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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Discovery Channel Presents Haiyan: After the Megastorm Video Documentary


Wazzup Pilipinas!

Your friendly neighborhood pambansang blogger was invited to watch a special advance screening of a video documentary of the dreaded disaster that hit our country.  This 60-minute special will premiere in the Philippines and across Southeast Asia on Discovery Channel this coming Saturday, November 8 at 8 PM to mark the first anniversary of the typhoon that hit the Visayan region.

The documentary revisits Tacloban months after it is pummelled by one of history’s most intense storms - Haiyan or more popularly known in the Philippines as Yolanda. It is hosted by Filipino-British television presenter and actor Trey Farley who was chosen for the role so Filipinos can equally relate to a "kababayan" half-Filipino host interviewing them and telling the story on video. Since Trey understands a bit of our Filipino language, he can easily interact with the people and be able to convince them to share their experience with truthful emotions.

The documentary is in partnership with Filipino documentary makers, Caelestis Productions Inc. They visited Tacloban to uncover and honor the heroic human effort undertaken to rebuild the storm-ravaged city and the surrounding islands in an exclusive 60-minute documentary dubbed as HAIYAN: AFTER THE MEGASTORM.

We also got to interview Emile Guertin, the Executive Producer, via phone-patch. All of this was held at the Perceptions head office at the 17th floor of the Corporate Center building located at the McKinley Business Park of Bonifacio Global City (BGC).




The Perceptions office was a bit difficult to find since I had a sort of confusion between McKinley Hill and the McKinley Business Park. Since most of the events I've been to were held at the McKinley Hill area, I thought the McKinley Business Park was also somewhere within the area. The BGC guards were also not of great help since they told me that the McKinley Business Park was of walking distance from the McKinley Hill. I had to walk a great deal of distance to get there. Apparently, my destination was not "walkable" from McKinley Hill.

Not that I'm complaining since it was good exercise I very much needed, it would have been fine if only I had a spare shirt with me. Imagine the sweat I had to endure. Furthermore, when I arrived at my destination, the building elevator was not functioning due to an early morning power loss. The 17th floor office was not "stairsable" (a funny word created by one of the Perceptions staff) from the ground floor so instead of being able to sit down and rest after a long walk, I had to wait a bit more standing while the building maintenance fix the elevator.... since the building lobby had no comfortable waiting area for their guests - no lobby seats!

But it was nothing compared to the tragedy the people of Tacloban experienced and is continuing to face in the aftermath. Loss of property and the lives of their loved ones, many were left homeless, orphaned, and alone. Many loss their source of income or business since the storm hit everything in its path. Both the poor and affluent were not spared from the tsunami. Many suffered a great deal from the wrath of the Haiyan (Yolanda) storm.

The documentary was not all that depressing since it also showed some humor injected in some parts of the video. We would see the people smiling even though they were telling sad stories about the disaster and the fate of their loved ones. The host would even make an effort to speak Tagalog so he could communicate effectively with the people. Though he would sound funny talking in our language due to his accent and wrong grammar, it was appreciated.

I have some disappointments with regards to how slow the government dealt with both the recovery and rehabilitation of Tacloban. It is bad enough that there was very little warning given to the people to save themselves from the impending disaster, it was surprisingly annoying to find out that months had already passed yet many of the relief and recovery services expected from the government has not taken in effect yet. Though we know it would be difficult to remedy such a big disaster, it is the whole world that's shocked on why it takes a considerable amount of time to rehabilitate even after all the donations and relief assistance given to the country.



I would love to say more reactions about the issue, but it is so depressing to relive the thoughts especially when images of the disaster comes back again to haunt us. The documentary strayed away from being political as it interviewed only a few government officials and did not touch on the controversies. It is another great proof to show how resilient the Filipino people are.




More about the documentary below from the official press release:

In the early morning of November 8, 2013, mega-typhoon Haiyan tore through central Philippines, wreaking havoc across the country and causing widespread devastation. The sheer magnitude of the super storm was unprecedented, and the scale of damage it left in its wake was shocking. Haiyan left thousands dead, cities flattened, crops ruined and a clean-up operation that will last for years.

HAIYAN: AFTER THE MEGASTORM picks up seven months after Haiyan’s deadly wrath, with Trey returning to his native country to examine the typhoon’s impact on Tacloban, the worst-hit city, what is being done to pick up the pieces and how fellow Filipinos are coping with the aftermath. Tacloban still bears the indelible scars of Haiyan’s destructive path with evidence of it everywhere; the Daniel Z. Romualdez airport has only been partially rebuilt, and much of the city is still on the road to recovery. HAIYAN: AFTER THE MEGASTORM goes behind the scenes to gain unique insight into the current situation.

In HAIYAN: AFTER THE MEGASTORM, the Mayor of Tacloban, Alfred S. Romualdez takes host Trey on an up-close inspection of the incredible destruction. They board a grounded cargo ship that remains manned by the stranded crew to this day, and visit a temporary burial site where thousands of bodies had to be identified before being exhumed for placement in permanent graves later. Trey also stops at a school that remains eerily frozen in time after being completely gutted by the typhoon’s storm surge, which was fuelled by winds that reached an average of 195 mph (310 kmph). The program also visits a healing camp where affected children are being taught to forget what they have experienced, and to begin to trust the ocean again.

Tacloban’s recovery has been arduous and reconstruction is still underway, but it is beginning to move forward. HAIYAN: AFTER THE MEGASTORM uncovers everything that is being done – from the ongoing harrowing aspect of corpse management, to keeping the local airport open as a lifeline in conjunction with the U.S. military, to reconnecting power, helping survivors cope with the emotional trauma of the disaster and the pain of loss, clearing the countless number of downed coconut trees and logging the remaining dead trees to prevent infestation, and preparing for the next possible megastorm.



HAIYAN: AFTER THE MEGASTORM encores on Sunday, November 9 at 10:00 a.m., 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

HAIYAN: AFTER THE MEGASTORM was executive produced by Emile Guertin for Discovery Channel, and Sally Jo Bellosillo and Renato Romero for Caelestis Productions Inc.

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1 comment:

  1. I always enjoy documentaries and real investigative insights made into films by the Discovery channel. I feel that it's interesting to see how outsiders (Those people who didn't experience the rage of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda) view the tragedy that struck the Philippines back in November 2013.

    I'll be eagerly awaiting this on TV.

    ReplyDelete

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