It was one of those cities that suffered most from Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). While fortunately not suffering as many casualties as Tacloban and other municipalities on the eastern side of Leyte, Ormoc was nevertheless devastated. Practically all its structures were either damaged or totally destroyed. More than a year later we would visit an old friend from college who had retired to his home city. We were very interested to see how Ormoc was faring more than a year after the disaster. While the effects of Yolanda could still be observed – there were still a few structures left in a state of disrepair – everywhere else it seemed the city was booming. Our friend remarked that after Yolanda several investors started flocking to town. New structures sprouted up including the hotel where we stayed. Businesses seemed to be mushrooming everywhere.
We came to Ormoc with the intention of touring Cuatro Islas in nearby Inopacan town as well as Kalanggaman Island in Palompon. Ormoc, however, has its own tourism destination in the form of Lake Danao, located in the uplands not too far from the city proper. We would troop to this lake the day after our arrival in the city.
Each day, after returning from our island-hopping and lake-bumming trips we would hang out at one of the many restaurants in Ormoc, several of them located close to the bay walk. We’ve heard that Ormoc has one of the most beautiful sunsets this side of the Visayas. Soon we were heading down into the tidal flats beside the mouth of the Anilao River close to Ormoc’s port and ferry terminal, hoping to take pictures of the area bathed in sunset colors.
We’ve learned by now to wait a few minutes after the sun goes down while others would pack up their cameras and head home. The colors are actually more saturated and beautiful by this time – a kind of afterglow. The resulting scene was amazing but our friend told us that he had witnessed many more spectacular sunsets when the perfect amount, shape and altitude of clouds produced a cacophony of colors, especially right after a thunderstorm.
It was dark by the time we finished shooting and it was a minor struggle to get back to the road, having to climb up an embankment that flanked the Anilao River in almost complete darkness. (Why do we always seem to forget to bring flashlights at times like this?) Several minutes later we would be back in the company of friends, enjoying dinner while the rest of the city prepared to go to sleep.