Six Hours: Surviving Typhoon Yolanda (2014) Movie Script

(somber music)
- Things are flying everywhere.
It sounded like howling dogs.
- [Lea] There's not even time to cry.
- We hang on for our dear lives.
- Either they're dead or
they're looking for their dead.
They too thought thought
that they would die.
- [Aaron] World just came crashing down.
(gentle music)
- I'm Jiggy Manicad, I'm
a senior news producer
and the anchor for GMA Network,
and I've been covering
disasters and tragedies
in the Philippines and
outside the country as well.
- [All] Good afternoon, sir.
- We only go to places
for breaking news only.
- [Jiggy] We were already
in Tacloban to do coverage
of the preparations of the typhoon.
- When we heard about the
gravity of the typhoon
the government officials,
everybody was saying
that it was strong, really really strong,
but we didn't really mind it.
We were used to typhoons and storms
so it didn't really matter.
- Our country's visited by
calamities most of the time.
- In the Philippines you always get hit
by a bunch of tropical storms.
I mean, every time I've
been there it's rained.
- The situation was just normal
and the weather was just fine.
- It's normal, sunny.
- There wasn't any
strong winds at that time
so I wasn't expecting that
much about Yolanda itself.
- We weren't expecting anything.
- [Jiggy] Though very few of
us seemed to take it seriously,
Yolanda was already classified
as a category five typhoon
even before it made
landfall in the Philippines.
(suspenseful music)
(melancholy music)
- On November 7th, a day before,
my parents were kind of afraid.
So I looked for a hotel and
then I checked them in Tacloban.
It was near Astrodome along
Cancabato Bay at budget hotel.
The weather was okay, there
was no wind, it was sunny.
I left the hotel and I said Mum, Dad,
I'll just fetch you tomorrow.
It was like a normal day, we were playing,
watching TV, eating, we had food.
I said okay, I have to go.
The storm might come 'round eight
so I think I'll just go
and fetch you tomorrow.
So I arrived here, I fetched
my girlfriend, she was with me.
We ate, then watched TV, watched a movie,
then, I mean, we felt that
nothing was gonna happen.
We slept.
- It's the usual news coverage now.
We will get up at 11 a.m.
and then call time is around 2 p.m.
The ordinary day to day news coverage.
It will be a super typhoon.
We finished at six p.m.
and then we arrived
in our hotel at seven p.m.
We had dinner and then
that's it, we rested.
- Then around three a.m.
(wind howling)
- I was awakened by the strong
winds at around three a.m.
- The wind was getting stronger.
Then we were looking around,
looking out our window,
and then we saw some of the houses,
especially our neighbor here in front,
the house already had fell.
The storm hasn't started
but most of the houses
were already falling apart,
so actually we were laughing.
Ah, look at that house, it fell down.
- I was still on the radio.
I was live on radio and I
was appealing to the people
to get out of the shorelines,
get out of the coastal areas.
- I alerted my team to start filming,
and also to record the sound of the winds.
- We were actually
afraid, it was so strong.
- It's really different, it's howling.
- It sounded like howling dogs.
It was like how hell hounds sound like.
- While the storm was
pounding on Tacloban city,
my air-conditioning
unit was pushed inwards.
The ceiling on my room started to beat
as if it was like a heart.
The wall in my room cracked.
Things are flying everywhere,
be it pieces of wood, even trees.
- I just stared at the street.
And then all of a sudden it's gone.
- And the wind direction is
changing from time to time
so it was a very dangerous situation.
The only protection we had was the roof
and from time to time we
would go inside our bathroom.
If my ceiling would
collapse or be sucked out,
that would be it.
Around 6:30 in the morning I
was able to do a live report
for the radio, the local radio,
and a program for GMA Network,
and by around 7:30
communications went down.
(muffled speaking)
- [Radio Presenter] Jiggy?
Hello, Jiggy?
(somber music)
- After electricity was cut,
everything was cut, just dark.
