After 'Yolanda,' blind singer hangs on to hope to be reunited with family

Joyce Clavecillas, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2017 10:28 AM

ILOILO CITY – A blind singer who was among the survivors of supertyphoon Yolanda in Tacloban is praying that one day he will be reunited with his family.

Three years ago, Anthony Gabriel was still with his family in Tacloban City. But when Yolanda threatened the city, rescuers went to their house and advised them to evacuate. However, his mother and siblings opted to stay behind. Anthony, with her mother’s advise, left with the rescuers and stayed at an evacuation center.

Gabriel never heard from his family again.

Long after the storm, Gabriel played his guitar and sang in the streets in order to feed himself.

Last year, a friend invited him to join her on a trip to Boracay, Aklan. He was told that she would give him money. But when they reached the town of Dumangas in Iloilo, Gabriel was abandoned by his friend.

Eventually, he was turned over to the Crisis Intervention Unit of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Iloilo City. He is still currently living in the center.

Even if the center takes care of him, Gabriel still longs to be back in Tacloban and find his family.

Singing and playing the guitar help him ease his longing, as he is reminded of his father who taught him how to play the instrument.

He also said that he got blind when he was still a baby.

The DSWD in Iloilo City has communicated with its counterpart in Tacloban. They are still waiting for feedback from Tacloban if they were able to locate Gabriel’s family.