Honolulu councilman finds beloved priest in devastation
“All of this area right here were inundated,” said Honolulu City Councilman Joey Manahan, shorty after he returned from a four day visit to the most devastated area in the Philippines.
Manahan said he was on a mission to find a friend.
“We didn't know what'd happened to him. We didn't know if he'd survived the storm,” he said.
The Rev. Theodulo Gaguit, or Father "Teddy," was the Parish Priest at St. Anthony's in Kalihi for 13 years before he retired and moved to his native Tacloban.
That was just one month before one of the worst natural disasters in history hit the area.
He found his friend and mentor surrounded by everything broken, but alive.
“The first thing we did was hug each other,” said Manahan.
Gaguit took him on a tour of his neighborhood, which looked more like a war zone.
In one picture, he showed KITV reporter Lara Yamada long lines, hundreds deep, with people waiting for a bit of gas.
There was the woman washing pans and clothes where she could find water, the young girl cooking rice on an open flame, and the church with an unwanted skylight.
And there was the neighbor, like so many others, her home gutted and coated in gunk.
The waterline behind her, as high as her neck, became an eerie reminder of the storm’s dramatic impact.
“The people who were left there, basically had no choice but to stay there. They couldn't leave. That's why they're there right now,” said Manahan.
Despite the mess, Gaguit said they have food and water.
Manahan said he watched aid groups come and go, such as the The Red Cross, Catholic Charities, and Global Medics.
Gaguit instead asked Manahan for medicine and mosquito nets, knowing even items of care and comfort, were now a luxury.
“I hope we're committed enough to help them in the long haul,” said Manahan.
Manahan said everywhere he looked, coconut trees were also destroyed.
He said that's their main source of revenue in Tacloban, and those trees, typically take about six years to grow back.
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