Inquirer radio reporter endures long walk to reunite with mother in Tacloban | Inquirer News

Inquirer radio reporter endures long walk to reunite with mother in Tacloban

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 06:52 PM November 18, 2013

MANILA,  Philippines – It was a gruelling 10-hour walk and  hitch-ride from  Tacloban  City to get to a small town in Leyte, but  Chona Yu was willing to walk for miles just to see her 65-year-old mother alive.

Instead of  breaking news for Radyo Inquirer 990AM,  Yu  suddenly found herself telling her own story as she searched for her mother and other family members, who live in a town  severely hit by super typhoon “Yolanda” (international name:  Haiyan).


The day “Yolanda” struck Eastern Visayas on November  8  (Friday) was the  day Yu last spoke with her mother.

“(I) can’t help but cry. I couldn’t get hold of my family. (I’m)  calling them endlessly. Agony,” she wrote on her Facebook .


When interviewed by from Palo, Tacloban on Monday,  Yu said her mother  was able to  tell her on the phone that their house in Barangay  (village) Cavite, Alang-Alang was  destroyed  by the typhoon.

It was their last  conversation but the start of  Yu’s ordeal.

“After that wala na kaming contact kaya na-force din akong umuwi to check kung ano talaga ang nangyari kasi wala na nga akong communication sa kanila,” she said.

(After that we lost contact and I was forced to return to my home town to find out what happened…)

A day after the typhoon, Yu immediately went to Villamor Airbase in Pasay City hoping to get a plane ride to Tacloban  City.  She waited until  the following  day (Sunday, November  10)  and finally got a seat in a  C-130 military plane.

She left Manila at 2 p.m.  and arrived  in Tacloban City around 4 p.m.

Wasting no time, Yu immediately  started  her journey  to  her  home  by walking and hitching a ride for almost 10 hours. She finally reached  home at 2 a.m. Monday (November 11).


She counted at least four hours walking with other people, who were also looking for  their relatives trapped in the typhoon-stricken areas , while the remaining  hours were spent,  hitching a ride with strangers.

“Yung iba, mahina ang loob, nahiyang maki-ride so buong lakad ang ginawa nila,” she said.

(The others were too shy to hitch a ride and they kept on walking.)

At dark, vehicles’ head lamps provided light along the roads, she said.

“Maraming  sasakyan, bumper to bumper so naiilawan kami somehow…” Yu said.

(Many vehicles were caught in a bumper-to-bumper traffic and their head lamps gave us light.)

Asked  if  it was her  longest  journey  since she  became a journalist, she said:  “So far. Para makita  ko yung nanay ko kung buhay o hindi.”

(So far it was. I did it for my mother.)

And it was all worth it.

Yu found her mother sleeping  at her  brother’s  house, which was also wrecked by the typhoon.

“Nagulat sya (she was surprised),” she said, referring to her mother.  “Sabi nya, uy bakit andito ka? (She said why are you here?)”

Since “Yolanda” struck  their family house, her mother,  her younger sibling and nephew have been taking shelter in their brother’s home.

“May five percent pa kaming nasasisilungan,”  said Yu, who now  managed to laugh.

Because she found her family, she decided to stay with them while waiting  for help.

Asked how she and  her family managed to survive for  days after the storm, Yu said: “May imbak na  palay, bigas at canned goods  sa sari-sari store  namin.”

(There were enough stocks of palay, rice and canned at our store.)

But Yu, who took a leave of absence from work, said their food  supply is fast running out.

“Nakakuha naman kami ng relief goods, tatlong kilong bigas pero baka tumagal lang ng tatlong araw,”  she added.

(We were able to get relief goods…three kilos of rice, but these will only last for three days.)

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