• There is indeed a God

    Erwin Tulfo

    Erwin Tulfo

    Though I go to church every Sunday and believe in God, the Virgin Mary, and the saints, I do not consider myself a religious man or a devout Catholic.

    However, my experience last Friday while I was on coverage in Palo, Leyte during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda made me a firm believer, or shall I say, reinforced my faith that God and the Blessed Mother truly exist.

    In my 25 years as a journalist (and I have covered wars and natural disasters here and abroad), never have I seen death staring me in the face.

    I and my TV news crew, Jerico Javier, my segment producer, cameraman Levi Duriano and his assistant, Teddy Balanza, were on a rented van and were on our way to Tacloban City from Palo when “Yolanda” landed in Leyte that morning.

    We were cruising the highway near the beach when a big tree fell in front of our van, forcing our driver to make a u-turn and try to find another route as the wind started to pick up.

    But as we sped off to another road, a big acacia tree blocked our path. The strong wind seemed to lift our vehicle in the air. We decided to take cover on an old government building in the area.

    However, it was too late to get inside, so we just sat it out on the northern wall of the building facing the Pacific Ocean. Trees in front of us began to tumble one by one like dominoes and the roofs of the houses nearby started flying all over the place.

    Minutes later, the wind changed direction and started whipping us in the face so we decided to take shelter on the eastern section of the building. We can now hear the roar of the wind as vehicles were tossed in the air, including a bulldozer.

    Suddenly, we can see water coming from the ocean heading inland like a tsunami. In less than minute, we were waist deep in seawater.

    Since we had nowhere else to run and it appeared that we would either drown or be blown away by Yolanda’s powerful winds, I prayed to Jesus with these simple words, “cover us Lord with your most Precious Blood that You have shed, and protect us with the painful wounds inflicted upon You.”

    Then I kissed the brown scapular which I have been wearing and whispered to The Lady of Mt. Carmel “Mama Mary protect us.”

    As soon as we rushed into the building, the gate that we used to cover ourselves with from the strong winds was literally ripped into pieces. The concrete light post broke in half and fell where we were standing seconds ago as the sea and flood waters merged reaching as high as eight feet.

    An hour later, the strong winds stopped and the waters subsided. But the area where we were was reduced to a wasteland.

    Though we lost our equipment, including my cellular phones and my clothes inside my backpack, we were all thankful that we were alive. It seemed as if some unseen hands sheltered us from harm.

    As we boarded the Air Force plane from Tacloban City going to Cebu last Saturday, I realized one thing. If it is your time to go, you can’t stop it. However, if you ask Him to put it on hold, he may just do that provided that it will be for your good and that of your loved ones and above all, for His greater glory. After all, he owns our lives.

    Thank you Jesus. And thanks Mama Mary for always being a mother to us all.



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    1. ophelia G. Dionisio on

      The Fatima message” One day I will save the world thru the Scapular and the Holy Rosary.”..If people still will not believe this message, let you experience this..

    2. let us make sure that we have always faith to our true God… we always believing in the existing of our God but without faith… We always divert our faith to the worldly things, even in our worship…”Jesus said i am the way, the truth and the life, no one come to the father but by me.” always focus to the true God..

    3. I read the various comments on Mr. Tulfo’s testimony of experiencing God in the midst of typhoon Yolanda. Mr. Tulfo indeed glorified God by writing his experience. Let’s say this is the test of Job 1:6-12 on God’s people on earth. GOD is the winner because there are more responses praising God than people arguing against Him. The dead are in God’s hands. It is in the way the living responds to the damages of Yolanda that matters to the Lord. People from different parts of the world are sending help to God’s delight. Mr. Tulfo chose to give God the credit which is an example of Beatitude No.1 of Matthew 5:3. For those who disagree with Mr. Tulfo, God loves you and it is just a matter of time that you will love Him back.

    4. Mr Tulfo, two thumbs up for you! I believed that if we call on Him on time of our greatest needs He will answer you. As He said so over and over again….. to call Him and He will not abandon you. Your FAITH and complete TRUST on Him will surely SAVE you. That was your last recourse Mr Tulfo and God so listenened. I appreciate your sharing that to people not caring if they believe so or not. You have the right to praise God by sharing His goodness……so PEOPLE!!! call on God!!! Did you ever do it? thats my question!

    5. For those who do not know yet, Erwin is a TOYM awardee & I saw him & his family saying their reflection on tv during the 7 LAST WORDS last easter. So no wonder he is a prayerful man.

