Typhoon Haiyan: "Disaster Baby" is Now Family's Sunshine

After six months, CARE caught up with Lourdes, the mother who gave birth inside Our Mother of Perpetual Parish church in Tacloban during the height of super typhoon Haiyan. She named her baby after the typhoon’s local term, “Yolanda”. 


The local priest later suggested to rename her baby Mary Alphons, after the Redemptorist church’s founder, St. Alphonsus Ligouri, a statue of whom stands on the church grounds.

Lourdes was only too willing to comply. 

“I hated the name “Yolanda”, anyway. Yolanda devastated Tacloban. And maybe it’s only fitting that my baby be named after a saint since she’s somewhat a miracle baby. Imagine during Haiyan, I was turned down by two hospitals! Our neighborhood doctor turned me away as well. We just lost our home. The only place opened for me to give birth in was the “house of God”, our church.” 

After staying for several days in the church that served as evacuation center for hundreds of Haiyan survivors, Lourdes, her husband, two other kids and baby Mary went town-hopping for nearly two months across Leyte, staying in different relatives’ houses. 

All this time, baby Mary was proving to be an angel to her mother, and family who are still struggling to survive after the disaster. 

“She is healthy! She is also a good baby, not crying much unless she’s really hungry. She does not give me headaches”, says Lourdes.

Carrying nothing much but hope, Lourdes and her family decided to return to Tacloban. And somehow, little by little, month after month, they are recovering. 

Her husband was able to resume his work as truck delivery driver plying Leyte to Manila. His earnings of almost Php 5,000 (or roughly USD 113) takes care of their necessities like food. 

They have started to rebuild their house as well in the same village that was once badly devastated by Haiyan.

The worst is over. And Lourdes considers baby Mary as their “lucky charm”. 

“Our baby is really a blessing to us”, she says.  

On November 8, baby Mary Alphons would be six months old. Lourdes wishes that they will be able to have her baptized in the same church where she was born, before she turns a year old. 

“We’ll just wait to save money for her baptism, because of course we prioritized the rebuilding of our small house”, shares mom Lourdes. 

From a “disaster baby” to a cherished child named after a saint, Mary Alphons is her family’s sunshine after the storm.


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