A resident (R) walks past high waves pounding the sea wall amidst strong winds as Typhoon Haiyan hit the city of Legaspi, Albay province, south of Manila on November 8, 2013. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai:  Seeing the devastation that Typhoon Haiyan caused the Philippines, I wish I were just watching a Hollywood movie. That everything was just staged and will soon end. Sadly, this is not the movies. This is reality: Real events with real people.

I was worried sick when I first learnt that a super typhoon would hit the Philippines. I constantly monitored the news on TV, praying that it would change course and not hit my beloved country.

I could barely sleep and kept calling home in Cebu to tell my mother and brother to stay safe. My mother was the sound of calm, while I panicked. She assured me they had already prepared for the typhoon. She even accommodated people living in the coastal areas who needed shelter.

Then Typhoon Haiyan made its first landfall.

Scenes from almost 23 years ago flashed in my mind. It was also in November when super typhoon Ruping (international code name Mike) hit Cebu in 1990.

I was just a child then. I remember my family and I were praying while howling winds and heavy rain battered our house. I started to cry as the winds got stronger, while my mother tried to comfort me.

Flash forward to recent times, I could imagine the wrath of Typhoon Haiyan was much worse.

Cebu wasn’t as badly hit as the other provinces. When the storm passed, my brother reported that there wasn’t much damaged at home. Only some toppled banana trees.

However, other provinces weren’t as lucky. News started trickling in about the trail of devastation in Samar, Leyte and nearby provinces. Entire villages and cities decimated or submerged in water.

In one sweep, everything was gone – literally in many places. Unlike in movies, there are no second takes in such events that would have allowed the Philippines to prepare tenfold. No cuts, no editing of scenes. Everything is raw – the wreckage and the devastation by the almost apocalyptic storm.

Now, another storm is threatening the Philippines. With all that has happened in the Philippines in the past few weeks – from the destructive earthquake to the even more devastating super typhoon – I need to have perfect faith in God and trust that He will save the Philippines and give us Filipinos time to rebuild our lives.