PALO, Leyte – A memorial garden is being constructed inside the compound of the San Joaquin Church, this town, in memory of the 337 people who died during the onslaught of supertyphoon Yolanda. The Bernard Schulte Ship Management donated the amount of P1 million for the construction of the memorial garden, said village chair Papos Lantajo. The main attraction of the memorial garden is a huge cross made of metal with a height of 7.1 meter with a width of 8.0 meter. The construction of the memorial garden was started last August.

San Joaquin is considered to be among the hard-hit village in Palo during the onslaught of Yolanda with 337 people dead and hundreds still missing. The grounds of the church of San Joaquin were used as a grave site. Among those buried at the grave site were the daughters of Myrna de Vera, 44, Mary Rose, 13 and Jovelyn, 5. de Veyra said that what made the deaths of her two young daughters more painful to her was she was in Manila on the day Yolanda battered her village of more than 3,000 people. She said that she was able to contact both her daughters through mobile phone and even heard them crying and shouting for help.
“Jovelyn was crying and she wanted me to go home; she was very afraid. During that time I already heard the sound of the strong winds,” the grieving mother said. “As a mother, it’s too painful to lose your daughters, “she added.

She arrived home last November 20 and went straight to the grave site. And a year after Yolanda battered their village, de Veyra is still grieving over the loss of her daughters. De Veyra said that she has to make strong for the sake of her three other children. (MYLA ANN M. JOMADIAO (LNU Intern)