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Visayas surfing capital Guiuan still reeling from Yolanda


Almost a month after super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) devastated many areas in central Philippines, the town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar is still reeling from its effects.

Among the industries severely affected by the typhoon in this coastal town facing the Pacific Ocean is its tourism, and officials are scrambling to regain the town's reputation as a popular tourist destination.

“Sobrang malaki talaga ang nawala sa amin,” said Aurora delos Reyes, municipal investment, environment and tourism officer, in a report on GMA News' “24 Oras” on Friday.

“Nasa taas na nga kami bigla kaming lumagpak. Ito (turismo) lang ang inaasahan namin,” she added.

With its location facing the Pacific Ocean, Guiuan is known for its big waves and thus popular among surfers.

The “24 Oras” said an international surfing competition scheduled in Guiuan next year may not push through as the resort where the event will be held was damaged by Yolanda.

Churches

A church popular among Catholic devotees was likewise not spared by Yolanda, which hit Eastern Visayas and several areas in Southern Philippines on November 8 and left close to 6,000 people dead as of Friday.

“Miraculous kasi ito sa mga gustong gumaling sa sakit, makapasa sa exam at gustong magkaanak,” said Fr. Joverto Picardal, parish priest of San Antonio de Padua Church.

Another church, the 400-year-old Immaculate Concepcion, was also damaged.

Guiuan's very own pearl island, a favorite among scuba divers, also didn't escape Yolanda's wrath.

Officials couldn't say when the rehabilitation of these damaged cultural sites and tourist destinations will be completed, and are asking the national government for help.

“Planong gagawin... tulong from national government to restore historical sites. Tulungan ulit tourism,” said Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone. — KBK, GMA News
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