Please say a short prayer for my hometown, Sorsogon, which bore the brunt of Typhoon Milenyo's destruction.
Although things seemed to have returned to normal by the time I came to visit one week later, the city remains in terrible condition: no power (the electric cooperative, mired in debt, projects full power restoration only by December), no classes everywhere with the extensive damage to school buildings, hundreds of evacuees still housed in classrooms, and ordinary businesses that can't afford generators unable to function. The regional power breakdown extends all the way to Camarines Sur. On my way back by bus to Manila, town after town was in total darkness, and the lights came on only in Lucena.
In terms of human casualties, Milenyo isn't the worst storm to hit Sorsogon. Typhoon Sisang in 1987 was far deadlier, with enormous floods claiming some 3,000 lives, 600 alone in the coastal barangay where I lived. But Sorsoganons agree that while Milenyo didn't dump too much rainwater, it had much stronger winds. The result was more widespread destruction to property.
The belfry of Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, which hosted a radio-TV tower (a striking image of religion embracing technology), now stabs the skyline with a mass of twisted steel. Smart, which also used the tower as a cellsite, is said to be under contract to help rebuild the tower. Do it, Smart, and people like me might just consider switching from Globe (which, incidentally, took about two weeks to restore its signal in Sorsogon compared to Smart's two days).
If you wish to help, donations may be sent to Ella Duran Nolasco (6469980), Azucena Grajo-Uranza (9289844) and Fr. Noli Alparce (0917-8877927).
In the hurlyburly of our urban lives, we light a candle to our roots.