Concrete House part 9 typhoon

survivorsTyphoon Yolanda destroyed Nueva Vista Leyte with high winds as it passed from Tacloban Leyte to Ormoc City Leyte.

picture – taken a week after the storm from the front porch of the yellow house


typhoon 8November 8 2013 the typhoon Haiyan slammed into the coastal city of Tacloban City, Leyte and passed over the mountains to Ormoc City,  Leyte. The mountain village of  Nueva Vista was in the path and was heavily damaged. Two people were killed by wind blown debris in the village.

typhoon 2The resourceful and hardy mountain people quickly had constructed small shelters from the debris  after the storm and began to assess the damage. These pictures are a week or more after the Friday storm.

typhoon 18 Yellow house sans roof – lucky thing the walls did not collapse


will put up more pics in a few days – very difficult to get internet connection


heading back to Leyte tomorrow

Rebuilding has begun !

Typhoon Yolanda – Haiyan

pardon incomplete report – very difficult internet connection

general info Nov 20 2013

new info below
Supper Cat running 3 times a day Ormoc Cebu route
Weesam maybe 2 trips a day
Ocean Fast Ferry maybe 2 tripa a day
Roble Shipping varies

electricity still off in Ormoc except for generators

In my opinion the mountain got more wind than the city – up there on a ridge with no protection

supplies in short supply – JC food was open for rice and chicken – ok but uncomfortable – no electricity – a few shops are beginning to open – sidewalk vendors setting up shop selling water and oranges and apples

Jolibee and Dunkin Donut closed – Guisanos closed – Mercury and Liberty hardware open – Western Union open sporadically as there is no steady internet

Heading back there tomorrow night – planning to i should say – be sure to book a boat trip without delay as every boat will be overloaded

roof metal – nails – tools – plastic tarps – food are all in short supply

I suggest that it is not that difficult to make the trip to Cebu to load up on supplies if there are serious needs

also note that relief is beginning to arrive from all areas so I do not think anyone will starve. In the mountains the water is still pure and I drink it straight up but in Tacloban the water is seriously contaminated because the water is trapped in the flat country there in the city.  Helicopters are bringing in huge supplies of water and food – based in the airport in Tacloban (which is open only to military aircraft) At the time this was posted

The US aircraft carrier George Washington is based out in open water for support

helicopter suppliesUpdate November 24 picture of helicopter bringing in a load of rice for the mountain villagers. These people were kind of cut off from Ormoc City because they are located 15 kilometers up the mountain near Lake Danao. The Typhoon Yolanda – Haiyan was on a Friday the 8th of November so the locals did the best they could to get by. All the food in the area was blown away or damaged by heavy rains. The first two days people gathered coconuts from fallen trees –  all stored rice was soaked with muddy water – it was cooked but barely edible. All banana stalks, mango trees, rambutan, jack fruit, etc were destroyed. The trail to Ormoc was blocked by fallen trees – so thick even motorcycles could not pass.  Some young guys walked to town and located 30 kilos of rice to carry back to the village.

typhoon HaiyanEvery house in Nueva Vista was damaged or destroyed by the typhoon Yolanda / Haiyan .  The villagers tried to help each other as much as possible and quickly erected small wooden shantys from the scraps and debris that was scattered about after the storm passed. note – the yellow house has a new roof now Dec 15 update – already 2 weeks now – we got the neighbors chainsaw repaired – downed coconut trees were ripped into lumber and the size .4 galvanized metal was purchased at Brodeth hardware and Liberty hardware in Ormoc City

teddy bear

teddy bear

yellow house before typhoon

yellow house

yellow house

before – the yellow  house had a green roof painted about 3 weeks before the typhoon hit – it blew away the houses on either side and took the roof off the yellow house as well – 28 people stayed in one 3 meter by 3 meter while everything disintegrated – two locals were killed by flying debris

yellow house

yellow house

two weeks later patch job complete – new metal roof

new roof

new roof – coco wood and corrugated metal roof

– downed coconut trees were used for lumber – corrugated metal purchased from Brodeth and Liberty hardware – building materials are in short supply at this time

two weeks later

two weeks later

the yellow house  made it !

chainsaw man

chainsaw man

cutting coco wood

coco wood lumber

coco wood lumber

The Philippine Red Cross showed up in Nueva Vista on the 24th November as well and distributed some useful items.

Red Cross relief suppliesThe 4 meter by 6 meter tarpaulins were a welcome item for sure because most people were living the past few weeks in the rain with  little protection. The rice and sardines and washing detergent and soap were welcome as well. Water jugs to carry drinking water were most useful too. Bottled water is not an option up there in the mountain but the locals know where to collect drinking water from the streams that are not contaminated.

Red Cross tarpSmall makeshift shelters were put up soon after the typhoon winds abated because the people needed shelter. This white tarp was one of the ones the Philippine Red Cross distributed and they were all used to make emergency shelters.

