TACLOBAN CITY—Children who experienced distress and trauma when powerful Typhoon “Yolanda” (international name “Haiyan”) hit the Eastern Visayas in November 2013, making them lose their homes or family members, are expected to go through some healing process before long.
World Vision Philippines, an Evangelical Christian humanitarian aid, development and advocacy organization, and the local government of Tacloban have opened a newly built modern park and playground where they could play, run and enjoy their childhood years.
The park, at the Tacloban Astrodome grounds in the center of this capital city, was opened on Nov 8, which coincided with the third anniversary of the devastation attended by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was led by Mayor Cristina G. Romualdez and Vice Mayor Sambo Yaokasin on the LGU side and World Vision Philippines National Director Rommel Fuerte and WVP Typhoon “Haiyan” Response Director Ajab Aram Macapagat.
Romualdez, in her turnover ceremony speech, lauded World Vision for coming up with such a meaningful project that would nurture the bonds among children, families and their communities.
“It is our commitment in the City Government to maintain this park and playground intended to create a safer space for children to live, play and learn,” she said.
The modern facility caters not only to “Yolanda”-stricken children but includes those born after the 2013 disaster, Romualdez added.
It’s a park and playground in a 6,000 sq. property of LGU Tacloban with modern abstract colorful structures.
The children can experience synesthesia where they can feel, touch, see, listen and experience in sensory and cognitive way, officials said.
The playground has nature’s way of exposing the kids to touch pebbles, beach sand, water, living things, chase butterflies, rabbits, feel the fresh air of the cruel Cancabato Bay, where flowering plants will bloom, and trees will bare Philippine fruits.
An eco-friendly children’s playground lighted by 100 LED lamp—today’s most sustainable lamps—powered by solar panels strategically located to create an ambiance and cohesive look, with garden sprinklers and non-mechanical facilities to withstand typhoons and wear and tear.
The facilities have blue Echo Tunnel Culverts (hear sounds), an Arch Shed, a sturdy Aerodynamic Shed to withstand windstorms, a green Spiral Climbing Mesh (a memorial- inspired creation in an organic shape, an aid for a child’s developmental motor and cognitive skills,) with benches made sculptural.
“Now, every kid may play at this park, touching pebbles, building with sand, running, scooting, climbing, hearing sounds, playing with water, smelling flowers, chasing butterflies, seeing different gradient colors and soon enough tasting the fruits of the growing Philippine trees surrounding the park” said World Vision Design consultant Grace Nadal Casal in an interview.
“This is equality, reintroduction of culture and total nurturing for all children of Tacloban. When fruit-bearing trees are fully grown and flowers are in full bloom, we can then fully experience its sincerest intentions,” Casal said.
Mindful of what Yolanda did to the City, the total destruction of its environment were replaced with planting the playground with 331 varieties of flowering and ornamental plants.
These include bougainvillea, yellow pine, red plant, kamuning, golden lily, purple kumintang, campanula, orange santan, pink rose, Eugenia plant, pandakaki, sampaguita, bamboo, horsetail, alocacia, deco greens and blue mayo.
There are also some 153 fruit-bearing and canopy trees like macopa, mango, mangosteen, lanzones, rambutan, talisay, fire tree, fragrance of Ylang-ylang and willow trees for children survivors and their kin.
The park has wire trees around to guide growing bougainvillas to sprout like a bouquet of flowers.
Planning the Tacloban Astrodome Playground and building it have been made possible through World Vision in partnership with the City Government of Tacloban whose goal is the resilience of communities, families and children affected by Typhoon Yolanda.
According to World Vision Typhoon Haiyan Response City Engagement Officer Luz Mendoza, the playground will provide children, safer spaces to play and learn… where they can really be children interacting with other children, thereby strengthening connections and bonds.
The Park provides physical resilience and promotes economic resilience strengthened in park shops, peddlers, vendors which mostly thrive in parks.