FROM HEAVEN TO HELL AND BACK: Surviving Supertyphoon Yolanda & the Struggle to Find our Way Home… by Edeline (Edz) J. Payawal
My best friend Nika and I are surf addicts. Our obsession began two years ago, after a spontaneous trip to Baler, Aurora. Since that day, we were absolutely hooked.
For two years, we never tried surfing anywhere else other than Baler. But if we wanted to get better at it, we had to go out of our comfort zone and push ourselves. This motivated us to seek new surf spots… that eventually led us to Borongan via Tacloban.
November 4, 2013, Monday.
Nika and I boarded the plane expecting a trip of lifetime. Our work gave us the privilege to marry our work with our surfing obsession. We had no worries, no hesitation. I felt like we deserve this break… a chance to recuperate from the endless all-nighters and coffee comma. Imaging the sound of the waves gave me a calm that will never be matched by anything.
We landed at the Tacloban Airport with high hopes and silly smiles plastered on our faces. Ate Charlotte, our friend in the city, met us with the same excitement. We told her about the first time we were in Tacloban and how we ended up in Biliran with no money back in 2011. We were innocently laughing about our antics while making plans to meet up again on Friday, so she can show us around the city.
Ate Charlotte dropped us off the van terminal that would take us to our primary destination: Borongan, Eastern Samar. It was a surfing haven. Beautiful waves and perfect weather welcomed us in Borongan. The beach stretch was quiet, untouched by the modern world. In a distance, there was an island that you can just walk to during low tide. They had a lagoon, and more than a dozen surf spots like Pasikat and 16-point. We couldn’t wait to explore them all.