    6. Yes… In the name of Jesus Christ and Mama Mary likewise I have many experienced to the miracle of Mama Mary. Amen Jesus Amen

    7. Georgina dela Torre on

      Indeed, God is Good All the Time! Because in our imperfection, He is Always Faithful when we humbly seek for Him … here on earth or in Heaven. To God Be All the Glory !

    8. To those who appreciated Erwin’s testimony, it reinforces their faith. To those who are so negative on Erwin’s sharing, do more than what he have done. Go to the area of devastation and console the victims because it seems you don’t believe that there is a God that can console them despite the sufferings around.. remember Job.

    9. fr. ed bernardino on

      God bless you Erwin! Your personal encounter with God amidst the storm is literally tough but perhaps you are not aware but you inspired a lot of people. We can call on God especially during the most trying times of our lives. God speed!

    10. why question and blame God for these bad events? There are always reasons and that, only God knows. Are we not also responsible for these deluge and we are only reaping what we sow? We do bad things and when bad consequences happen we blame others, mostly God for it, except ourselves. If it’s time to go, we will go, unless we ask for extension with faith and humility, and God granted our request. Why this extension? It’s with a purpose and maybe his earthly mission is not yet finished. For unbelievers and atheists, no explanation is necessary. Let’s wait and see what you will do if the same thing happens to you.

    11. I thought you’re an INC…thanks for the sharing. It reinforces my faith too. I know you won’t mind detractors. God bless you.

    12. Marius Palisoc on

      What a story of personal encounter and testimony of faith!

      You were saved for a higher calling & purpose and that is your group’s unfinshed business. Each one of you should ask and personally pray: “here I am Lord, what is it that you want us to do for Your Glory not ours?”

    13. Marius Palisoc on

      a nice story of faith, a true personal encounter.

      You were saved because you still have an unfinished business and a deeper calling. Now is the time for each one in your group to personally ask “here I am Lord, what is it that you wanted from me?”

    14. Marilou R.Valdes on

      Dear Erwin,

      I have followed your career on and off and it came as a surprise for me that a tough guy like you experienced declaration of total faith in our Maker. I cry each time I see the devastation, however, I fully trust in Divine Providence and Intervention that God’s love will see the Pilipino people through. His plans are greater than ours. Am in LA far from the devastation, but I feel the anguish of all those affected and I could only pray and pray and pray. Sharing your Declaration of /faith will help a lot of people to move on. Thank God for this. (We met when I was with Luchi Cruz-Valdes, one of my favorite nieces.

    15. Amen. Indeed there is God and Mama Mary, Mr Tulfo.. I have a novena which I pray everyday and my petitions are so far granted… the NOVENA IS >>PRECIOUS BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST… in addition to that i pray the Holy Rosary as much as i could.

    16. There is no devine intervention happen. You just show your being irrational. God nor Mary did not save you. Its your instinct to seek shelter, and your dicision to return to safe place that saves you. If Jesus or Mary save you, how about thousands of people who perished in that calamity are they forgotten souls that Jesus and Mary did not save them, that all survivors are saved by Jesus and Mary and those perished are killed by devil

    17. I’m far from my family. When I heard the coming of the super typhoon, it didn’t bother me that much for I have ” Trust ” in The Lord and I do believe that Mama Mary will cover my family in her mantle of LOVE. Thank you so much Father GOD, MAMA MARY and JESUS. There is really GOD and HE love us so much. Follow his words and we will all be saved.

    18. you should have thank your driver the most for, if not for his quick thinking, your van couldn’t have made it near that old gov’t building. and with something to cover yourselves into, your quick thinking did all saved you just in the nick of time, from going out of the van, to leaving the bldg gate you all used for covering before it was ripped, to getting inside of the building before the concrete post fell to crush you all. and by that time, being the building walls just strong enough to hold on to, the eye of the storm passed, and you were all saved. it’s all on all of your quick thinking.

      remember erwin. 10, 000 people or more are still missing. believe me, most of them also called the name of god, but wasn’t save. perhaps, they just called, without doing anything, maybe, being in a wrong location at that very wrong time.

      you should have seen that picture of a family, still clinging to each other: the man; the wife; the kid. lifeless.

      why would there be a deadly typhoon in the first place, killing bad and good people alike, if there is a loving god?

