PALO, Leyte- The 67 school children from the village of San Joaquin who died during the onslaught of supertyphoon Yolanda were honored through the construction of a “garden of remembrance.” The garden of remembrance, located inside the San Joaquin Central School, this town, was formally inaugurated on October 10. The construction of said garden was initiated by pastor Victor Sang Yong Choi, a missionary who belong to the Truly Good Friends, a non-government organization based in Seoul, South Korea. Aside from the 67 school children, a teacher, Arleen Lacandazo of the same school, was also killed due to the storm surges generated by Yolanda. Tacloban City Vice Mayor Jerry “Sambo” Yaokasin, who attended the occasion, said that the garden of remembrance is for everyone to remember their loved ones who died during the typhoon. “I believe that through prayers, we can move on and continue living as we look to them in this garden,” Yaokasin added. According to Choi, the garden will serve as a comfort for the public to ease their agony. “I want to share not only food but also god of comfort and mercy for wounded heart,” Choi said during the simple ceremony attended by the school’s teachers, students and parents of those who died.
During the occasion, flowers and prayers were offered by those who lost their loved ones. Meanwhile, Pedro Lacandazo, a father who lost a total of 22 members of his family, expressed his heart-breaking testimony on how he struggle during the onslaught of the super typhoon. “Somehow this garden will help to give me strength and hope to continue living,” he said in his testimonial. He added that the stones placed in the garden will serve as a reminder that Yolanda caused for the deaths of his loved ones.  Choi hopes that the garden of remembrance will help ease the pains for those who lost their loved ones. (KATHRYN A. ORBIGOZO, LNU Intern)