Will You Go to This Rave to Commemorate Typhoon Yolanda?
Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) struck on November 8, 2013, setting a world record for being the strongest typhoon ever recorded. It left massive death and destruction in its wake, and people from Tacloban are still recovering from the typhoon.
Three days from now will mark the natural disaster’s first anniversary, and a group of locals have organized a charity dance party on Friday to commemorate the event. The party is called #FYolanda, and had the tagline of “Party like it never happened! Remember because it did”, which was dropped after online outrage.
To raise funds, organizers will sell shirts that say “Eat, Pray, Loot,” “Akala ko Tsunami, Storm Surge Pala (I thought it was a tsunami, but it was a storm surge),” and “We don’t die, we eat puday” (puday is a Waray term for a woman’s genitals).
The event will be held the Balyuan Ampitheater in Tacloban City.
Some online users felt that the organizers were being insensitive to the plight of those who are still struggling to recover. If you follow the hashtag #FYolanda on Twitter, some of the comments were:
The event invite is still up on Facebook, but does not bear any traces of what is going around social media. This writer did not see the invite when it first came up, so it’s possible that they changed it. There are no photos of the event invite and the sample shirts. Instead, it only contains details about the DJs who will spin at the event, admission (free), price of shirts (P450), and how to claim them. All proceeds of sales will go to Educational Scholarships for survivors through Volunteer for the Visayans.
The organizers have also published a statement regarding the controversy. This was posted on the event invite:
Hello Event Goers, Survivors, and Everyone who comes across this event,
We are very excited that the day will soon arrive, and we wanted to provide more background on the purpose and reasoning behind hosting such an event.
Our motivation for organizing #FYolanda came from our own survival and experience of Typhoon Haiyan. Our lives, like all survivors, were changed forever by November 8th, 2013. We are all survivors, though some of us are not Filipinos. We lost our homes and most of us lost loved ones or friends during Typhoon Yolanda.
We understand the need to mourn the one year anniversary of this immense catastrophe that has changed all of our lives and all of those affected by the event. We too want to remember the lives that were lost, the incredible challenges we experienced, and the horrible consequences that we have faced because of the disaster.
The organizers are also locals, and were affected by the typhoon, too. But according to them, there is a need to be alive.
Though we also feel we must recognize what an accomplishment it is to have survived not only the day of the Typhoon but the last 12 months. Some of us were faced with flooding which we felt would consume us, we lost our homes aand were faced with a complete lack of proper shelter for many months. We were unsure for weeks when a stable food supply or sufficient drinking water would be available. We walked to streets of Tacloban, lined with bodies and filled with debris, searching for our co-workers, family members, and friends. We spent many nights in terror and despair, wondering how life could ever be “normal” again.
The past year has challenged the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in more ways than we ever could have imagined, and for many the past year has been the most trying time of our entire lives.
We will never forget what happened on November 8th, and we will never forget what it took for us to survive and attempt to rebuild our lives.
We mourn the loss of those that perished, and we will all join the survivors of Tacloban on November 8th to commemorate the anniversary and join memorial services. But we also feel the need to be alive. To let the city come alive. To provide a place for people to celebrate their survival, before we face the emotional anniversary and the realization that one year has passed and there is still so much to be done.
A few weeks ago at Mass our priest addressed this very question: what is the appropriate way to commemorate the anniversary of Typhoon Yolanda? Obviously he said it was important to remember the lives that were lost and take time to pray for continued recovery of the region, strength to continue, and the ability to overcome the challenges that are still ahead. But he also said we must recognize that our survival was against all odds, and therefore we must celebrate the new opportunities and new life we have been given.
Through the devastation and pain, there is a light. We must continue to hold on to hope for the future, and continue to live for all those that were lost. We must show them that they are not forgotten and that we are determined to live on for them and never give up.
They also said that the only thing to do is to move forward. But people are asking, is a party the way to go?
Like many survivors we are both shocked by the progress and disappointed by the needs that still exist in Tacloban and the surrounding towns and villages. Some things are “back to normal” while others will never be the same or still lack any resemblance of normalcy. There are still plenty of challenges ahead, but we must continue to endure these struggles, because they only thing to do is move forward.
The #FYolanda event is not all about drinking and partying. It is an expression of life and celebration of survival. We must show everyone that Tacloban is still alive. And we must join together as survivors to help support the next generation.
The event is free for anyone to attend or not attend. We ask everyone to make the decision on whether they would like to attend based on their own needs as the anniversary approaches.
#AfterYolanda, As individuals from around the world turn to Tacloban asking, “Will the city ever recover?” We must show them that, “Not even the strongest typhoon could bend the strongest people”.
If you support this event, please share the purpose and meaning of our event. And we hope to see you on Friday!
(Note: This event was approved by the Tacloban City Local Government and the DSWD)
What do you think of this event? Will you go? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Will You Go to This Rave to Commemorate Typhoon Yolanda?