A lot of Filipinos have Typhoon Haiyan stories — recollections of the storm (known locally as Yolanda) that swept through the country in 2013, killing more than 6,000 people and devastating entire towns. The Silonay story is less dramatic than it could have been.“We didn’t evacuate,” Bool said. “The whole community stayed [in Silonay] because we thought that our mangroves will protect us.” And they were right — although the town flooded during smaller typhoons, the mangroves kept Haiyan’s waves at bay.Bool credits hearing about the devastating impact of Haiyan on the town of Tacloban (located on another island) as a wake-up call alerting everyone in her community about the true value of these coastal forests. “It became an eye-opener here, and when they learned how Typhoon Yolanda destroyed Tacloban, and how one island in Samar was spared because of the mangroves.”But their benefits go beyond storm protection — there are everyday victories, too.“It’s where the fish lay their eggs, and that’s why the supply of the fish in our seas is continuous,” said Morel Bool, a Silonay fisherman and Alma’s cousin. “Before there were mangroves here, fishing was quite difficult, and it got to a point that our catch was so limited that we had to venture farther.” Thanks to a growing fish population, dolphins have even begun returning to the area after years of absence.