I live on a crowded, subtropical island nation in the Western Pacific, on the opposite side of the "Pacific Pond" from North America. And just south of Taiwan is the many-splendored island nation of the Philippines. We are neighbours. You can fly there in one hour, it's that close.
People covered their bodies with mud to protest against government ineptitude and abandonment; others lighted paper lanterns and candles and released white doves and balloons to remember the dead, offer thanks and pray for more strength to move on; while many trooped to a vast grave site with white crosses to lay flowers for those who died, and to cry one more time.
Last Sunday, I bought a bouquet of 45 small fresh yellow chrysanthemums. They cost me three dollars – not cheap for these parts. They were in a bucket in front of a tiny shop crammed with workers and customers in the heart of Tacloban City.