How I miss waking up in the morning and seeing the light of the sun fill up our room. When I look out the window, I would see the sun peaking on the east, resting on tip of the island near the city. How I miss trying to catch a jeepney, usually full of passengers, cursing the way time seemed to go faster when I was late for school. I miss squeezing in with the other passengers, with mothers carrying their children, teens with their eyes stuck to their dog-eared notes, kids sticking their head out the window though they’ve been scolded over and over again, and all their convetsations easily understood.
I miss looking at the neighborhoods that the jeep would pass by, how I memorized when to make the sign of the cross with every church, how I knew every turn and how the passengers would bump into each other when the driver would hit the breaks harshly.
I miss riding the motorcycle to school, how I memorized every street, was in awe with every new establishment, and felt giddy whenevrer I saw a cute guy walking on the street. I miss the conversations some drivers would open, mostly about what has been happening in the city. I miss seeing the stores open, the clanging of their steel doors resounding through the street. I miss running towards my room, with friends teasing me for being late again as I rushed.
I miss going to downtown to have lunch, the streets filled with students and employees in familiar tailored uniforms. I miss waiting in line at the restaurant, as the women in front of me gossiped about their coworkers. I miss going “store hopping”, as I easily go in and out department stores and thrift shops, making a mental wishlist of what to save for next. I miss going to Sto. Niño Church for a mass, or even just to light a candle worth one peso. I miss struggling to get into a motorcycle back to school, as most drivers were having their lunch too.
I miss going home in the afternoon, the city slowly lulling itself to sleep as the fight for jeepneys start again. I miss standing at the jeepney stop, saying “hi” to former classmates and friends that I would see. I miss falling asleep in the jeep, resting on my arm as the driver waited for passengers to fill his vehicle. I miss seeing the city lights as we passed them by, and feeling excited whenever I got a peak at the big construction cranes that was labeled with a big time mall’s logo. I miss seeing the sea near the market, the way it twinkled with the night light.
I miss the noise of the market as employees still in uniform try to strike deals with the vendors for a cheaper price with their products. I miss those preachers, armed with either a megaphone or a microphone, who would read verses from the bible to those who wanted to listen as they stood on a make shift platform on the old waiting shed. I miss the foul stench of rotten vegetables as the local trash collectors rounded it all up onto one container.
I miss passing by the neighborhoods once again, with parents going inside their houses from a hard day’s work. I miss the traffic that big trucks would start, as they turn towards their respective parking lots I miss the barking of our dog whenever he would see me open our gate. I miss the way I would scream “I’m hoooome!” and get a kiss from my youngest sister as I entered our house.
I miss going to sleep around twelve in the morning, my eyes drooping from either studying or writing another story.
I miss my dear Tacloban, the city I’ve lived in for most of my life. And as it struggles to stand, amidst corrupt and opportunist politicians and its citizens fleeing to other places, I know that it will rise again. It will rise again not because people want to, but because it needs to.
Tacloban is not just a place. It is not just a city. It is almost human, caring for its citizens for years. Tacloban helped raised people with values, with a positive outlook in life, and people with ambitions that are strong enough to move mountains. And now that Tacloban is hurting, it is about time its children began to pay back.
Taclobanons, we shall rise again. Let’s not just return Tacloban as it once was, but let us make it even better. Tacloban, you will rise again!