TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao’s win redeems his boxing career – but it also inspires Filipinos battered by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Paterno Esmaquel reports from Tacloban City.
(Watch Rappler’s video report below.)
(The script of the video report follows.)
Two weeks ago, a fortress of fear.
On Sunday, a hall of recreation.
Hundreds of survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda return to what was once their evacuation center, to watch a make-or-break boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios.
Soon after entering the Tacloban Astrodome, 58-year-old Emma Parientes breaks into tears.
She says this place evokes her worst memories.
EMMA PARIENTES, TACLOBAN RESIDENT: Umiyak ako kasi naalala ko ang kalagayan namin dito. Hindi pa man nagsimula ang bagyo, diyan kami. Ang akala ko, mahimbing ang tulog namin. (I cried because I remembered our condition here. Even before the typhoon hit land, we were there. I thought we would be sleeping well.)
Parientes watches the boxing match alone.
Her children live elsewhere. Like over 1,600 others, her husband Alberto is missing.
EMMA PARIENTES, TACLOBAN RESIDENT: Sana manalo si Pacquiao para matulungan niya ang mga taong mahihirap galing sa bagyong Yolanda. (I hope Pacquiao wins so he can help the poor people after Typhoon Yolanda.)
Parientes gets her wish. Pacquiao beats Rios in a unanimous decision.
The Tacloban Astrodome erupts in cheers. Typhoon survivors celebrate not only the boxer’s victory, but also his promise to help the ravaged city.
JUNJUN MABINI, TACLOBAN RESIDENT: Ang mensahe ko lang kay Pacquiao: Pacman, ito dala dala ko ang flag natin, ‘yong bansa natin. Sana pumunta ka dito ng Tacloban. Tulungan mo kami sa kalagayan namin ngayon. Mahirap na kami. Mahirap na ang Tacloban. Bangon, Tacloban! Bangon! (My only message to Pacquiao: Pacman, I’m holding our flag, the symbol of our country. I hope you can go to Tacloban. Help us recover from this condition. We’re now poor. Tacloban is now poor. Rise, Tacloban! Rise!)
It’s a sign of hope after so much death and ruin.
PATERNO ESMAQUEL, REPORTING: For a day, this place of tears becomes a place of cheers. From Pacquiao’s winning match, typhoon survivors return to their daily battles – with one more thing to smile about. Paterno Esmaquel, Rappler, Tacloban City.
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