Bel's Personal Plea to Friends

Please read this very personal message.

When one's parents and childhood friends lose everything they have due to a catastrophic event, the heartache is utterly unbearable and one must employ action to provide hope for them. Thus I have embarked on a mission to restore a life of dignity for my parents, their two adopted boys, and my hometown friend. The terribly desperate situation they are dealing with has prompted me to cast my pride aside as I turn to you, my friends and coworkers, for your generosity in supplementing the monetary support that my family and I will provide. To ensure that your donations will have a meaningful impact, I guarantee to every person who donates that I will provide updates and pictures as they rebuild their homes and their livelihood.

Both, my parents and my friend, had their homes completely destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda and their stories of survival were simply miraculous. Nearly a month has passed since the typhoon struck but I have not yet been able to contact my parents directly, only through a relative who has been relaying messages from a different side of the island. By sharing their tragic stories below, I hope you will be moved to join me in my mission and give them a reason to smile again. Please donate what you can and please contact me if you have any questions.


My parent's survival story:

This is a before and after shot of our living room. That's the sea in the background.

In the eye of what may be the most powerful storm in history, incredible tales of courage and heroism developed. One such story is that of my parents and the two young boys they had adopted from extremely poor families. Their experience through the super-typhoon is a compelling testament to the strength of the human spirit when faced with nature's ultimate test.

My parents are natives of Leyte and both are in their 60s. They had built a beautiful home along the shoreline in the town of Tanauan where they lived with two adopted boys. The town was slammed by the typhoon with full force and suffered the most casualties. Warnings were issued for their area's residents to go to evacuation shelters but there were no clear warnings about the tsunami-like waters that ultimately drowned so many victims including those in evacuation shelters. With my dad recovering from a stroke and mostly immobile, my parent and the boys opted to not evacuate, as did most of their neighbors.

Their modern house had a solid design, built with concrete and marble and was fortified with another concrete wall on the perimeter of their estate. Amazingly, the force of the typhoon destroyed every part of their house except for the walls of the small room where they happened to take refuge. Then the water from the sea flooded that room. That was when the two young boys displayed their courage and grit. Somehow, the boys were able to lift my parents onto the tiny remaining piece of the roof which was pinned down by a fallen coconut tree. With the severe wind gusts and sea water level reaching the roof, the boys again somehow tied my parents with electrical wires to the strong truss of the roof to prevent them from being blown away. They all held on for hours while the typhoon pounded them with everything it had.

Miraculously, after the storm finally passed, the only structures of the house that remained were the small section of the roof where they happened to be on, the truss they were tied to, and the wall holding them up. They survived but many of our neighbors were not as lucky.

My parents watched as everything they have worked for all their lives pass into oblivion. Sentimental family heirlooms are now gone. Two of our three dogs drowned and the third one was found several days later, malnourished, but survived. The next few months are unforeseeable. But there isn't any reason to be dejected and mournful...because they are fortunate, despite everything.

You see, things happen for a reason. Incredible things can happen even when you start losing hope. Right now, we all feel like rock bottom. And in a way, it's a good thing... because there is nowhere else to go but up! We hope to rebuild our home someday...

In her own words, this is the story of one of my closest friends in high school: Judith Preciados-Tan, married with 3 kids: Earl 11 years old, and twins, Jane and Jade who are 9 years old:

As the news has spread all the world that it was the greatest typhoon ever to hit the globe, mere words cannot express the emotions that I was feeling while we were in the middle of what felt like a tornado, it was like we were inside a whirling washing machine. First, the glass by the windows burst, then the walls of the rooms and chairs inside the house started flying. I was holding the mattress of the bed over my children to protect them from all those flying objects. We were running all over the house to seek shelter from different corners but then the roof flew off also. All the while Jane was crying " Mommy, I am too young to die..." "Mommy are we going to die?" Those words will rip your heart and you just have to stay strong and not cry for their sake.

The strong winds stayed with us for seven hours; thoughts of the whereabouts and safety of relatives and friends who were not with us at that moment not far from our minds.

We decided to evacuate the city on the third day after the typhoon since there were no relief goods distributed, no government officials going around to give us news on what has happened or to give us hope. My hometown was isolated. A policeman who happened to pass by our area warned us of looters invading the city. He said that unfortunately they could not protect the residents because their camp and most of his fellow policemen were washed out.

My family left for Tacloban on November 11, bringing only ourselves. I only allowed myself to cry on the boat en route to Cebu City. I cried that my family is alive and complete. I cried for the all the people close to me who were still in Tacloban, not knowing if they survived or not. I cried for the uncertainty that will face us when we arrive in Cebu. I cried for all the plans and dreams that we've made for the future and for my children, only to be blown away on that crucial moment...I cried and cried because it was the only moment when I was alone and my kids would not see me break down...

I hope these two stories would shed some light on the struggles that the typhoon victims must continue to endure and put your personal life struggles in perspective. Please be kind and make a donation. The nature of kindness is to spread and I am certain that the life of this one act of generosity will grow exponentially.
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Bel Molina 
Woodside, NY
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