The feeling in the air is just not the same this year.
As I gear up for what was suppose to be a month of traveling around the Philippines exploring different islands, enjoying the rich culture, sharing laughs with the locals, witnessing some of the most breathtaking landscapes, and just enjoying the laid back lifestyle…it all has changed. As I’m sure most of you know, the Philippines was hit by one of the biggest typhoons and most powerful storms this earth has ever seen. Only a few nights before the big hit, my travel buddy Andria and I were researching all the places we would go throughout the month. With a plan in place, we said our goodbyes and I walked home in the pouring rain with pure joy in my heart…completely excited that I was returning to a place that had completely stolen my heart just one year ago. It wasn’t until I got home that I remembered reading about an awful earthquake that had just happened in Bohol this past October. As I pulled up multiple tabs in my browser to do more research, I came across an article that almost made my heart stop. Yolanda…Haiyan…Super typhoon…call it what you want to, she had already made up her mind that she would be hitting the Philippines…and hitting it hard. At that time there wasn’t a lot of coverage and it seemed no one really knew it was coming (from the states anyways), all we knew is that it was predicted to hit Friday morning and that the damage it would cause would be absolutely heartbreaking.
The next day I didn’t get any work done. I sat at my computer for hours reading article after article about how it would be approaching soon. I made new columns in my twitter feed with all the hashtags I could possibly think of: #supertyphoon #yolanda #haiyan and of course #coron…hoping and praying it would miss the little island that I fell in love with. I also typed in all of those hashtags on instagram and sat with my hand over my mouth, completely in shock by some of the videos people there were posting. I simply couldn’t imagine the fear of knowing something so powerful and damaging was on it’s way and there was nothing I could do about it. Sitting here in my office literally watching a nature disaster take place was one of hardest things…just praying so hard that the news would be wrong and Yolanda would magically fade away. Unfortunately as we all know, this did not happen and the more articles that surface every day…the more my heart breaks for the people in the Philippines.
It’s easy to feel totally helpless in situations like this but the truth is that every single one of us can help. You’d be surprised by how much even $5 can go in the Philippines. Skip a meal, skip a trip to the movies, maybe hold off on buying that new sweater you’ve been eyeing…please, please, please take a minute to help in any way you can. Some awesome people that I know have put together “For Philippines With Love” which I think is AMAZING…I support this group and their efforts so much. They teamed up with Shelter Box…they provide emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for families around the world who are affected by disasters at the time when they need it the most. Each large green ShelterBox is tailored to a disaster but typically contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, water storage and purification equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a basic tool kit, a children’s activity pack and other vital items. A whole box costs $1,000 (US), so they are hoping to raise enough to send 3 boxes. They did the same thing for Japan and raised a crazy-awesome amount so I am very excited that they have teamed up again for this great cause. There are lots of other organizations that are also gathering funds for what we all know will be a rough road to recovery for the Philippines. I have such a heart and passion for the Filipino people, please take a second and see which organization speaks to your heart.
As some of you may know, Andria and I fell in love with a little town called Coron in the Philippines (you can see just how beautiful it is there by clicking HERE)…once Yolanda had passed the west side of the Philippines we both did as much searching as one possible can to find out just how bad Coron got it. We both cried after finding out that the little charming town we loved, had been completely destroyed. It’s so crazy to see the same areas we walked and explored only a year ago…completely covered by destruction. Andria and I will be putting our heads together to figure out a way to help Coron. If you are unable to give, I just ask that you keep the Philippines in your thoughts and prayers.
We are of course saddened that we won’t be able to visit the Philippines at this time for our trip, but we are obviously more saddened for the people there and wish there was more we could do. We are still keeping our spirits high that this will be a new adventure and a new opportunity to explore new parts of this beautiful world. Please be patient with me as my blog will kind of take a backseat while traveling this month. Thank you and love you all. xoxo