Princess Yola, the baby born during typhoon Yolanda

A year ago today, you proved yourself fiercer than Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) - fighting your way through this world despite its wrath.  You were in your mother’s womb, perhaps too excited to see what awaits you.  It was of course not the best timing.  But you made it nonetheless. I am proud of you!


Maybe 10 years from now, you will be touched – and amazed - at how your parents fought for your life.  Even when they can no longer go to the hospital, they sought refuge in a mausoleum, laid your mother in between two tombs just to make sure you come out safe. You will be proud at how strong your mother was.  At the age of 21, she never wavered in her hope that she will keep you safe from a raging typhoon. You will also be proud at how your father maintained composure and decisiveness when everyone else was already in panic. He called for the community midwife to be sure that your mother will have support.


Your birth was dramatic. You will one day smile at that realization. Imagine trees were falling, winds roaring, roofs flying all around.There was your mother, enduring labor pains at six in the evening. Her shouts of pain were drowned by the howling winds, but when it was broken by your first cry at two in the morning of November 9, nothing else mattered. Your voice was the most beautiful sound your parents have heard.  


I rejoice with you and your family. Today you are celebrating your birthday. You, my dear, is a reminder that typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) is not just about pain and loss but also about one miracle. You are a proof that even at the worst of times, there is something good that can come out of it. You are the hope that made your parents strong even after seeing your house was gone. You became their strength and inspiration to move ahead.  


From a small and fragile princess, you have grown. Your mom talked about how active you are. She laughed when she said “She is as bubbly as when the day she was born”. You can now say the words ‘mama’and ‘papa’and do you know how much joy that brings to your parents?  Your mother said with pride that what takes your father’s exhaustion from a day’s work as a laborer are your morning kisses.  You are sweet. Your parents are working hard to give you a better life.  Your family stayed in the mausoleum for more than a month after Haiyan but your father’s resourcefulness allowed you to have your own house now.  One day soon, when you read this, I know it will give you a deeper sense of respect for the people around you.


Keep growing Princess Yola. I hope that as you grow older, you will keep bringing that inspiration to your family. Your story doesnot end there. The coming chapters of your journey will be filled with more love and joy. When things get tough, go back to the story of your birth and know that if you have withstood the world’s strongest storm. The God who sustained you will keep you going.  


Happy birthday, Princess!

Princess Yola


By Florence Joy Maluyo, Communications Officer

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