    19. With all due respect, Mr. Tulfo, but this article is a HORRIBLE INSULT to the victims of this calamity. It is also highly irrational. Perhaps such was not your intention, and you simply wanted to express some gratitude for surviving your ordeal. Let me explain:

      I will start with rationality. Belief in a god often comes with the fallacious reasoning known as confirmation bias, which is a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs. People credit a god for all the good things, yet ignore all the bad things. In your rush to express your gratitude at being alive, you seem to neglect the 10,000+ who have died. If God was responsible for saving your life, then the he was also responsible for all those deaths (after all, with great power comes great responsibility, and the greatest power should have the greatest responsibility – and ACCOUNTABILITY). You’re alive because you were LUCKY (just as I’m alive and lucky because I happen to live in Luzon). If the Christian god exists, then he is just as responsible for killing 10,000 as he is for “saving” you. After all, we have his confession:

      “I form light and create darkness,
      I make well-being and create calamity,
      I am the Lord, who does all these things.”

      Isaiah 45:7 ESV

      Now about the article being HORRIBLY INSULTING to victims, You cite this recent calamity as one that REINFORCED your faith. Again, forgetting about your own survival for a moment (which was no way miraculous), how does the death of over 10,000 and ruined homes and livelihood of countless others reinforce your faith in a god?!

      You also state “If it is your time to go, you can’t stop it. However, if you ask Him to put it on hold, he may just do that provided that it will be for your good and that of your loved ones and above all, for His greater glory.” Are you saying that all those who died were not spared because it was NOT for their good?! Did they die because their loved ones would be better off without them? Are you saying they died because they had nothing further to contribute to HIS greater glory (maybe because they’re not a big-shot reporter like you)? You’re basically saying that there is indeed a god because YOU were spared. Perhaps you’d like to reflect on how egotistical that sounds.

      Again, I’m sure such sentiments were not your intention. You’re merely thankful to be alive. But please realize that even though many people would praise you for saying so, the other aspects I pointed out LOGICALLY FOLLOW and are clear to those who are more discerning.

      • With all due respect to your rationalizations…Mr. Tulfo is free to express his gratitude to His God…by doing so, he does not mean, the perished were not blessed.
        Mr. Tulfo’s thanks should not mean an insult to those who lost their lives.
        In your rationalizations and logic, you appear more illogical.
        Tragedies and calamitties are unfathomable.
        Unreasonable to say the least.
        Those who profess and believe in an all supernatural God give Him deference in deciding when our time is up or not.
        We have no choice but to thank Him and abide.
        You are free to your own assessment and judgements…but I think, Mr. Tulfo is free to profess his beliefs of a harrowing tale of survival!
        We can continue to believe there there is No God or there is one…it is a choice and we have to mutually respect that.

      • Rose Marie Stephens on

        I cannot see anything wrong with this article. He is just expressing his gratitude and faith in God/ Of course we are all saddened and horrified of the death toll. But during this time of crisis, small things that gives hope will mean a lot.

        Let us be positive in the midst of all these tragedies

      • I find your reply ironic and incredibly naive my friend. It seems your rational got blown with typhoon Yolanda. The narrated (by himself) personal experience of Mr. Erwin Tulfo (being a hard hitting news reporter) simply shows how humbling the grace of God is. We should honor all the newsmen who went to harms way so that you Mr. Brian (comfortably watching from your tellie) will know what happened to our countrymen before and after the ty Yolanda’s aftermath. I suggest you pour your hatred and efforts on asking your friends and family how you can help our kababayans in the visayas.

      • We are all used to hearing people thank a god for this or that. And yes, pretty much all cases, no insult was intended and they were merely being grateful. Mr. Tulfo was just being grateful. I have pointed that out. However, my argument is that we should REEXAMINE the whole notion of thanking a god in light of the nastier implications that logically follow. If a god actively decided to save your life, then that should also mean he actively decided to kill (or at least NOT to save) all those other lives. Can you imagine thanking God for your safety and that of your family’s in front of a woman who has lost her entire family? Sure, you may find a way to bend over backwards and put a positive spin on things like telling that woman that it was God’s will that her family was taken away…or that the deaths of her young children had some heavenly purpose…good luck on that…

        There are ways to be thankful without invoking a god (and thus unintentionally being insensitive and insulting to those victims who happen to be your fellow believers). You can still be thankful that you were just lucky or fortunate (which would be true). The bereaved woman in my example would agree with you. She’d say “Yes, you are indeed very lucky. I’m not…I lost everything.” Then you can empathize properly with her since you didn’t begin by insulting her (again, unintentionally).

