About the artist
In the spirit of charity and giving, we’ve created a shirt to benefit and celebrate the resiliency and strength inherent in the people of the Philippines. The iconic sun of the nation’s flag, assembled in a geometric pattern, is a reminder that life goes on. By banding together as one world we can deliver hope to those in need. You may recall the featured designs on TeeFury of Filipino artist zerobriant. He was kind enough to share a firsthand account of the tragic events and relief efforts on the islands.
Where are you in the Philippines, and where were you when the typhoon struck?I was in our little province called Cebu. I gathered my family and relatives in our house to keep an eye on everybody, and make sure everyone was safe.
Can you tell us about your experience during the storm, and the aftermath of the recent earthquake?Days before the storm, I was tracking reports and satellite images of the massive cyclone, said to be the largest and strongest the world has ever recorded. I was able to recall the last strong typhoon we had when I was in still high school. We lost our roof and went without electricity over a month back then. So, before Haiyan arrived, I set out to prepare. Little did I know that stores had run out of flashlights, emergency lights, batteries and radios. There was a massive panic of preppers buying canned goods, noodles and necessities. People were tying down their wooden walls and setting up rubber tires on their roofs to secure against vicious winds.
During the storm, everybody was inside the house praying and I was on the roof deck checking on our kitchen. Our house is little two story building our kitchen and dining room is made of bamboo and coconut wood; if strong winds came it would be the first thing to go. From the window, we could see metal sheets flying from rooftops, trees bending and breaking. You could see lethal, airborne debris. Signs and billboards flew, and the river beside our house was overflowing; a flash flood could weaken our foundation. Our neighbor's walls collapsed. The deafening whoosh of wind made everybody in the house tremble with fear. We’ve experienced a lot of typhoons but this one was truly frightening.
The earthquake was something else. Me, my wife and kid were in bed sleeping when we felt the tremor, it was too late to go down from the second floor. The debris falling from the walls trapped us. Almost everything in our room was shattered into pieces: picture frames, bottles, figurines, glasses, containers and tiles. It was a mess on the floor and everywhere. Cracks on the walls, stairs and floor. My only thought was the safety of my family, so all we did was hugged our little boy and prayed that our old house would not collapse on us.
How did Haiyan affect you and your loved ones?Since our house was spared from the hurricane, I think there was a boost of faith. We have become closer as a family, my relatives bonded with us during the nights when there was no electricity. Since communication and electricity were down, we were not able to contact our relatives in Leyte and Ormoc; whom we just recently discovered have lost their roofs, and our ancestral house was damaged as well. Some of our cousins had to seek help from us. Since our house was spared, we gave them a place to stay.
I know you’ve been volunteering your time to help those most affected by Haiyan. How are you finding relief efforts in the Philippines?There are reports in the media about the slow movement of the government relief efforts; but I’ve witnessed things first-hand. As a volunteer I’ve seen the amount of relief goods that have to be prepared and the lack of human resources available to handle it. Since the City of Tacloban (the major city that was affected by the storm) lost almost everything (airports, schools, local government), it is hard to reach by plane, ship or road. Repacking relief goods for distribution requires more manpower.
There has been a lot of relief mobilizing in small proportions: from the private sector, radio stations, even some families and individuals helping by giving basic necessities like food, sanitation, tents and clothing. We are incredibly thankful for the help of the many nations who provided us with medical teams, military and rescue units and the financial help offered to help to make our crippled nation stand again.
Do you have a message for those who wish to help?The recent earthquake and super typhoon that have taken a lot of lives, damaged businesses and crippled our economy, postponed education and has threatened to take even more from us. We may be strong and resilient but we cannot stand on our own. We need your support and prayers, and the small action buying a tee at TeeFury today could mean a hungry child being fed, a house being rebuilt, a student getting back to school, a life being saved or even a nation rising up again. Thank you so much for your help, and thanks to TeeFury for extending your hand in making this possible.