A Super Typhoon Rai Art Exhibition in Cebu: Importante Buhi

The devastating aftermath of Super Typhoon Rai inspired the Importante Buhi art exhibit.

Super Typhoon Rai, locally known as Typhoon Odette, was an absolute nightmare for Cebuano residents.

Locals from Lapu-Lapu City, the famous Resort City on Mactan Island, persevered amidst the lack of water and electricity, not to mention the destruction of several homes and properties.

Everyone has their own unfortunate experience of the typhoon aftermath, some even using it as inspiration to create captivating artwork.

A collection of these was put on display at an art exhibit called Importante Buhi at two prominent hangout spots in Mactan.

The art exhibit depicts the different struggles Cebuanos went through after the storm.

The display of artworks at Importante Buhi, which in English translates to “What’s important is we’re alive,” featured depictions of the hardships and struggles faced by Cebuanos after the onslaught of Super Typhoon Rai.

The first part of the exhibit took place from February 19 to 24 at Pueblo Verde, while the second part started on February 26 and is scheduled to end on March 6 at the Al Fresco in Mactan Newtown.

In partnership with the Mactan Artists Guild and the Isla Mactan of Contemporary Arts, the event also featured on-the-spot sketching and painting.

The exhibit’s main agenda is to represent the difficulties of being able to continue living a normal life after what had happened.

The artwork is said to be both a way for the artists to open up about their experiences and remind everyone that there is an end to all the tragedy.

Cebuano artists took from their experience and created captivating images.


The artwork shows that there were many unforeseen consequences after the storm.

Other than the extreme physical damage, it was incredibly difficult to get water and food. Malls and shops were closed after the storm hit.

It was only a few days later that regular civilians started helping out. Those who had running water offered it for free, while others who had generators offered to have people charge their phones and devices.

Even then, because there were so many people in need of help, it still wasn’t enough.

Lines were everywhere, and people were anxious to contact their loved ones to see if they were safe and sound.

Several images portray the carrying of gallons of water and people who lost their homes. One artwork even has nothing but a collection of materials made to look like sheets of metal typically used for a roof. Many of these were seen scattered on the streets after the storm as a result of the strong winds.

Also, the easels used in the exhibit were from the wood of fallen trees.

Easels made from broken trees were also used in the art exhibit.


Super Typhoon Rai hit the island of Cebu on the evening of December 16, 2021. It was arguably one of the most devastating natural disasters in the Philippines in recent memory, affecting areas like Cebu, Siargao, and Bohol.

In Cebu City, it destroyed many popular hangout spots like the Sugbo Mercado and the Fuente Osmeña Tree of Hope.

Lapu-Lapu City suffered the most damage among the cities in Cebu, costing around P1.97 billion in repair and restoration.

Cebu was also the most affected area in Central Visayas, with an average of P2.5 billion worth of damage.

Fortunately, most of the missing resources such as water and electricity were restored in a few week’s time, and establishments started operations again.

Witnessing these personal stories shows the massive impact the typhoon had on everyone. The struggles were insurmountable, and everyone had to persevere despite the lack of resources.

However, it was all temporary. The Importante Buhi exhibit is now an important reminder that struggles will eventually end.

The journey was tiresome, but Super Typhoon Rai was a test of everyone’s patience and camaraderie. Despite all the struggles we might be facing today, we must always persevere and help one another rise again.

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