Manitoban returns from typhoon-devastated Philippines

A man working in Manitoba has returned from the Philippines, where 32 members of his family died in Typhoon Haiyan last month.

Marvin Panglilingan lost 32 family members in Typhoon Haiyan

What remains of Marvin Panglilingan's family home in San Joaquin, in the Philippines, following Typhoon Haiyan in November. (Submitted by Marvin Panglilingan)

A man working in Manitoba has returned from the Philippines, where 32 members of his family died in Typhoon Haiyan last month.

Marvin Panglilingan travelled from Neepawa, Man., to his home country in mid-November to be with loved ones who survived the storm, considered to be one of the strongest typhoons on record.

The death toll from Typhoon Haiyan has topped 5,000 and is expected to keep climbing. 

Marvin Panglilingan told CBC News on Nov. 15 that he felt a 'heavy burden' after hearing of the deaths of so many family members in the typhoon. (CBC)
​Panglilingan's grandmother, who raised him, was among the 32 relatives who perished as a result of the typhoon.

"It was like when somebody gets home and then you get a gathering, almost all of them are there. And now, it's like 50 per cent of them are there only," he told CBC News on Wednesday.

"I was asking [myself] if I was there, would I survive?"

Panglilingan said he spent his days in the Philippines praying for his grandmother and the aunts, uncles and cousins he has lost.

As well, he said he heard stories of those who survived, including family members who climbed on the roof of their house during the storm.

"The waves hit the house and then the house broke off and then they were separated," he said.

Panglilingan said he could not get to his home community of San Joaquin, but he saw photographs and heard descriptions of the devastation there.

"The situation is not good — too many dead bodies still in the streets," he said.

Panglilingan said his family members are coping and trying to move forward, thankful for the international support but needing more.

"They really need more and more help," he said.

He added that he takes comfort in knowing his family is proud to see him succeeding in Neepawa, where he and hundreds of other Filipino employees work at HyLife Foods' pork processing plant.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.