There was a sudden gloom when our plane landed in Tacloban. From the sunny Manila, we were greeted by a lonely downpour in Leyte. The first thought that went through my head was the storm surge that happened four years ago and the lives lost because of that tragic event. It was a heavy feeling and all I can do was to offer a prayer for the lives that were lost, and for those whose lives will never be the same.

The next day, the Rainbow Warrior arrived in Tacloban. Somehow the darkness that welcomed me was replaced with the light and hope brought by the ship. From a feeling of despair, my mood suddenly became lighter. Was it the ship? Was it the feeling of excitement over the activities that we will do in the next few days? I’m not really sure, but watching the the vibrant folk-dance performance of the Leyte Kalipayan Dance Company that warmly welcomed the Rainbow Warrior in that bright sunny day surely helped.

Leyte Kalipayan Dance Company performs dances and exhibition on stilts as Greenpeace flaship Rainbow Warrior docks in the port of Tacloban City, Eastern Visayas, Philippines. The Rainbow Warrior is in the Philippines as part of the Climate Justice ship tour.

I was happy to see that the arrival of the Rainbow Warrior caught the attention of the Warays. I know that they are far more aware of the effects of climate change because they experienced it first hand. But we were not in Tacloban to harp the effects of climate change, the Rainbow Warrior carried with it the message of climate justice. We were there to highlight the Waray’s journey to climate justice, and put that narrative in the spotlight. I felt that we owe it to the people who continue to live each day knowing what they lost can be never be brought back and the people who perished. They deserve justice.

Media tour in the Rainbow Warrior following the press conference on the arrival of the Rainbow Warrior in Tacloban.

Through the open boat, the ship served its purpose to become a platform for the exchange of stories on climate justice. But the highlight of the ship tour was the event called LIVErary. 

The LIVErary is composed mainly of human books who share stories of loss, resilience and how they are reclaiming their lives after experiencing the devastating effects of climate change. It was a venue to witness how stories of survivors can become a powerful tool to get people to take action and spark change. I was in awe of the human books, how they turned their loss in a form of art and powerful stories. I’m hopeful that these stories will take the climate justice narrative from the spiral of silence and into a wave of actions towards accountability by those who are most responsible.

George Nacewa of the Pacific Climate Warriors in Fiji shares his story as one of the books in the human LIVErary in Tacloban.

I felt empowered listening to their stories and I can’t just turn back after witnessing how climate change can ruin so many lives. If I don’t do something, there won’t be any future for us. I owe it to my family and to my future children. I owe it to the innocent people who should have been alive if not for the disaster that took them. I hope they find their way back home. Just like the post-Yolanda stories told by Mark Simbajon, of lost souls trying to get their way back home. This can only be achieved if they get the justice they deserve.

I feel honored to carry their stories and share it to those who have not heard it. I can’t speak for their pain, but I share the same in demanding for climate justice. I yearn it just like they do. And I hope you find it in you to demand for it, too.

This leg came after the Rainbow Warrior docked in Manila to serve as a platform to discuss diet for climate and issue on food security in relation to climate change, and also as a venue to reveal the extent of the effects of climate change in the oceans. The ship was then deployed to a protest action in the oil refinery of Shell in Batangas demanding the major oil company to attend the Commission on Human Rights public inquiries on human rights violations resulting from the impacts of climate change. Then, it sailed to Guimaras to witness the province declaring itself to be 100 percent coal-free. The last leg of the Balangaw Climate Justice ship tour is in Tacloban.

I left Tacloban City with a new sense of inspiration for the work I do in Greenpeace. I know I won’t see Tacloban the same way I saw it when I first arrived. Tacloban is a place where warriors live. Thank you, Tacloban, for letting me see and experience first hand, why we must relentlessly demand climate justice.


Katrina Eusebio is Communications and Digital Support Officer at Greenpeace Southeast Asia based in Manila, Philippines.