UK-based Pinoys from Leyte, Samar welcome 2014 with hope

By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 09 2014 09:32 AM | Updated as of Jan 09 2014 05:32 PM

Members of the Igorot UK Association visit Filipinos from Leyte and Samar in London to personally turn over the money they have raised for victims of Typhoon 'Yolanda', which killed more than 6,000 people two months ago.

LONDON - Two months after typhoon 'Yolanda' tore through the central Philippines and claimed more than 6,000 lives, Filipinos here are still struggling to come to terms with the tragedy. But they are welcoming the New Year with hope.

Cecille Rabuya-Irandio, who has been working as a nurse in the UK for 12 years now, came home to Tacloban for Christmas.

The painful images she saw of Yolanda’s aftermath remain with her until now—flattened towns, dead bodies lining the streets. Their family house, which took her many years of hard work to build, is badly damaged.

She said her relatives had advised her not to visit Tacloban, but she insisted on it.

“As soon as I stepped on our town, it’s so sad that I was very quiet,” she told ABS-CBN News, trying hard to hold back her tears.

“This is reality,” Irandio recalls telling herself. “On the first day I couldn’t take it. It was just too much to take. Honestly, I went to bed because I can’t take it. This is just too much. Very traumatic.”

Irandio and her fellow members of the Leyte-Samar Organization in the UK regularly meet to provide each other emotional support.

Despite the tragedy, they say they are not losing hope, considering all the help from Filipinos abroad and various countries.

In fact, on Saturday, some representatives of a group of Igorots visited them to personally turn over the amount they had raised for typhoon victims. The group donated half of more than £1,400 raised through various activities.

“My message is for them not to lose hope,” said Archibald Nabus, the Benguet-born president of the Igorot UK Association. “What’s important is we’re alive. There is always hope for us in the future.”

The wounds may still be fresh, but Leyte and Samar’s children in London are beginning to move on no matter how hard.

“Let’s try to move on. We need to move on,” Eric Go, president of the Leyte-Samar Organization, would often tell his members. “It has happened. Now we need to stand up.”