Dark but eerie white glow.
The floor was rumbling,
the wall was rumbling,
everything was flying.
Little by little my house,
our house was being
torn apart by the storm.
We looked around.
The house was totally destroyed.
But the first thing on my
mind was how were my parents?
- We almost died, together with
my wife and three children.
The storm surge for the first time,
the water from the sea,
the water for the bay,
they met together, it was
like this high already.
We were fortunate that we had a window
that we weren't escape through the window.
We hang on for our dear lives.
But fortunately the sea and
the water subsided immediately.
If not for the window, the back of a room,
I think all of us would have perished.
(muffled yelling)
- Myself, my family, people
started getting worried.
You know, started calling
home to call my grandmother,
my uncle, other family
and friends out there
and the phone lines are shut down.
(tense music)
- Not a single roof was in place.
All the trees were either broken, fallen,
or no leaves at all.
Everything was in a total destruction.
Thick glass, I mean
that thick.
- We had to send a message,
at least, that we were alive.
Not even the story, just the
message that we were okay.
(brooding music)
We lost the internet, we
lost the mobile phone lines
so I told my team that the only thing
that would tell our relatives,
our boss that we're okay, we're alive,
to be able to deliver the
news, is to go to Palo, Leyte,
which is about six hours away by walk.
By walk because most of the lampposts,
the trees have fallen on the roadside.
Even motorcycles can't pass through.
Our satellite is on another town.
It's around 15 miles
away, so we had to walk
for about six hours just to
get to that satellite setup.
That is the only chance
that some of our story
will be able to come out.
Not to beat a deadline but
to really send a message
across not only the
Philippines but worldwide.
I did not expect that
our communications team,
our satellite team, is still
intact during that time
because I didn't have an idea.
I just have this theory
that if we can go to Palo
and the satellite team is okay,
we might have a chance to communicate
whatever message that we have right now.
- Of course we don't have communication.
That's the shortest place that we can go.
- I did not expect that
even the basic mobility
that we have where the
roads that we needed
would be blocked by all
the debris, fallen trees,
fallen lampposts, just to be
able to be mobile during that.
I did not expect that actually.
I expected a lot of damages on the roofs
or in the structures but not the roads
that we badly needed during that time.
So of course when I saw then
that we cannot even pass through
and we cannot even drive
our service vehicle
going down the road, I mean,
I felt that this is going to
be another problem for us.
It's going to be another challenge for us.
Problems piling up on each other.
You have a problem with communication,
you don't have communication,
you don't have food, water,
now you don't have the basic mobility
that you need during that time,
so what you have is just yourself,
your clothing and the camera
that we have during that time.
When I broached them the idea of walking,
going to Palo despite what
we are seeing right now,
we were all convinced
that it was the best thing that we can do.
- We were shocked, we
were in a state of shock.
(indistinct chattering)
I think there's no time for
us, not even time to cry,
because people started coming in.
People who were wounded,
there were even those carrying their dead,
and we have to do something about them
so there was nothing we
can do but just attend
to the people who came
who were in need of help.
I converted the two big rooms
there as a mini hospital.
We called for volunteers and a lot came,
but we had no doctors
and then we had medicine
because we always had
in our unit, in our HQ,
so we were able to treat a lot of people.
- At least about 100 meters
away from our hotel room
which is still part of the property
of the owners of that hotel,
we immediately saw 12 dead
bodies on the shoreline.
Children, women, men, and
a lot of dead animals also.
A few persons we saw were volunteers
from the Philippine Red Cross
which were doing the best
that they can to retrieve the
bodies from the shoreline.
They had to use whatever they can
just to retrieve these bodies.
Doors of refrigerators, manually,
taking them without even gloves.
They themselves have become
victims of this typhoon.
- We tried to go to Tacloban.
It's a good thing my car started
so we went to Tacloban but
didn't really reach Tacloban
because it was already flooded.
