Updated: July 05, 2019 04:27 AM GMT
Dancers perform in the streets of Tacloban in the central Philippines to mark the city's feast in honor of the Child Jesus on June 29. (Photo by Elmer Eclipse)
Every year since 2013, when Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the central Philippines killing thousands of people, Rhoel Ladera, 42, has looked forward to celebrations during this time of year.The businessman from Tacloban said annual celebrations honoring the Child Jesus helps people overcome the pain that was brought by the devastation."We continue to recover from a dark past," said Ladera. Six years after the typhoon, he said the residents of Leyte Island have become "a bunch of fun-loving and resilient people." A month-long socio-cultural and religious celebration pays homage to the Infant Jesus, popularly known in the Philippines as the Santo Nino.Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla of Leyte said the "fiesta" is a time for "giving thanks, of prayers, of helping each other, of friendship, and of unity."In the provincial capital of Tacloban, the "Sangyaw," literally meaning "to herald or proclaim," attracted more than 30,000 people during nightly festivities throughout the month."The people of Tacloban are fun loving. In spite of the hardship and tragedy, life goes on for many of us," said Jerry Yaokasin, the city's deputy mayor.A typhoon survivor himself, Yaokasin said the "fiesta" is also a time for school reunions. "[The people] come home this time of the year," he said.It has always been a grand celebration, said the city official.On June 29, the excitement ran high as residents readied colorful floats on which performers danced during the called parade of lights in the evening.