Shortly after Super Typhoon Yolanda made landfall at Guiuan, Eastern Samar, at 4:40 a.m. on Friday, November 8, some netizens wondered why there were very few reports from the field.
As it turned out, Yolanda's winds were so strong they toppled down virtually all communication lines in Eastern Visayas, cutting off the residents of the region – including reporters assigned there – from the rest of the world.
The reporters' bosses and colleagues started to worry.
At Solar News, it was reporter David Santos and cameramen Alvin Villafranca and Harold Paras who were out of touch for almost three days.
Santos and his crew made their first stop in Borongan, where the typhoon was first expected to make landfall. But when they got word that Yolanda was headed instead for Guiuan, they decided to make the trip, 109 km south of Borongan to the coastal town with a population of just over 47,000.
That was on Thursday, November 7.
In fact, he chronicled the crew's progress via Twitter.
In his 11:03 p.m. tweet, he said: "Entering Guiuan town in E. #Samar. Intermittent rain, light to moderate now. Windy, some tree branches scattered on the road. #YolandaPH"
Then at 11:15 p.m., he tweeted again: "Touchdown: Guiuan, E. #Samar #YolandaPH"
About an hour later, 12:19 a.m. of November 8, he reported: "Really heavy rains now in #Guiuan in E. #samar Sought shelter in one of the inns. Praying all shall be well."
Then later at 12:40 a.m.: "Typhoon #YolandaPH dumping intense rain, strong wind in #Guiuan. Rain slows down after a few minutes."
And that was the last he tweeted – at least until Monday, November 11, when at around 12:06 a.m., he tweeted again: "Back in Manila. Guys, thanks for the show of concern. Didnt mean to cause worry. Pasensya na po. Tulong po tayo. Special tnx to @AirAsiaPH"
A few hours later, David Santos, looking a bit sleep-deprived, related what he and his crew went through in those days they were out of touch with everyone else but the residents of Guiuan.
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Pia Hontiveros, Chief Correspondent and anchor of Solar Network News and News.Ph, presents the Solar News and Current Affairs year-ender special: On the Cusp of Change. A deafening silence, not out of a loss for words but a grief that cannot be spoken, for thousands lost to a super typhoon ... A muted pain from a powerful tremor that violently shook the heart of the nation ... An unspeakable anger over pork barrel that fueled a political maelstrom ... These and other stories from the extraordinary challenging year that was.