50,000 candles line streets of Tacloban, Leyte to mark ‘Yolanda’
Nov. 8, 2015/1959 TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Philippines — Neighbors Carmelita Labanan and Roger Loterio went out of their houses in Barangay 86 in San Jose District here to light candles on the street for different reasons.
Labanan, 53, said she was lighting the candle for her mother, Anastinia Moreno, and stepfather Zacarias, both 79, who were killed during the storm surge that was generated by super typhoon Yolanda exactly two years ago.
“Wherever they are now, I am praying for the eternal repose of their souls,” Labanan said.
Her stepfather was recovered three days after the onslaught of Yolanda and her mother was found 42 days later.
Loterio’s candle was a form of a thanksgiving because his family survived the onslaught.
“We lost everything. Our house was totally washed out but what was important was we all survived from Yolanda and this is more than enough to show our gratitude to the Lord and say thank you,” said the 47-year father to five children.
Official records disclosed that about 2,300 people from Tacloban were killed and 600 others missing due to Yolanda. (The official death toll in Visayas was over 6,000.)
At least 50,000 lighted candles lined up the 24-kilometer stretch from Tacloban to the towns of Palo, Tanauan and Tolosa.
After the 6 p.m. Mass held at the Santo Niño Church, people started lining up in the streets to light the candles.
These candles were earlier blessed by the priests.
Thousands of people gathered in the streets to pray silently either for their dead or to thank the Lord for sparing their families.
Jude Acidre, speaking on the Yolanda candle lighting memorial, said that the activity was just a way to remember those who perished during Yolanda and for the survivors to express their gratitude.
Candles were also lighted at the mass graves in the towns of Palo in Barangay San Joaquin and in Tanauan, located in Barangay Calogcog and at the town proper.
Even those who were not from the city came to join the ceremony largely initiated by the parishes of the areas hard-hit by Yolanda.
Derlyn Aguillon, who was from Tabon-Tabon town in Leyte, lighted two candles for her two friends who perished due to Yolanda.
“I offered prayers for them that they are now at peace,” she said.
Aguillon said she was also offering prayers of thanksgiving because their town was spared from Yolanda.
“From here, my niece and I will go somewhere to celebrate our rebirth,” she said. SFM
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