Madridejos, Cebu: My Journey To Bantayan Island After Typhoon Yolanda

bantayan island cebu madridejos yolanda

No one ever knew a typhoon so destructive such as Yolanda (Haiyan) ever existed. Our beloved country, the Philippines, courageously braced Herself on the front lines of this catastrophic encounter. Nature’s unstoppable forces has waged war on our islands, hitting the islands of Visayas Region with massive strength. Big cities and small towns has fallen, including the paradise called Bantayan Island.

Immaculate Concepcion Parish Madridejos Bantayan Island Cebu Philippines YolandaThe statue of Immaculate Concepcion of the Madridejos Town Plaza left unscathed.

Madridejos Town Plaza, Bantayan Island, Cebu, Yolanda HaiyanOne of the uprooted trees in Madridejos Town Plaza.

Madridejos Bantayan Island Cebu YolandaScraps and debris of houses along the roadside of Lawis.

Madridejos Bantayan Island Cebu YolandaUprooted coconut trees blocks motorcycle access to a beach in Madridejos.

The Aftermath

Sorrow filled the atmosphere on board the passenger ferry bound for Bantayan Island as the vessel set out from the Hagnaya Port passing by wrecks of fishing boats blown out by the strong winds into the sea. Tension got even higher as the ship approached the main entry point to the island, the Port of Santa Fe, as passengers look at the island’s famous white sanded beach (or what’s left of it) with grief.

Madridejos Bantayan Island Cebu Yolanda

Madridejos Lawis Bantayan Island Cebu

Madridejos Lawis Bantayan Island Cebu

Heartbreaking scenarios replaced the picturesque views along the highway connecting the three towns of Santa Fe, Bantayan, and the northernmost, Madridejos. Churches, public buildings and schools were heavily damaged, poultry farms, the thriving industry in Bantayan, were knocked down. Even worse, many were left homeless, food and water was scarce, electricity and communication was down and out. Typhoon Yolanda has brought Bantayan Island down to its knees.

Madridejos Bantayan Island Cebu Yolanda poultry farm lawisA poultry farm devastated by the typhoon.

Poultry Farms in Madridejos Bantayan Island YolandaChickens roaming around the kamalig’s roof

Poultry Farms in Madridejos Bantayan Island YolandaHatchery chickens were sold cheap.

Poultry Farms in Madridejos Bantayan Island YolandaA kid bikes along a destroyed poultry farm.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyanEgg trays and boxes used in the poultry industry were placed inside homes.

Rebuilding

Bantayanons, Lawisanons, and Santa Fe’s people fought hard to endure Typhoon Yolanda’s onslaught, sadly, some lives were lost. The survivors, on the other hand, were now facing another challenge – moving on and starting over. Bantayan, Santa Fe, and Madridejos listens to a chorale of roaring chainsaws, clinks and clanks of scrap metal, the thuds of hammer and nail. The whole island – its people, non-government organizations (NGO’s), and local government units (LGU’s) – work side by side by side to get their pieces back together and rise above the tragedy.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyanCleaning up debris around Madridejos Town Plaza.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyanA farmer rebuilds the house of his chickens.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyan

Doon sa may barrio

Like many other small baranggay’s in Madridejos, San Agustin wasn’t also spared from the unfortunate disaster. Homes were ravaged, farms toppled, elementary and secondary schools were heavily damage while those who withstood the storm were converted to evacuation centers. And similar to all communities of Bantayan Island, homes were being rebuilt, people go to work – life goes on.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyanA roofless day care center in Brgy. San Agustin of Madridejos.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyanHouses knocked down were temporarily covered with tarps, or anything that would shelter bodies from the cold windy nights.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyanFlashlights and the starlit sky illuminates the pitch black darkness in Bantayan Island

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyan treeTrees were stripped off their leaves.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyanAnd this used to be a lush forest.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyanSo was this place.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyanA reconstructed pig pen to provide temporary shelter.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyanAccording to the locals, water bills would cost zero until everything’s back to normal.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyanWells have saved many from water scarcity.

