Typhoon Odette wreaked havoc on Visayas and Mindanao, claiming more than 200 deaths just ahead of the holiday season.
A tourist-survivor from Siargao recounts how the storm ravaged the island that was once recognized as the Philippines' surfing center.
“It’s actually very under reported, na parang hindi nabibigyan ng justice kung ano talaga ‘yung nangyari sa Siargao, even sa nearby places like Cebu, Palawan, and Leyte,” Allyson Salvador told Summit OG.
Salvador shared that she and her two companions were staying at Tropical Temple Siargao Resort when Odette made landfall on October 16.
“Noong morning nakapasok pa ako sa school kasi synchronous online class kami, tapos umuulan lang and then medyo malakas ‘yung hangin. Around 11 a.m. nawalan ng signal, nawalan ng kuryente, nawalan ng water,” she said, remembering the day of the typhoon landfall
“Hindi pa kami masyadong nagpa-panic kasi umuulan lang naman, ‘yung room namin tumutulo lang naman.”
They were fortunate that the room they were staying in merely had a leaking roof. Unbeknown to them, the roof of the room next to them had flown away, and the ceiling of the one in front of them had collapsed.
Around 11:30 a.m., Salvador, together with everyone else in the resort, were evacuated in a dorm type area with no windows. “Sobrang init niya tapos tumutulo rin siya so basa, but okay naman kasi hindi naman nahahanginan kaya safe kami doon.”
At 2 p.m., the rain had turned into a torrential downpour. And by 5 p.m., the entire island of Siargao was virtually pitch black.
“Wala kaming kuryente, tapos may emergency light sila pero maliit lang kasi syempre medyo madami kaming tao,” she said.
By nighttime, they realized they were out of food, and all they had at Tropical Temple Resort was a couple of rice, tuna in cans, and chicken, “Pinagkasya nila for almost fifty people [‘yung food] kasi yung katabi naming place na Laughing Parrot Resort, pure glass sila at nabasag, kaya yung mga people na nags-stay doon nag evacuate din sa amin.”
At the end of the night, they didn't have any rice or water, it was dark, they were trapped, and all they could hear was the devastation outside.
“The next day after the typhoon hit, at 5 a.m. nag start na kaming maglakad. Pagkalabas namin nakita naming lahat ng roads, hindi mo na siya madadaanan,” Salvador stated as she narrated how they walked for six hours in hopes of finding signal.
They returned to their resort to discover that there was still no water, so Salvador decided to take a bath along the beach when she ran across her uncle, a Siargao resident.
“Nagka-cross yung path namin. That was the first time na umiyak ako kasi nakita ko yung tito ko. Buhay pa ako, buhay pa siya, okay pa kaming dalawa. Sabi niya sa akin kukunin niya ko when everything is okay,” she said.
When Salvador recounted what happened during their stay in the area that was directly hit by Typhoon Odette, she grew sad. “After [the lockdowns] bumabangon pa lang ang Siargao kasi kaka-open lang nila with tourists, tapos heto na naman, wala talagang natira sa Siargao–super wiped out. Heartbreaking siya for me kasi talagang kinoconsider ko siya as [my] second home.”
“I am really asking for everyone's help, if you have something to spare pwede kayong mag donate with different trusted channels. Hindi lang naman monetary yung hinihingi nila, they are also asking for in-kind donations. Siargao needs our help right now,” she added.
Want to know more about the devastation that happened in Siargao during Typhoon Odette? Watch OG’s video below:
Check out other Summit OG videos here.