President Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go were on Siargao Island on Wednesday to look into the residents' situation in the wake of typhoon Odette's devastation.
Duterte and Go viewed the scale of destruction from their plane before visiting evacuation centers in Dapa town, based on images shared by Go.
The widespread havoc left Siargao -- voted the best in Asia by Conde Nast Traveler readers this year -- unrecognizable.
Resort and bar owners on the island popular with surfers and tourists were expecting a bumper Christmas holiday after COVID-19 restrictions finally eased. Then Odette (international name: Rai) wiped them out.
The strongest storm to hit the archipelago this year cut a swathe through Siargao, a tropical paradise known for its sandy beaches, big waves and relaxed vibe.
Packing wind speeds of 195 kilometers per hour as it made landfall on the island last Thursday, Odette uprooted palm trees, shredded thatched roofs, smashed wooden buildings, and toppled power poles. — With a report by Agence France-Presse