Filipino kids laughingThrough it all the Filipino people keep on smiling and laughing ! They are a resilient lot and keep on taking each new day as it comes.

temporary shelter

temporary shelter two months after typhoon

Almost everyone in town has constructed a temporary shelter from the debris left by the typhoon Yolanda. The one above  is nextt to the yellow house. There had been a two story wood house with a concrete framework there which was completely destroyed. The blue tarps were distributed by relief agencies and overseas workers sending help back home to the Philippines.

damaged school

school in Nueva Vista Leyte

Nueva Vista school – It seems that every school between Ormoc City and Tacloban were heavily damaged – all the schools I saw on numerous trips lost their roof – many have temporary tarps now- 2014 Jan update

outdoor classroom

outdoor classroom

classroom outdoors in a tent – cool !



dutchpickle logo

The weeks after Typhoon Yolanda in Nueva Vista near Lake Danao up in the mountains behind Ormoc City.

today is November 28 2013 – the typhoon hit on November 8 2013


Update Nov 28

Pita with umbrella

Pita with makeshift umbrella

Brodeth Hardware,  Mercury Hardware, Liberty Hardware  are all open. Liberty has a big warehouse in Toog  near the ODH – Ormoc District Hospital where they are selling metal roofing. Ironically their own building has no roof.The Ormoc District Hospital has a row of large medical tents out front but I hear the hospital is actually open too. Big Ming and Kings and Moms appear to be open to small groups of shoppers at a time – one by one. I did not notice any looting in the Ormoc City area.  The cost of gasoline skyrocketed the first week after but I noticed that XCS was 56 pesos a liter when I set out for Cebu City by boat yesterday. The Petron downtown was open but the other gasoline stations seem to be rebuilding the actual gas pumps because they were damaged and not in working order.

Leyte kids

The city markets are beginning to fill up on the ground level – the upper level is still in shambles. Vegetables are getting easier to find and the cost is about right. Eggs are available. We bought 3 medium sized mangos for 48 pesos two days ago and there are at least two vendors set up in front of the Jollibee hamburger chain (which is still closed and boarded up.) Dunkin Donuts across the street on the corner is also boarded up and closed but they are cleaning it up to get it ready to open. The Dunkin Donuts across the street form Guisanos om the corner is closed as well. Guisanos is planned to be open about a half year from now in mid 2014. The Riverside Mall location is open for business but some places were put out of operation (example the Mexican Restaurant that was near the entrance – that location was swept away) Jan 2014 update – Jollibee ans Dunkin now open and crowded.

Jolibee Ormoc CityJolibee on November 26 2013

note the mango vendors set up in the corner – the mangoes were 80 peso a kilo – 60 pesos a kilo was more common before

Bake shops are doing a brisk business on several streets downtown. Filipinos are very fond of pan de sol in the morning !

The Filipinos are a strong people and will get through this one step at a time. Army group from Davao set up near the Superdome below – Ormoc City – Ormoc got plenty of wind but did not experience the damaging tsunami storm surge that destroyed parts of Tacloban, Palo, Guiuan, Basey, Marabut and other places near the east coast.

Ormoc City

Ormoc City

The rebuilding has begun !

Ormoc City bus terminal with damaged roof bin pic below:

Ormoc City  roof damage

Ormoc City bus terminal

General Observations – Be aware that lodging is very limited in Ormoc City – The Don Filipe hotel is closed at this time and others such as iaLodge has many broken windows but  all available  rooms were fully booked last time I checked. I use a tent up in the mountains. Jan 2014 update – Don Filipe is open and busy but fully booked last time I checked. I have not stayed in any hotel between Catbalogan Samar and Maasin southern Leyte except for one night at the GB hotel in Tacloban Dec 26 2013 (75 pesos double on the 4th floor – be sure to have a room booked by noon) . I opted to stay in a tent in most areas in November.

Up in Nueva Vista there is no lodging available but it is  not very difficult to get there now from Ormoc  City with a sturdy vehicle for a day trip. People are basically living in cramped quarters but adding on as they can – depending upon supplies that become available. (mostly tarps) there are quite a few mosquitoes so take along coils to burn if you have no tent with netting. If visiting take along your own water if you have a sensitive stomach. The mountain water agrees with me ok but it might not be for everyone. The most common food items are cans of sardines and rice and noodles are included with the relief supplies. All the local banana trees, rambutan trees, kalamansi  trees and banana stalks, have blown down (as well as many coconut trees.) ironically the downed coconut trees are a good resource for making  lumber for rebuilding. The local chainsaw men are skilled at ripping the logs lengthwise for lumber. Corrugated metal roofing in 8 and 12 foot sections is arriving by the truckload but stores sell out the supply quickly. I suggest if possible paying the premium and getting the .4 rather than the flimsy .3 size thickness. Update Jan 2014 – I read in the Cebu paper today that a shipment of 500 chainsaws are arriving to be used in cutting downed trees into lumber for rebuilding . In some areas all the coconut trees were blown sown and will just rot away if not used for lumber. They will become a huge resource of building materials but they were also an important agricultural crop in the Philippines and huge areas were destroyed. Hence many working in that area will not be able to continue as coconut trees must be a certain age before they produce.

