Dispatches from an Upturned Place

Anecdotes galore before and after Super Typhoon Yolanda (1)

Super typhoon Yolanda brought out the best and the worst in men. Whether the monster was man-made–as some people aver–it was a HUGE laboratory with which to observe the effects of the most powerful cyclone in history on people and the environment.

o November 7, a day before Yolanda’s arrival, Eufemia Magcuro decided to wait it out at his son Nolan’s house near the Coke plant at Marasbaras, Tacloban City. All the while, she was thinking that Tacloban would be safer than Guinarona when it comes to a Category 5 typhoon. When Yolanda struck in the morning of November 8, they were huddled inside the house as the fierce winds roared and made deafening noises. Then one by one the house supports began to give way and water–deep, dark, dirty and foreboding–rushed inside up to the second floor. Then a loud bang–a huge boat slammed into the roof and parked itself right there on top. Scampering is a kind word to describe how they managed to survive Yolanda.

o Aid helicopters from the U.S. army are now a common fixture in GUINARONA’s skies. They would hover above, singly or in tandem, and the kids would chase after them, thinking that they would make relief drops. Nah, they were going elsewhere to the disappointment of the kid-chasers.

o One helicopter dropped a huge tarpaulin over Tabon-tabon, Leyte, the purpose of which was for the people to spread it for the air drops. What they did instead was to tear it in bits and pieces, with everyone helping himself to a piece. Their rationale was that they needed it to roof themselves.

o An aid helicopter hovered over a Burauen barrio. The chopper’s crew saw many men brandishing machetes, aside from the unarmed throngs waiting for relief. Thinking that the machete men were hostile, the crew just decided to make the drop and not land.

Paradise Regained: A Manifesto for Guinarona


A catastrophe of biblical proportions–that’s the visitation of Supertyphoon Yolanda to Leyte and Samar, November 8, 2013–thousands of deaths, unimaginable devastation, famine and hunger. Even the mountains appear burned. A forlorn and desolate landscape, indeed–hence a defining moment, a watershed event in the history of the world.


Guinarona is a quasi-town in Leyte. Philippines having been a parish of 16 barrios since 1971.  The center of the parish is Guinarona Proper, with its San Pascual Baylon Parish Church and Shrines.

A beautiful and prosperous enclave, until supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck Leyte and Samar, with monstrous sustained winds of 195 miles per hour.  Along with the other places in Leyte,  Guinarona was razed to the ground.  

A Template for Rebuilding

While international groups and the national and local governments have instituted relief efforts, these are only good for the short term.  What is important is collective and sustained actions at rebuilding, which includes livelihood for all.

We therefore appeal to the Philippine national government. aid organizations and NGO’s of the four corners of the world for help.

  • To adopt each of the four districts of Lobe lobe East, Paraiso, Proper, and Sampaguita. with each of these districts to fan out the efforts to the other 16 barrios.
  • Each adopter or group of adopters will implement rebuilding and livelihood programs, consistent with the resources extant in each district.
  • To make available soft loans and grants for rebuilding homes.
  • Culture is strong in Guinarona; so that replacing the ruined social hall with a more spacious one is in order.
  • To build a market for artisans and producers to sell products and services.
  • Beautification will attract local and international tourists. which will create more demand for goods and services.

Please let us know your concerns and suggestions via the contact form.  

Subtle Signs Before Supertyphoon Yolanda

A catastrophe of biblical proportions–that’s the visitation of Supertyphoon Yolanda to Leyte and Samar, November 8, 2013–thousands of deaths, unimaginable devastation, famine and hunger.  Even the mountains appear burned.  A forlorn and desolate landscape, indeed–hence a defining moment, a watershed event in the history of the world.  Guinarona After Yolanda (1) Gunarona After ST Yolanda (2)

As with any historical and epic event, both in society and in one’s life, the universe gives off signs–some subtle and others blatant–suggesting that something big is forthcoming. Only that, sometimes, the interpretation of such signs comes after the fact, i.e. the eureka moment or the epiphany as it were. Being sensitive and appreciative of signs, we have cataloged the following signs prior to the big bang, i.e. Supertyphoon Yolanda.

