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Fire Sweeps Through Neighborhood in Cebu City

March 21, 2014 – 4:58 pm
A puppy makes a meal of some leftover noodles.  It wasn't clear if the injury was a burn from the fire.

A fire broke out on Tuesday evening (March 18, 2014) in a tightly-packed residential area in Barangay Lorega in Cebu City in the Philippines. According to newspaper reports, 500 homes were destroyed, leaving as many as 7,000 people homeless. Not surprisingly, despite staying just a few blocks from this area, …

Newspaper Article about Body ID at Suhi

December 31, 2013 – 10:51 am
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Not to be a broken record, but it rained – hard – all last night. I woke up to a flooded room again and my first task was to take a towel and clean up. There is always so much water that I can’t just mop up the water. I …

Carlo and the Japanese Journalists

December 29, 2013 – 10:24 am
This young girl was hanging out with her friends inside a truck destroyed by the typhoon

I’m not sure if I woke up as the curmudgeon or the invalid. Maybe I’m still both. I woke up to the tinny and endless sound of horrible music coming out of Guapo’s cell phone. (I’ve recently learned that the young muscly and fashionable guy with the cell phone is …

MSF and Antibiotics

December 28, 2013 – 10:17 am
I don't know for sure, but it might have been water from this well that made me so sick.

I DID go to the Medecins Sans Frontieres medical center yesterday, and it was a very good thing that I did. This sickness is not just a passing thing. I’ve been SOOOO sick. I’ve clearly picked up a nasty bacterial infection in my gut. What drives me crazy is not …

Day 37 Super Typhoon Yolanda – Mass Grave at Basper, a Concert, and Mosquito Torment

December 14, 2013 – 9:38 am
A skull and the spine of a typhoon victim at the Basper mass gravesite near Tacloban

The very first thing I did this morning (after taking a bucket bath, shaving, and battling mosquitoes) was to remove the back cover from my broken Kindle. The battery finally went dead, so I couldn’t use it to listen to music anymore. And I don’t want to throw the entire …

Day 36 Super Typhoon Yolanda – Odd Encounters in Seawall

December 13, 2013 – 9:36 am
This man sided and roofed his entire house with metal sheets that he tore off refrigerators and then flattened out.

It’s already the 13th of December, perilously close to Christmas. I was thinking that since it is so close, I might as well stay here in Tacloban for Christmas.  In a strange twist, the typhoon has meant that I now know more people in the city of Tacloban than in …

Day Eighteen – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 26, 2013 – 1:42 pm
Thousands of Filipinos gather to receive their pay from the Tzu Chi Foundation

Yesterday was a day of much interest. I was supposed to go with Dan to the Bohol bicycle shop, but Dan never showed up and never contacted me. I located the Bohol bicycle shop on my own and found it closed. I spoke with one of the owners, and he …

Day Eighteen – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 25, 2013 – 12:49 pm
Bodies waiting to be picked up in the market area in downtown Tacloban City

A city without power can be a very quiet place. Last night, the silence was so complete and for so many hours that I imagined that I had gone deaf. I made some noise from time to time to ensure that my ears still worked.
At four a.m. this morning, the …

Day Sixteen – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 23, 2013 – 8:51 am
The CASDDA team cares for their dogs in a shady spot

After my morning of running errands yesterday (buying alcohol fuel for my stove and food), my plans were to go out with my camera. However, it continued to rain, and there wasn’t much point to it. I hung out at the pension house drinking coffee, reading, making something to eat, …

Days Fourteen & Fifteen – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 22, 2013 – 1:03 pm
Destruction in the Magallanes District of Tacloban

Dan did manage to contact his friend the bicycle mechanic. This fellow works at the Bohol bicycle shop, and Dan arranged to be the very first customer on Monday morning when they plan to open their doors. He offered to go there with me and help me get my bike …

Day Eleven – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 19, 2013 – 2:15 pm
A member of the SOCO team examines a body retrieved 10 days after typhoon Yolanda struck

My experience of the typhoon continues to deepen, as yesterday I had the opportunity to go out with a Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) team as they retrieved bodies. Members of the BFP are staying at this pension house with me, and it was they that they suggested I go …

Day Eight – Super-Typhoon Yolanda

November 16, 2013 – 10:38 am
Gathering up a trickle of water for washing clothes

It rained a great deal during the night, but the sun has come up this morning in clear skies. It remains to be seen if the rain will hold off during the day.
The rest of the afternoon and evening yesterday was spent relaxing and caring for my various wounds. Almost …

Days Six & Seven – Super Typhoon Yolanda

November 15, 2013 – 2:04 pm
The BFP medical team tends to my various injuries

This day began without my usual pounding heart. The hotel has filled with people – including several children and 14 fire fighters – and life is beginning to feel not normal but something similar. I can hear the children playing outside and I can hear some neighbors building a fire …

Photo Walkabout and Karaoke Horror

October 21, 2013 – 10:18 am
Young Girl in Legaspi

It’s 6:30 p.m., an unusual time for me to fire up the NEO, but I have been ambushed by the horror of the Philippines once more: karaoke. I don’t know how people in this country can live like this. I find the tension is like living on top of an …