We were really hopeful when
we were going to Tacloban,
we said hey, let's go to the hotel,
maybe Mom is there, Dad,
they still have food,
let's charge, I wanna take 'em back.
But when we arrived
there it was even worse.
People were walking and crying,
there were already dead people lined up
in the streets so I was really afraid.
The worst thing was when I saw my friends.
I saw some of my friends along the street.
Hey, how are you, how are you?
And I said how was Astrodome?
I did not say budget hotel,
for I didn't want to hear the answers.
I just wanted to ask what happened.
The Astrodome, they said everybody's dead.
- 200 meters away from the
hotel we can't find the road,
the small road towards the
city, because it's submerged
in waist-deep floods during that time.
Of course we were worried during that time
of other diseases other
than leptospirosis,
perhaps cholera or diarrhea,
'cause we can see septic tanks open
or restrooms blown away.
- I was having my period at that time,
so I crossed this flooded street.
So I saw young flood water and then
- We had to climb a fallen tree
just to be able to go to that road.
Immediately when we were able to cross
that fallen tree in that flooded area,
saw a lot of dead bodies in the street.
Just covered with tarpaulins or plastics,
whatever the people can
see or use to cover them.
- I saw a lot of dead people
lined up on the streets.
One by one I looked at them.
Then when I saw this body
wearing the pants of my mother
I said no no, that's not her.
Maybe people just stole
her clothes and wore it.
Then I saw her blouse.
Oh no, I was no, that's not
her, somebody stole her blouse.
I saw her earrings.
No, that's not her, maybe
they stole her whole wardrobe.
I approached that body, I
slowly remove the cover.
They just put a tire in front
of her, a rubber, nothing.
When I removed it,
I saw my mom, and...
- [Interviewer] Your dad,
when did you see him?
- Wait.
I saw my mom and
you know, my world just
came crashing down and...
I was really crying.
And then my girlfriend saw me,
she was also crying and I...
I tried to resuscitate her, you know?
She was cold, I held her hand.
Said mom, mom.
You know, her eyes were
open, they were lifeless.
I fixed her hair.
Then I closed her eyes.
People were around, I
was really crying so hard
and then people were around.
They were, what happened, what happened?
My mom, where's my dad, where's my dad?
I didn't know if they understood me.
They said there are a lot of people.
I told them let me see, I want
to see if my dad is there.
So I went around looking
at all the debris.
They kept pointing me, is that your dad?
I said no, is that your dad?
No, they kept pointing at dead bodies.
- Lot of people were asking
if they could have their messages recorded
on our microphone and our camera
just to be able to tell their
relatives that they are alive,
but what I've noticed is that all of them,
all of them looked exhausted,
they looked hungry, thirsty,
and somehow it was good
that they were alive
but you can see the suffering
that they have encountered
and they will encounter the next few days.
The very first interview that we did,
or not exactly an interview
but a chance interview that we did
was of a man carrying a girl.
I thought that the girl was just sleeping
so when I approached the man
and asked him what happened, how are they,
he told me that that's his
daughter and she's dead.
He said that they were trapped
inside an evacuation center
because when the floodwaters came in
the kids were not able to get out
because all the rooms had
steel bars on the windows
so the kids were trapped inside.
- I felt helpless when
people asked me for help
and I couldn't do anything,
I couldn't even give them what
they needed during that time.
- There are people staying at
the second floor of a building
shouting at us:
- It was more of assuring
them that we will try
to communicate their message
across for help to come in.
- They were all asking for help.
Please help us, please tell
our families that we're okay,
and that was the only thing I can do,
just to record their
messages, their plea for help,
and assure them that we'll do
whatever we can to ask for help.
While we were seeking
stories, these places,
I think it was more of
the story sought us.
- I shouted how many of you are survivors?
Are you all left?
How many are survivors?
It's only us, it was like eight people.
And I said oh my God.
Then I thought that the
receptionist, I saw her,
I said what happened, what happened?
Sir, sorry, we didn't know what to do.