  • The disappearance of San Pascual Baylon’s century old icon (which, as of this writing, has not been recovered) in mid-June 2010. Being known far and wide to have miraculous powers, San Pascual’s icon–and its disappearance was an ill omen. Others would say there is no connection between that and life-shattering events, but they should realize that the more you know, the more you don’t know. Or haven’t you heard that even the mere flutter of a butterfly’s wings can cause hurricanes thousands of miles away?
  • An automatic drawing, attributed to San Pascual Baylon on August 28, 2010, depicting, among others, a ship with arched smoke. In divination, a ship connotes flooding or deluge. The arched smoke can also be interpreted as a rainbow–a biblical sign for deluge and its aftermath.


San Pascual Baylon’s automatic drawing of August 28, 2010. Note the ship and the arched smoke where the arrow is.
  • The appearance of thousands of orbs in Guinarona on May 16, 2012, eve of the San Pascual Centennial Plus fiesta. Orbs are beings of light–the spirits of ancestors–in this instance, the ancestral spirits of Guinaronanhons. Orbs appear as signs for both good and ill.


Orbs galore, eve of San Pascual Baylon Centennial Plus fiesta in Guinarona, May 16, 2012. Photo by Evelyn Fabian-Ausa

A scry of November 3, 2013, depicting so much death, with annotations by a gifted friend.

  • November 3, 2013, five days before Yolanda, we had this scry  on water, black mirror and a crystal.  A gifted friend read and interpreted it for us, thus:  “I am seeing lots of death in this scry….how did you feel about it?  My interpretation is that the harvest is taking place, those who are accepted are being protected and ascending…the other side of the equation also has it’s helpers to escort those not ‘matured’ or failed to the next situation or station in the soul learning…. the grim reaper jumped at me, for I’ve been portrayed as a grim reaper and since small child a reaper has always made it’s presence known to me…at bedtime…he walked around my bed each night. . .”

Imagine, Supertyphoon Yolanda was staring us in the face through this scry, but we only got the clue as the news about its epic destructive  rampage progressed through the wires.  Moral lesson:  keep looking for signs and the life you save maybe yours.

And No, We Won’t Go Gentle Into the Good Night

Or The Monumental Razing of Guinarona by Supertyphoon Yolanda (International code, Haiyan)


Aftermath of Supertyphoon Yolanda. Licandro Cardante appears shell shocked at the devastation around him in Guinarona, Leyte, Philippines.


The NASA map highlighting Supertyphoon Yolanda’s epicenter of destruction in Leyte.

Epic, horrendous, terrifying–we can exhaust all the superlatives of the English language to describe the power and punch of Supertyphoon Yolanda, which made a landfall in Dulag, Leyte, at 6:30 a.m., November 8, 2013. On the map, Dulag is opposite Guinarona and Burauen, and the monster typhoon’s gales, circling devilishly around its eye, smothered everything in its path, hence the utter devastation to a huge chunk of Leyte island. The supertyphoon coasted along Leyte’s eastern seaboard, northwest, towards Palo and Tacloban–the epicenter of the devastation (cf. NASA map).


Graphic on Storm Haiyan (Yolanda) by Weather Underground.

Yolanda was the most powerful cyclone ever to make a landfall on earth, with gusts of 235 miles per hour and sustained winds of 195 miles per hour–and it so liked Samar and Leyte that it gave us this early Christmas gift–albeit a thankless and a super destructive one. Yolanda’s wrath was fast and furious–it was over in two hours, starting at 6:30 in the morning, November 8. So furious, in fact, that the all seas were agitated to the point of spilling out a storm surge (more like a 16-foot tsunami were it not for the semantics of the whole shebang)–people did not understand what was the deal with the storm surge, and they just shrugged off the warnings and stayed put–which explains the dead bodies washed away inland and out into the sea.

A slide show re Guinarona After ST Yolanda. Photos by Hansel Cardante.

A catastrophe of unimaginable proportions has just visited Guinarona and the Visayas region in general. Yet, with the world’s help and encouragement, we will rise from the ashes, as it were. 001-2

Do join us in our relief and rehabilitation efforts.