BRITISH COLUMBIA – It took seven days after typhoon Yolanda struck before Bing Poblete heard news from Tacloban on her mother's safety.
Poblete's mom, Cora Moralde, was living by herself. The wait was one of the most agonizing moments of her life.
"She's 75, most of the time alone. The most that worried me was her condition, she has a heart condition. Di ko alam kung may food pa siya, or medication and if she was hurt, kung may makakapunta ba," said Bing.
News came through a text message from one of her cousin's nephews. Her mom was ok and that was all Poblete needed to know before flying all the way to the Philippines to get her.
"Tinandaan ko yung sinabi niyang to be strong. So yung kaba ko nawawala," said her mother.
Travel conditions were uncertain but Poblete was determined. She was also optimistic after the Canadian government announced it will prioritize the processing of immigration applications from Pinoys significantly affected by the typhoon.
"Basta magandang balita yun, nadagdagan ang hope. She was one of the victims. Nabuhayan ako ng loob na I can bring her. Bahala na maski tourist visa, I'll just work on her permanency here," Poblete said.
Poblete submitted a handwritten certification from their barangay in Tacloban to prove her mother was among those affected in the areas badly hit by the typhoon.
She also prepared supporting documents even before flying to the Philippines like a notarized letter of support, employment certification and their latest tax assessment.
They applied for a tourist visa on December 9 and the embassy's stamp shows it was granted the next day.
Today, Poblete and her mom are together in Canada. They are hoping it will be for good.
"I have all the paperwork for her permanent residency. If you have a family na apektado, gusto mong manatili sila dito, submit your application. You still have to go through the process," she said.
The Canadian embassy in Manila continues to prioritize applications of those affected by the typhoon.
More than $20-million in humanitarian assistance has also been committed as Canada continues to monitor and work with its aid partners in the Philippines.