrise beach Sabong village (6)

There is a WW II runway located between Sabong and Guiuan and some rumors that it will again become an active field (probably military).

After a stop for a snack of hamburgers and fries, and ice cream, we stopped at the E-CARE office in Tacloban and then drove to Ormoc, dropping Zena off at one of the project sites.  One of the sights along the way is the “Surge of Hope” memorial over a mass grave of 1,000 victims of the 2013 typhoon.  I saw it in 2015, but it was still under construction.

Drive to Tacloban (7)I asked Gideon to drive by the memorial that’s been made from the large ship that was washed aground during the Nov 2013 typhoon.  Last time I was here, they were just finishing cutting it up and removing all but the bow.

We arrived in Ormoc in a light rain about sundown and stayed at the Bayview Inn, the same hotel we used last year during my visit.  We had dinner in the courtyard (and a few San Miguel).  I worked on editing the photos of the day and began this travel journal.  I’m tired and hot and ready for some rest.  Fr. Alvin Sion, the priest assigned to the Sabong Bao congregation (Church of the Resurrection) met us at the hotel and we had some dinner and a few beers before turning in for the night.  I met him last year when I visited Cotabato and Davao and he and I are Facebook friends.   I’m looking forward to being with Fr. Alvin and his congregation on Sunday.

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