Here it goes. Early yesterday morning, I had an idea pop in my head about producing a short documentary in Tacloban City for the third anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan. I looked at my calendar and saw a perfect time: my final school break and Christmas holidays.
A little inspiration from a video I saw a long time ago (Cheers to Casey and Oscar!):
It started as a simple "want" but as I did more research, I became personally attached to the project. I looked up online and found little information on how the people of Tacloban are recovering after 3 years. The few articles I found were about how some residents were still living in temporary homes or about the geographical dangers of Tacloban's coastline. Many coastal villages were abandoned because it has been deemed to threatened by the water levels.
The first principle I set for myself is that the project will only be a go if I can get a reliable local contact. My belief is that having one will allow me to get things done faster and capture things I may miss if I were to go solo.
I sent out a tweet on Monday (or maybe it was Sunday night) to ask if anyone knows anyone local in Tacloban. No replies.
I looked up online for a driver that could help me out. No luck.
Then I remember a schoolmate of mine always travelled to the Philipines. Not expecting much, I dropped her a message and luck was knocking on my door (FINALLY!). Her uncle happens to be the vice-mayor of the city and her mum is active in the rebuilding efforts on the ground.
I spoke to her to get some insights on the situation at ground zero. It started to hit me that the destruction was widespread (no areas were spared) and people are still struggling to recover. She shared that some of her family members reside in Tacloban and were directly affected by Typhoon Haiyan (which is known as Yolanda to the locals).
The objective is not to create a blockbuster film or a viral video. Instead, it is to capture the stories of the people and share it with the world. Even a single view of the video would make it worth it.
This project has become personal. Maybe it's good, maybe bad. I'll never know until I'm done.
I'll update more along the way. I'm still 3 months out and I'm more focused on the basic logistics but if the stars align, maybe I can try to do more for the people.