plants springing to life in Ormoc below – amazing how quick these plants grow with the constant rain and eventual bright sun –

flowers a month after the typhoon

flowers a month after the typhoon

The Ormoc Farms past Nueva has been hauling residents back and forth to Ormoc City with their pineapple trucks . This is a huge help to the locals because they are permitted to put plywood, metal roofing, and lumber and other supplies in the back of the truck on the return trip. It is 15 kilometers up hill the whole way back so carrying large loads by hand is not practical.

multi cabThe only public transport between Nueva Vista and Ormoc City is this trusty multi cab operated by Kulas. He carries plywood, metal, cement, food supplies, nails and whatever else from the city back to the mountains for a 25 peso fare. I don’t know if the people realize what an asset he is to the whole village.

dp-logoKeep up the good work Kulas !

I am hoping to get my motorbike running soon and make a run up to Lake Danao and Ga as to see how the people are doing up there. The bike is still in a pile of scrap at Daves apt in Ormoc – they lost the roof of their place in Ormoc City and junk is scattered about.

Daves apt in Ormoc

Daves apartment in Ormoc City

Daves apartment in Ormoc City

Dave is in London at the moment and Melody is at their place in Maasin. It was a big stroke of luck that they had moved a bunch of their stuff down there to southern Leyte about a week before Typhoon yolanda arrived. note – Dave your bike is still there in the rubble as well ! Melody sent me my key LBC to me in Cebu City atr the moment. many thanks :)

Daves apt

Daves apt


Moi MoiThis monkey Moi Moi waited out the typhoon Yolanda inside the house. He is quite clever at taking off his leash when inclined to do so.


broken bamboo

Looking out from the back of the yellow house. Typhoon Yolanda snapped bamboo and coconut trees like tooth picks.

will keep updating – if can get my bike running I will add info from southern samar and northern Leyte – its just takes a bit to get things sorted.

picture taken from San Juanico Bridge

picture taken from San Juanico Bridge

This is the bridge that connects Leyte island to Samar island. It seemed to sustain no damage whatsoever. The view below is on the return trip taken from the Samar side heading towards Leyte island near Tacloban City.

San Juanico Bridge connecting Samar and Leyte Islands

San Juanico Bridge connecting Samar and Leyte Islands

Dec 162014 update –  after a run up to Tacloban and to Catbalogan Samar on my bike

help wanted

help wanted

gasoline is not that hard to find anymore – XCS is about 56 pesos a liter and after hour street vendors sell it in Coke bottles for 65 tp 75 pesos a liter – I carried 4 extra liters in plastic bottles but it was not necessary

Tacloban waterfront

Tacloban waterfront

Palo – Tacloban Leyte and Guiuan – Basey in Samar were hit very hard



typhoon damage in Tacloban above – near Ormoc City below – Albuera

storm damage

storm damage

Samar – I found the going relatively easy once across the bridge in Samar – accommodation is sparse but supplies seem to be abundant.

In Leyte – There are many roadside vendors in Tacloban now selling Cokes and boiled eggs. 1 1/2 liters Coke 80 pesos – cold. boiled eggs 15 pesos each. GV pension house has rooms for 1050 pesos but most of the high end accommodation elsewhere is booked solid by relief organizations.  update Dec 26 2013 I stayed at the GV Hotel in a double on the 4th floor for 750 pesos. I was a bit uncomfortable staying in relative luxury when so many others are living in primitive  conditions so close by.

Roadside clean up is progressing at a rapid pace but bodies are still recovered occasionally that were buried in the debris.

reconstruction has begun and there is a positive vibe in the air !

rebuilding a gas station

rebuilding a gas station

yippie !

men at work

men at work

dp-logoBangon Tacloban

its a new year 2014





Nov 19, 2013

11 responses to “Concrete House part 9 typhoon”

  1. Thanks for the vital update

  2. hi DP! SO wonderful to hear this news and see your pictures!!! thank you for posting so quickly. We have been praying for you and the people there. WOW is all i can say:)

  3. Thanks so much for the report and the photos, DP. It’s good to know that help is finally arriving for these fine people. I had thought of Ormoc as my future home but may have to revise my plans.

  4. Good to see that at least the concrete walls stood. I am returning from visiting in Daram and Catbalogan, and saw little damage at both places, except for the power outage.

  5. DP,
    Even though what has happed to all their houses in this super typhoon the Filipino people still come out with something to smile about…that’s what i love about the Philippines.
    How’s Beth and her family going and how much damage did it do to the house you built them?

  6. Good luck, Rico!!!

  7. cute ongoy !

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