It was an amazing 2013, it ended rather fabulously as I was awarded “Blogrr Best Travel & Food Blog Malaysia”. Other then that, 2013 gave me the chance to learn a lot about myself(my capabilities, my promises and everything; I do have a lot to improve), people, big companies, brand, public relation, workplace politics and experienced being fired for the first time in my life. Oh, no worries, I can handle rejection pretty well, I walked out smiling when I got kicked out from University, being fired from a company is something I could handle.
Then I found a new spirit, a new adventure that I enjoy every second of the journey- Volunteering and traveling. I got attached to Lassie Langkawi and ended up coming back for a total of 5 months. That was until Yolanda or Haiyan as it’s called internationally came into the radar of the weather forecast. I remember the night I read about the news, the breeze brushed my hair as I tried to eat my dinner and concentrate reading , I told myself “Holy shit, this will be big, really big, I need to go there.”
It was true, Typhoon Yolanda crippled Leyte Island, claiming over 15,000 life, leaving destruction that is beyond any of us could ever imagine. It was devastating, it was heartbreaking, it changed their live and it sure did changed mine too.
Thanks to supporting friends who supported my effort and Rakyat Travel who gladly sponsored my flight, I was on the flight out to Cebu on 15nd December 2013. I then boarded the first boat/ferry out to Ormoc, the city where All Hands first base after Yolanda. I reached the port in complete darkness, as other passengers pushed me to exit the port, I almost fell down with my 75L backpack, I couldn’t believe my eyes- all I saw was devastation. I startled a bit until I realized that I need to get a tricycle and find the new base based on the information that All Hands has sent us earlier.
The ride that took only 10 minutes felt the longest; it was a mixture of fear, realism, and surrealism , it was a little bit too much to take in. We arrived and opposite where we were staying is the Ormoc District Hospital and it was filled with ERU and Emergency Response Medical tents from all around the world. It was dark. Electrical polls, wires, debris scattered on the road, dim lights from candles and torchlight filled the road in distance. I asked myself “Are you ready Rayyan?”
It was in the daylight the next day that I was able to absorb it all in- “I am in a post-disaster zone, I have to buckle up and brave up for these people.” That exactly what I did and all the volunteer that came to help; We did our best. I have been here for 55 days and everyday that am here, it has been eye-opening, meaningful and fruitful journey. I now have many Pinoys to call family and of cause my family at All Hands Project Leyte. More to come and I am glad that I made the decision to come here.
To all Filipino, you guys taught me that LIFE is about LIVING it EVERY SECOND, regardless all the setbacks!
To EVERY SINGLE ONE of you guys I’ve known at All Hands Project Leyte, thank you for showing me that humanity still exist, you guys RAWK!
My trip is made possible by the extended and generous sponsorship of Rakyat Travel Agency, my preferred travel Agency in Malaysia. As usually, my photos were captured by my awesome Sony Nex 5 T proudly brought to you by Sony Malaysia. Till then, I’m off to knocking some walls and chasing some kids at school! 😉