We couldn't help you so where's my dad?
I don't know, we don't know.
So I said ah but he might have survived,
he might have escaped.
Okay, so what happened, it's alright.
It's not your fault, or them.
I told her it's not your
fault what happened.
They said around seven...
They said around seven a.m., floodwaters,
there was flood, ankle-deep waters,
and after a few seconds it subsided.
After it subsided, a few seconds after,
there was like 20 feet of waters.
20-foot wave after a few seconds.
Okay, so I said to them
let me look at their room, maybe
we still have things there.
When I entered their room
there was no door anyway.
There's no door, there's no windows.
Looked at the room, I looked there,
and I looked down on
the floor, I saw my dad.
I saw my dad and our helper on the floor,
and again, I just broke down.
I held my dad, tried to
resuscitate him again
but blood was pouring out of his mouth
and our maid was there and
I just lied back and cried.
- Because of the distance they
had blisters on their feet,
and one of the journalists
that went with me
had his feet bloody because
of the long hours of walking.
During that time even my
camera crew was so tired,
I think they wanted to
just sit on the roadside
and wait for us to come back.
In coverages like this as much as I can
I try to stay positive,
to think positively,
but of course in between I say my prayers
and what I did during that time
was to wear my wedding ring,
just in case, I mean, just
in case something happens,
the roof collapses or the
ceiling collapses on us
I might be identified
somehow with my wedding ring.
Entertaining the thoughts
of dying or delving on it,
I do not do that much.
But of course I just, you know,
I just thought of if something happens
they'll be able to
retrieve me or identify me
after a few days or a few weeks.
(gentle choral music)
(brooding music)
We went to the satellite setup.
- Nobody was there, no GMA
staff, no technical people.
So we circled the area.
Still no GMA person there,
so I decided option B,
we'll go back to the hotel,
we'll walk again for six hours.
My God, I don't wanna
walk again for six hours.
Then I asked Jiggy so what will we do?
so doing our setup and then
we had a chance to go live.
- Only to find out that the
team there was also traumatized.
They evacuated in a cathedral
to be met by strong winds
and the roof of that church,
piece by piece, collapsed.
(shouting indistinctly)
I only had about a few minutes
for the newscast to end.
I tried to motivate
the technical team head
and tell him that we
need to have a setup here
because this is the only means
to communicate with the office.
They communicating to our
relatives that we're all alive.
(dramatic music)
They gathered some sort
of an industrial blower
to dry up the equipment.
We didn't have phone lines at time.
What we did was stepping on a signal.
We just waved at the camera in
the studio, hey, we're alive.
They put the portion on air.
- Crossed my fingers, I
know they were watching.
- Before the newscast ended
we were able to do a live report.
We were able to show the initial pictures
of the devastation.
The dead, the properties being washed out,
being washed away.
Those unimaginable things that
we saw on the road to Palo.
(muffled speaking)
The images we captured
during those six hours
we were cut off from the
world can now be seen by all.
The people are now aware
of what happened to us,
and what happened to Tacloban.
(engine roaring)
The first thing that we wanted to do
was to get the vital equipment there.
They were incommunicado
for the last six hours,
and that's unusual for today's technology
and communication-savvy world,
so, like somebody you can't contact
en masse for that period of time,
I think that's really a signal
of something's really wrong.
(soft tense music)
That morning we sent out two C-130s.
There was no airport to speak of.
This is not something that
we experienced before.
I think they need our help.
This is bad.
- The level of destruction was something
that I wasn't prepared for.
Had an idea but as we were coming in
on the C-130 we could look out the window
and actually see Tacloban
from an aerial view.
It was very humbling in a way.
(dramatic music)
- When our Marines got to Tacloban
we were able to get down there,
we were able to clear that
runway and open it up.
- Got it?
- Right, let's go.
- Let's go.
- So one C-130 with this
friendly general was left behind
and the other one took in
the first batch of evacuees,
meaning those who are really
needing medical attention.