My Personal Journey to Madridejos

Telecommunication towers and electricity in the whole island were still down. From outside Cebu, there was no way of establishing direct contact but to keep posted through the internet. Thanks to the NGO’s and volunteers from Bangon Madridejos and Bangon Bantayanons, who goes back and forth the island to ship relief goods and provide news regarding the conditions of Bantayan and its residents, among them was my father.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyan beforeMy dad’s humble ‘bahay kubo’ in Madridejos (photo from 2011).

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyanAfter the typhoon.

It has been three days since we last made contact, and as day passed, our family was getting more worried about him, and many of our relatives in the island. As soon as we got word, roads were cleared, and ferries could ship passengers to Bantayan, my family sent me to check on the conditions. I arrived the next day and saw the homes who fell victim to the wrath of Typhoon Yolanda, including my father’s. My heart just sank in despair seeing my father’s home, and his small farm, his dream, scattered in rubble. Nevertheless, I’m more than contented just to see my father (and all our relatives) in one piece, and smiling.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyanWe were scavenging materials which could still be used.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyan“Sige bye ang bahay ni Boy” this was my first day in Bantayan.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyanHis office before I went back to Manila.

Yes, we, and many others in the community, suffered heavy damages. But the most important thing was, lives were spared. It may be a long and bumpy road to make the simple lives in the barrios back to normal again, but we will rebuild, start over and we begin today.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyan

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyan

Today, we mourn for the good people we lost, tomorrow, we begin to once again make Bantayan Island a home to its people, and restore our so-called Eden once more. And I am more than willing and honored to help in my own little ways.

To All My Country Men

I am proud of my father, I am proud of the local community, I am proud of all Bantayanons, Lawisanons, and the people of Sta. Fe, I am proud the people behind the operations, I am proud of my fellow Filipinos who set their differences aside and worked together as one. I am proud of my Filipinos who kept their optimism, their hopes up, for they went on with their daily lives, amidst this tragic incident. We are Filipinos, we are strong, we will overcome the challenge brought upon us.

Madridejos lawis bantayan island cebu yolanda haiyanI want to acknowledge goodness of these people who gave shelter and food to my father at the height of the typhoon. My sincerest thanks to you all.

This post is dedicated not only to people of Bantayan, but to all the strong Filipinos. May we stand united as one and rebuild the foundations of our beloved country together.

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1. You could get in touch with the NGO’s such as Bangon Bantayan, and Bangon Madridejos through their Facebook pages. Contact persons, numbers, updates, and information are listed on their pages.

2. Let us also pray and support our fellow men and women in Leyte, Samar, Capiz who suffered many losses during Typhoon Yolanda.

3. Thank you to the all the aid the Philippines is getting from all across the globe. I’m sure many Filipinos are grateful for your help.

23 thoughts on “Madridejos, Cebu: My Journey To Bantayan Island After Typhoon Yolanda

  1. I was just there this weekend. Such devastations! These are stunning images. When I see the people of Lawis and talked to some, I imagine, what it must be like for hundres, and thousands of others. They shared their stories and how they survived and what it was like, and it’s hearbreaking, but that is no reason not to smile. One of the totally wrecked house even has a christmas wreath at the opening of their makeshift tent. May your father’s house and the rest of the others, be built back up soon!

  2. Hey Jed, my officemates and I are going to Bantayan Island this weekend to bring relief goods, any tips on what they need? We don’t have much so we would like to see how we can go about being able to come up with what is necessary for the Bantayanon these days.
    Thanks!

  3. What are the prevalent diseases going on there? Coming there on a missions trip and want to bring the right medicine…

  4. Pingback: Madridejos, Cebu: Two Weeks Later | Biyaherong Barat

  5. Pingback: Bantayan Island, Cebu: Exploring The Egg Basket | Biyaherong Barat

  6. You made the scene beautiful even if it is really devastated!!! Nice shooting bro!!! nakita ko lang sa google tong site mo at siguro mga dalawang oras na ako naka babad ditto 😀 nice nice…

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