Wow, flying into the eye of what is being called “The World’s Largest Storm on Record.” I’m an avid traveler, and have traveled almost 50 countries now, so not much phases me with respect to travel anymore. I get on planes, I hunker down for the ride, and I arrive in a new destination.

Sometimes I arrive in extreme luxury like Cathay Pacific’s First Class cabin, and other times it’s less than luxurious, but I do it because I love travel, I love new destinations and I love sharing my stories with people who also love to travel, or whom live vicariously through my travels – bottom line, we all love some sort of travel.

So, this story of travel is probably my most heartbreaking and daunting one thus far. I left Toronto for Manila on Nov 8/2013, expecting to arrive in Manila on Nov 9-10, just when this horrific typhoon was supposed to arrive with its whopping winds of 195 miles/hour. Needless to say, family and friends asked me if I was crazy, if I had a death wish, and some just knew, as I did, that everything would be ok. What airline or pilot would realistically fly into a typhoon or hurricane? So I went.
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Arrival in Manila was actually very good, like any calm after a storm, the wind was a peaceful breeze, but you could tell something had just gone through here. There was an eerie stillness in the air, in the city of Manila itself, and the only witness that “something” had occurred here, the day before, were the many billboard signs around the streets that were taken down and rolled up so the wind did not knock them over.

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Deserted airport arrivals area the morning after Typhoon Haiyan

 

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Billboards with all signage removed

 

This, of course, was because most of the damage had occurred in the outlying provinces past Cebu City, in smaller communities like Mindanao, Tacloban, and other eastern Visayas or provinces. Our group was blessed to be able to help out in a small way with the Red Cross cleanup effort, before we were provided with the luxury of staying at Shangi-La Mactan in Cebu.

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Red Cross Effort at Cebu Philippines during Typhoon Haiyan

If you have ever wondered or dreamed of travels to world famous beaches in the Philippines, we highly recommend this wonderful destination.

What an incredible nation of people, who come together when these regular and terrifying storms fall upon their lands, they always rebuild, and always help each other, with a smile. This is the nature of the beautiful Filipino people, and we are blessed to have many Filipino clientele we cherish!