Those were the children and the women.
We needed water, telecommunications
equipment, tents,
and we needed to set up a command network,
at least at that first few critical hours.
- I was able to carry a little girl
off of one of these flights
back to the evacuation center.
She's probably about four years old
and holding her in my
arms just made me think
about my own kids and
what I would be doing
if I was in this situation,
and it was a moment in which I
was very proud to be a Marine
and very proud to be an American.
- Security personnels were brought in.
The army and the National Police
were the priorities in the flight.
Most of the security personell
were those who are providing
the services in the area,
either they're dead or
they're looking for their dead
or they got swept away.
The difference with going to
battle and restoring order
is that when you go to battle,
you have a specific objective.
Now here, the objective
here is just to assure
our brothers and sisters
down south that hey,
help is coming, don't
panic, so they're us.
They're basically us
so we don't have to
really intimidate them,
rather than assure them.
- And after doing that live report
people started to approach
me giving me pieces of paper
with phone numbers on
it, with names on it,
for me to contact these persons
to tell their families
that they are all alive.
That night we went back to Tacloban
for our colleagues, the satellite team,
so I told them we'll come back for you.
We'll look for food and water for you.
By Saturday we were still there,
filming all the devastation and deaths.
- When they learned that the evacuees
will be coming in here at Villamor,
you see, from kids bringing
in some relief bags
that they got from their allowance,
to organized corporate people chipping in,
passing their hats to chip in something.
- It's very surprising
to see all this help
from the other countries
sending food, money,
even military personnel in
whatever capacity they can
just to help the Philippines.
I'm sure a lot of people in Tacloban,
most of them, even myself,
I'm overwhelmed by the help
that we've been getting
from a lot of people internationally,
and it goes to show that a lot of people
from all over the world
love the Philippines,
love the Philippines.
- Well, it's called the
bayanihan spirit, bayanihan.
It means that we help out each other.
You see, the bayanihan spirit,
as we have seen by the odd corps support
from just about anywhere,
foreign and domestic,
makes you think that
bayanihan is universal.
- You feel so helpless when, you know,
a lot of our roots are at home
and a lot of bad stuff is going on
but then also we're able
to rally 'round each other
to start raising funds and
start sending stuff home
to help people out.
- There's this contagious
humor of the Filipinos
that despite all this happening,
they can still crack jokes,
they can still laugh,
they can still smile as
long as they're together
or at least their families
are together they're happy.
- The Filipino people were amazing to us.
They treated us really well.
Everywhere we went we'd be walking
through their neighborhoods
and people that were getting assistance
and were getting rice were
actually offering that up to us,
asking us to come into their house.
Everybody we passed on the street
was thanking us for their
time, was very gracious,
waving and just smiles all
around and it's something that,
you know, you don't expect that
as you're coming into a disaster area.
You don't see that kinda response,
you don't see people that are really happy
and just generally in their worst moments
are also in what I would consider
some of the best moments
I've seen people in.
Very friendly, very humble
and just very thankful for our response.
- When I came down to Tacloban
on one of the flights into the area
we had displaced people and
evacuees coming up to us
and thanking us and it's one
of the most proud moments
of my life is to be able
to help out our friends.
- I have been exposed to a lot
of typhoon coverages in the Philippines
but Yolanda was really
a lot more different
considering the devastation,
the death that it has brought
to Tacloba and nearby provinces
and the numbers affected
by Yolanda itself was
indeed extraordinary.
The next time I would be assigned to cover
disasters like this I will
really take a step higher
in terms of preparation and being careful.
It's just too much for us human beings.
It's just too much.
- I am not only a victim, I am a survivor.
But I refuse to be helpless,
I refuse to be a victim.
I say I am a victor.
Let us not be made of victims.
Let us become victors.
- I do believe that they can rebuild.
They can rebuild, definitely.
They would rise but it
would take some time,
but definitely they would do it.
It's just a test for them to be stronger,
to be able to go beyond this disaster.