It’s been six years, November 8, 2013, since Super Typhoon Yolanda devastated the country especially parts of Eastern Visayas leaving thousands of Filipinos dead and countless of hopes and dreams shattered.
It was that day when Brent Wong Egloso witnessed the massive destruction caused by one of the most powerful cyclones ever recorded in the world in the past century.
“We, in Eastern Visayas, are used to experience typhoons, but Super Typhoon Yolanda was different. We thought it was just an ordinary typhoon,” Egloso, who was just 20 years old back then, recalled.
“At around 4am, our relative called from abroad and told us to prepare for the typhoon so we decided to gather with other relatives [in Tacloban City]. Around 6am, Super Typhoon Yolanda hit Eastern Visayas. The storm surge reached the second floor of the house so we decided to go to the roof out of fear that the water will still rise. We stayed there until the storm stopped,” he narrated.
He and his family stayed on the roof for hours where food and drinking water are no where to be found. The only thing they had is each other and the only thing they did were prayers asking for survival — and they did survived.
After the calamity, he witnessed tracks left behind by Yolanda like roads filled with piles of garbage and bodies lying on the ground, lifeless. The entire country was grieving as many mourn the lost of their loved ones while some are still missing until this very moment. He was thankful that all of them in the family made it through the terrifying experience.
“It was a deadly typhoon. I have some friends and neighbors who died during that time. Bodies were recovered around our house. There was no electricity for three months, no water, and limited food.”
“We have coped up by talking about it to family members and thru that, we were able to relieve stress that we have encountered during the disaster. We have also made sure to still take care of ourselves by getting a lot of rest and eating properly.”
After that day, he was inspired in helping those in need. He then enrolled at OMNI Aviation Pilot Training School to fulfill his dreams of soaring the sky as a pilot.
“Aside from wanting to give back to my parents all the sacrifices they have made for me, I have seen how pilots were able to help in delivering relief supplies to areas that have become inaccessible by road. I was somehow inspired that I might be able to do that someday.”
The Academy did not just opened the doors for him in the aviation industry but also thought him the safety he will be needing for the rest of his life.
“I learned during my pilot training is to use all available resources that will help our task easier. Also, you must keep yourself updated to increase awareness. Get educated and engage in preparedness conversations to know what to do in certain scenarios.”
As a Yolanda survivor, Egloso admitted that he has a lot to learn in terms of disaster preparedness but after the pilot training, it made him more confident in dealing with such disaster.
And if another Yolanda threatens to endanger the country again, all Egloso can say is he is prepared and will continue to prepare to brace what is coming next, thanks to the experiences and trainings that shaped him to be the person he is today.
“With the learnings that I have gained during my training, I can somehow say I am prepared for calamities but I should keep learning to be able to know how to deal with such disaster properly.”