It’s a familiar sight in an unfamiliar plane. Trees have fallen or have been left leafless. Coconuts, used for their famous buko pies, have been cut in half. Tin roofs have been opened so violently that a companion aptly remarks “Mura man di kibaw mogamit ug abridor.”

This is Rizal, Laguna, left devastated by the recent Typhoon Glenda, the strongest storm the municipality has experienced in over a century.

I say there is no better time to visit it. It’s as if the place, like a woman after surgery, bare and lethargic, looks you straight in the eye and says with utmost conviction “I am still beautiful.”

This photo was taken at the foot of Mount San Cristobal. When I asked this man how he was faring after the typhoon, he looks at his horse with a spark in his eye and says “O, two meals a day na muna tayo ngayon ha.”


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