Hard times

2013 has turned out to be an extremely trying year for the Philippines. Not that we've ever had it easy but we've, more or less, learned how to deal with the natural disasters, corruption, peace and order situations, and poverty that seem part and parcel of our lives. But this year, it has been especially hard.

In August, my hometown of Zamboanga came under siege by separatist bandits which resulted in 19 days of fighting between them and our police and Armed Forces.

After it ended, we'd barely begun to recover when nonstop rains caused citywide flooding, the likes of which Zamboanga hadn't experienced in decades.

While locals, members of the national government and concerned countrymen tried to help us get back on our feet again, a 7.1 magnitude tectonic earthquake hit Central Visayas. It greatly affected the cities of Cebu and Bohol and caused widespread damage to infrastructure as well as death and injury to people and displaced hundreds of thousands from their homes.

And, while we were praying and hoping for the best, the worst came and plowed through Central Visayas. Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms in world history to make landfall, smashed through Leyte, Samar, parts of Cebu, Negros and Palawan, and left in its wake indescribable devastation.

The entire country is still reeling from this latest incident. The delivery of aid to survivors of the monstrous typhoon was initially very slow due to many factors and has only recently started to flow more smoothly with the arrival of international aid.

It's going to take a long time to rehabilitate all that has been destroyed - from Zamboanga to Bohol to Leyte - but I'm optimistic that we will get there eventually. I'm inspired at how Filipinos have come together to support each other despite our differences in opinion. And it is even more inspiring to see how the world has come together to help us get back up on our feet, particularly for the survivors of Haiyan.

As I end this post,  I say a silent prayer in my heart, asking that we will be given some time to breathe, to mourn, to mentally and emotionally recover, and to rebuild before the next big challenge comes again. And may we never lose our faith.

Mood Music: Rise Up by R. Kelly