        What I’m saying is that we reflect on the nasty implications that inevitably follow from thanking God. If you think the implications don’t follow, let’s hear your argument. The Bible is pretty clear on the issue, and in claiming that a deity actively saved you, you can’t deny that he didn’t do the same to many others. Just because it’s something we’ve been saying for years doesn’t mean it’s okay. Eventually, we THINK about it, and we realize “Hey, something’s not right…” That’s all I’m bringing up. That we re-evaluate such a sentiment.

    20. The same would have happened, MIKE B, whether he prayed or not. But it’s the faith that would spell the difference between his life and death.

      Faith without work is dead. Work without faith is futility.

    21. noel k. felongo on

      Amen to that Erwin!!! God is good all the time. Praise God for inspiring you to write this column. To God be the glory!

    22. Maria Teresa Carpio on

      “I prayed to Jesus with these simple words, “cover us Lord with your most Precious Blood that You have shed” These are the simple words that we need to utter by Faith and God will hear it from Heaven thru Christ Jesus.

      • its the greatst prayer you ever had..just surrender to Him everythnig nd He will do the rest.it’s hundred percent that the brown scapular has helped you so much.it is the promie of mama mary that whoever will be wearing it will be save from any calamity.

    23. Oh you of little faith! It will take a disaster for you to profess your belief. Have you not thought otherwise that the same would have happened whether you have prayed or not? That is mother nature and you just witnessed its wrath.

      • Mike B. I hope the next super typhoon catches you and let’s see what you will do, don’t pray at all since you think it will do you no good.

      • Mike B, you continue to quote scripture in a mocking way…clearly…you are simply out to promote an UNBELIEF in God amidst this tragedy…Please refrain from doing so…you are insulting our beliefs…in your pretense to defend the perished souls…you are showing your insensitivity to our period of mourning and loss. We chose to hold on to our faith no matter what you profess.

    24. Hi Erwin, The Lord and Mama Mary rescued you and you’re team for a reasons that only you and your team know…shout it out and exclaim it to all who are willing to listen, our lord talks to us everyday but the lucky ones he speaks in the most profound ways, you are one of those…..

    25. praise be to God! your prayer to the Lord Jesus has definitely saved you and your team – which is all that matters!

    26. JESS A. ONGCHUA on

      It’s so heartwarming to hear this from you Erwin…especially, when we are used to hearing you over the tv and radio with strong and bold commentaries, we seem to picture you as someone who is rude…Godbless! And may all these experiences you shared increase your faith in God in the way of the Blessed Mother Mary!…and ours too!

    27. God is good all the time. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel the Brown scapular is my protectress too. She have done many miracles to me. Always wear the brown scapular with devotion. as typhoon Yolanda is concerned. i think this is the wake up call for the leytenos. because even their patron and the fiesta of Senor Sto. Nino itself ay pinupulitika pa? kahit yong procession ayaw padaanin sa ganito kasi sabi ni Gov. or ni Mayor? Sana this time. gave to Caesar what for Caesar and for God is to God naman. God is a jealous God. wag nilang pag awayan ang fiesta sa pansariling inters lamang.

    28. I truly believe that God was with you to protect you most specially if you pray to Him, got goosebumps reading your experience and thank you for sharing cuz you just shared an experience that only God can help and protect us

    29. Andrei Mendoza on

      For those who survived the calamity, there is indeed a god and to thank him, and for those who losts their loved ones, god don’t exist.

      why thanked god for something he sent which resulted to thousands of death? is god benevolent for some and malevolent for others? if he is indeed both at the same time, then he is not a good god.

      • right!!!! Its cruelty!!!! God did not save them. Its their decision to seek shelter in a safe place. Human instinct to find safe shelter intimes of trouble and hoping to survive

    30. Francis Rey Apo on

      Thank you Erwin for your inspirational story. God is truly great. All glory to Him. Thanks to Jesus our Savior. Thanks to our Mother Mary, the help of Christians.

    31. Thank you for sharing. Congratulations for your presence of mind and God be praised for giving you another life to glorify, know and serve Him.

