ON the morning of November 8, 2013, a recorded 310-kilometers per hour Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) hit central Philippines, leaving over 900,000 families displaced and about 10,000 deaths in Tacloban, Leyte alone.
As one of the hardest-hit cities, Tacloban is once again in the news a year after the natural disaster.
In partnership with Filipino documentary makers, Caelestis Productions Inc., Discovery Channel returns to Tacloban to uncover and honor the human efforts and resilience of its residents in an exclusive 60-minute documentary premiering on November 8 at 8 p.m.
Titled Haiyan: After the Megastorm, the documentary is hosted by Filipino-British actor and television personality Trey Farley as he examines how residents are coping with the storm’s aftermath and reports on the continuous efforts to rebuild the once bustling city.
“We didn’t want to do a show that was too ‘scientific’ or too ‘complicated’ for viewers. We wanted to do a human interest story that people can connect with,” shared Emile Guertin, the show’s executive producer based in the regional Discovery Channel office in Singapore.
Thus, for the documentary Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez takes Farley to different sites, including a grounded cargo ship that was swept on land during the storm. The ship remains to be home of the stranded crew as well as local residents.
Farley also visits an abandoned school facing the ocean, which was also heavily hit by the storm; explores temporary burial sites where thousands of bodies were gathered for identification; and features how communities rely on car batteries for electricity at night among others.
“There was so much misfortune experienced by the community, but there is a paradox going on. Despite all the things that have happened, and despite the continuous rebuilding of lives, people don’t want to be seen depressed. The general interaction is upbeat, although we know below the surface, people are obviously suffering,” Guertin said.
In Tacloban, Discovery held a special screening of the documentary on October 24 at Robinsons Movie World, which was also attended by the mayor.
“This documentary makes us remember the sorrow of losing many of our loved ones and the vast devastation that Typhoon Haiyan brought to our shores. But it also shows the heroism in our people’s hearts, and the hard guts it took to help us get back on our feet again with the help of the rest of the Philippines and the international community.” Romualdez said.
Haiyan: After the Megastorm premiers on November 8 at 8 p.m. on Discovery Channel. The show has encores on November 9 at 10 a.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.