Chicago couple returns from Philippines after surviving typhoon - New York News

Chicago couple returns from Philippines after surviving typhoon

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Ray and Leila at O`Hare. (Photo by Craig Wall.) Ray and Leila at O`Hare. (Photo by Craig Wall.)
Ray and Leila Villar in the Philippines (Photo courtesy of the Villars) Ray and Leila Villar in the Philippines (Photo courtesy of the Villars)
Ray and Leila's granddaughters welcoming them home at O`Hare. (Photo by Craig Wall) Ray and Leila's granddaughters welcoming them home at O`Hare. (Photo by Craig Wall)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A Chicago couple who survived the devastating typhoon in the Philippines is back home Monday night, talking about their experience and already making plans to go back.

FOX 32 was at O'Hare when they were reunited with their loved ones, including two great grandchildren who they had never met until today.

It was a joyous homecoming for the Villar family.

There were a lot of smiles, and even a few cries from the nervous great granddaughters who were born after Ray and Leila Villar left Chicago a year ago for their snowbird trip to their home village in the Philippines.

Now, exactly a year after Ray and Leila left Chicago returned to Chicago to reflect on what they saw and survived.

Their annual getaway, their entire world, was rocked by Typhoon Hiayan. The eye passed right over their village and lashed it with 150 mile per hour winds and rain for three straight hours.

"The house was swinging like that, and so we said Lord if this is the end of the world, then of us, please take it, hurry up," Leila Villar said.

They survived inside their home, calling it a miracle.

"During the typhoon, all the houses were flattened to the ground, except ours," Ray Villar said.

For this couple the homecoming was made special by a chance to meet and hold two great granddaughters, born while they were gone.

The Villars would have come home sooner, but they stayed to help their village of Panay rebuild.

Supplies donated by Chicagoans have not yet made it there, due to logistical issues including washed out roads. But Ray remains confident it will get there soon.

"If the relief effort is coming from the private sector, it gets there faster, but from the government, it's difficult," Ray Villar said.

He described how roofing materials are in short supply and children still go to schools with no protection from the rain.

"This is the monsoon season there, it's been raining for the last three weeks," he said.

The Villars returned now because they wanted to be home in time to celebrate their 49th anniversary with family, which is coming up on January 25th.

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