    32. tama ba ang nagiging pananampalataya natin o ayon ba ito sa kagustuhan ng diyos na nakasulat sa banal na kasulatan.sumusunod ba tayo sa utos niya.doon sa 10 utos na binigay niya kay moses may sang utos doon na tahasan nilalapastangan ng tao ang diyos,pakisuri po at maliwanag na nakasulat po doon

    33. tinanong ko na rin po yan sa sarili ko,ang nakapagpaliwanag po sa akin kung bakit nangyayari ito ganitong kalamidad ay bibliya at isang tunay na pastor o mangangaral ng salita ng diyos.kayo po ang nakakaalam kung sino sa kanila ang nakapagpaliwanag ng maigi,dahil sa mga may tv program sila.mabuhay ka sir erwin at sa iyong mga kapatid

    34. I have never been an admirer of the Tulfo brothers because I see in them the arrogance of power, mayabang and sanggano. And yet at the back of that stern facade, there is that tenderness and humanity —I could not believe that Erwin could wear a scapular and utter such words of dependence to a Mother and to his God….in times like those, whom shall we seek………Thank you Erwin, from now on, you are my Idol.

    35. Crisologo Escobal Felicitas on

      Praise and thanks God, Erwin. Your experienced of God’s presence, care and protection so with the intercession of Our Blessed Mother during typhoon Yolanda was very touching. Hope you could share this to our brothers and sisters in the Catholic religious communities if ever you are invited to share. God bless.

    36. The Lord is truly a merciful God. In his infinite love for us Filipinos, He has driven away the storm so fast. Just imagine if she hovered and lingered like some of the past storms did? I cannot fathom the gravity of Yolanda’s destruction if she did stay. As the people held hands and begged the Lord for mercy, He heard our cries and drove Yolanda away. God is mightier than any storm. No storm can put down the Filipino spirit because Jesus is our Lord and Saviour. Let us continue praying for our country. God bless us all!

    37. Rose de la Cruz on

      Erwin, I have always believed that there was a hidden message in Yolanda and in all calamities and strife that hit our lives. People must have faith and pray, a lot of us have lost this vital weapon because we placed all out faith in materialism and science. Many things in life are not governed by science.

      • God is always there, showing the way to His kingdom. The evil managers of this nation will soon be in peril.

    38. Your prayers must be stronger than those of the thousands who perished. Or you were wearing the right scapular.

    39. Erwin, this is a very horrific, yet enlivening, for the soul that is, experience. May I ask your permission to re-print this in our parish newsletter? I head the Social and Human Development Ministry of the St. Paul of the Cross Parish in SSS Village, Marikina City.

      Continue with what you do for our people who are most in need, and may God, Mama Mary, His angels, and His saints, bless and keep you safe always.

    40. Erwin,God has a plan for you,He wants you to share your story so that people will see that He is really present,that He is God the almighty,the protector, THE SAVIOR.God bless you and protect you always. YOU HAVE WORK TO DO.

    41. truly God is good especiallt to those who believe.. keep up the good work irwin and God will always protect you..

    42. Thank you for your spiritually-enriching message. May the rest of the victims find refuge in God that they may not lose hope. God bless you! We’ll continue praying for all the victims of Yolanda.

    43. pakisabi po sa lahat ng namatayan na “God is good,” na nasagip sana yung mga mahal nila sa buhay kung hinalikan lang nila yung mga Rosary nila sa liig. pakisabihan yung pamilya na namatayan ng 11 na miyembro na “Papa Jesus loves you”.

    44. Ophie Generoso-Villaran on

      I was moved by your experience, Mr. Tulfo. Truly, God is a just and loving Father to all. The Blessed Virgin Mary is our mother and protector.

    45. florencio "floy" l. viola on

      mon, you have acknowledge God’s way of dealing with our lives especially in times of crisis, however God is a always dealing with us, crisis or no crisis, its only us who forgets to acknowledge and give thanks to Him. 1 example is, when we are able to wake up everyday. we oftentimes forget to give thanks…. more power to your prog….

    46. Thanks for sharing us your experience. Indeed, during disasters we discover who we are and what we really believe in. God always abides, yet it’s we who put Him aside during sunny days.



      • Victor M Hernandez on

        Amen to that! Mama Mary, help us, and protect us. Amen+ And to God be the Glory!. Amen+

    48. Amen to that, Mr. Tulfo. And thank you very much for the narrative. Indeed, who are we who can stop God the Father from ending our earthly lives? It is only His Son, our Lord Jesus, who, together with his loving Blessed Mother, our Lady Virgin Mary, who truly cares for all of us earthly people. That is why we should continue to glorify Jesus and His mother Mary, also our mother, who are here for us all, every instant, not only during times of trouble but also when everything seems to be ok. We should be not like many of those so–called Christians who think only about God when things turn bad.