By Charis and Cherry Pestaño
I am Charis Ann Montes Pestaño, 20 years old, a third year college student, the eldest daughter of Pastor Mil Pestaño. My younger sister’s name is Cherry Mae Pestaño, 10 years old, a grade four student. This is our testimony before, during, and after the destruction of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
A week before the very devastating catastrophe, news reports were already warning the people of the Low Pressure Area that’s to enter the Philippines. It was reported that it will pass through Eastern Visayas, it’s where our place (Northern Cebu) is, specifically the Municipality of Medellin. The reports were also stating that it has a big chance of becoming a super typhoon.
On Friday, November 8, 2013, our mother woke us up at six in the morning. She said we should prepare early because they heard that the typhoon is going to land on that day. A few minutes later, electricity was already down and the wind was starting to blow harder. At exactly nine in the morning, we felt that the typhoon had already landed in our area. At first, the wind was not that strong, so we just stayed in our living room looking outside our windows and we saw how the rain and the strong wind blew the coconut tree in our back-yard. I (Charis) even took videos of what was happening outside our house. But as time passed by, the water brought by the rain was already getting inside the windows and our sofas and other things were reached by the water.
My sister and I were starting to panic, especially me and my mother because we knew that our father would not be able to walk due to his arthritis. A few minutes later, we heard big bangs on our roof and we noticed that the roof on our living room was already gone. We decided to go to one of our rooms and stay there because it is already dangerous to stay in our living room. When we were inside the room, we saw that the roof of our neighbor was also destroyed. Water outside was starting to rise. It was dark outside and we could not see anything. We could hear loud bangs again on our roof and later the water got inside the room where we’re staying. The wind was on its strongest force that time and we were already scared that our house will be destroyed. My younger sister and I started to cry. We were very afraid, especially me, because I don’t know what I will do with my father if our house will collapse. Our parents told us to pray to God and ask for His protection and His strength so that we would be able to conquer our fear. So, the four of us prayed. Together we asked for God’s comfort that time. What amazed me that time was that I also heard my younger sister’s loud and strong prayer. She lifted her hands and prayed so loud. After our prayer, we were already wet inside the room, we stopped panicking and hugged each other. We embraced each other so tight and felt comfort and after a few minutes the storm calmed down for a while.
That experience was very unforgettable and even days after the typhoon we still feel the fear that we felt during the typhoon.
(Thank everyone who has prayed or given to this relief effort.)