The three young women were greeted with flowers, balloons, and tearful hugs from friends and family who, just a day ago, were not sure if Super Typhoon Haiyan had claimed the trio's lives.
Ms Eileen Heng, Ms Alyssa Chee and Ms Vanessa Chong - all 23-year-old final-year nutrition and dietetics students at Flinders University, Australia - had flown to Tacloban on Oct 20 for a month-long school placement project. They were working with a local non-profit agency, Volunteer for the Visayans, tailoring projects to combat hunger and improve food security in the area, when the deadly storm hit the city.
They finally returned to Singapore on Tuesday evening after a harrowing three days in the disaster-stricken Filipino city, and were warmly welcomed by an emotional and relieved group of some 50 relatives and friends.
"We are just thankful to the many people who helped us and are glad to be back," said Ms Chee. "But there are still many people in Tacloban who really need all the help that they can get. Three of us were really blessed because we came out with just some scratches, but many people have died, they have drowned, they've lost their families, they've lost everything."