Typhoon Survivors: Manny Cabero, Student

Almost a month after Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Visayas region of the Philippines, WFP's Angeli Mendoza visited communities in the Leyte province, meeting people who were being assisted by WFP and the government. Among the people she met she saw great resilience and a determination to rebuild. This is one of the people she met. Read about others

“At the height of the typhoon, I was dancing in that room and my family was laughing at me,” gestured 26-year-old Manny Cabero.

Wearing a basketball jersey with his surname on the back that he gamely pointed to when I asked his name, Manny walks across his partially battered home as if he did not have a care in the world.

“I’d rather laugh and find humor in this situation than weep over my destroyed house,” he explained. “Plus, I don’t feel sad because it was my father who had this built,” he added jokingly.

Since Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) hit Barangay (village) Poblacion Zone 3 in the Municipality of Mayorga, which is about two hours away from Tacloban City, Manny’s two nephews – 9-year-old Adholf Keirby and 11-year-old Christiander – moved in with him. Unlike Manny’s home, they lost the roof on their house.

Cristina, the dog survivor, still tied to the house

Cristina, the dog who survived Typhoon Haiyan.
Photo: WFP/Anthony Lim

“The winds were so strong; it tore off a portion of our roof at the back of the house. We thought our dog, Cristina, who was tied there, died, “said Manny. “When the winds calmed down, I went out to get her, and fortunately found her alive.”

“The day after Yolanda, we just ate rice with soy sauce,” Manny narrated.  “But after the first few days, we have since received six rounds of relief rations from our local government, consisting of three kilos of rice, noodles and canned goods like sardines.”

WFP rice is being dispatched through the government’s relief operations led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and through WFP’s NGO partners on the ground.

Just a few days before the typhoon hit, Manny was happily studying Computer Science at the Asian Development Foundation College in Tacloban City.

“Right now, I don’t know what happened to my school but I just want to go there and study again,” he said. “When I get a job, that’s when I will be sad, because my brother told me that I will be the one to pay for the expenses of our house repair!”, he added with a laugh.

Before leaving his house, I asked if we could take his picture to which, prior to gamely posing with his nephews, he playfully replied, “You’re not going to post this on Facebook, are you?”