7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Diary: The Scariest Minutes of Every Boholano’s Life

Living in Bohol was the safest part of my life. When other parts of the Philippines are experiencing heavy floods, typhoons, landslides and others, our little province is experiencing a sunny weather. I’ve always told myself that I am fortunate to be a Boholano.

But this feeling of security and safety has passed.

October 15, 2013, Tuesday

Thank God, it was a holiday due to a Muslim celebration. There were no classes and no office work. So, things were just normal. My husband went to Dauis to check on his chicken farm. My kids were cuddling with their uncle. I was making sample test papers for my kids who are going to have their second quarter exams the following day. At the same time, I was planning to get some groceries.

But my plan didn’t push through. Around 8 am, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake has hit our province. With a sunny morning, who would have thought the ground would shake. It was very unexpected!

I was seated in our living room. After learning that our house was shaking, I shouted to inform my elder brother and my kids “linog, nong linog!” (Earthquake, nong, it’s earthquake).

My eldest 9 year old son went out first. I followed him, my right hand holding the rails, while my left arm holding my 4 year old son. Held my four year old tightly, making sure I won’t make him fall. At my back is my 6 year old son together with my house help. It was never easy as we are going outside the door and the stairs, the whole house was shaking. The stairs were like sea waves.

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The stairs, where me and my kids had to come down from. Glad it didn’t collapse!

As we reached the garage, my 9 year old managed to hold on to our palm tree together with my sister-in-law and her two kids. With my left arm, I still had my son and immediately grabbed my 6 year old with my right hand to give him comfort. While we were coming down, our neighbors too are shouting and hurriedly coming out of their houses. Going the stairs I wasn’t crying. The only thing I had in mind, is that we need to come down and find a safe place. But when we were finally away from the stairs, I went crying and crying. I had to burst out my fears. I couldn’t understand what was happening. It was the worst minutes of my life, and every Boholano’s life as well!

When we stayed outside of our gates, my sister-in-law confronted me to stop crying so the kids won’t cry. I stopped. But deep inside me, I fear for what’s going to happen next.

My sister started praying the rosary and included her husband in her prayers (as he was away from home). When my sons heard her petitions, they cried too. They got worried where there Papa is. I had to comfort them and reassure them that I have made contact with my in-laws to let my husband come home. Glad, the kids calmed down when hubby arrived a few minutes after.

Not knowing what comes next, we all decided not to go back to the house. We stayed, ate and gathered in the garage. When the ground starts to shake again, we hurriedly ran and stayed away from anything that might hurt us in any way.

At night, most people slept in their yards or in their lawns. My siblings and their families decided to sleep in the garage. On the other hand, we went back to the house and slept in the living room. Tried my best to comfort my kids and reassure them again and again that nothing bad is going to happen.

I felt so sad that it took awhile for my kids to get to sleep. My youngest told me, “hadluk ko ma, kay magkurog kurog ang balay” (Ma, I’m scared because the house was shaking). My other son, woke up several times, thinking the quake struck again. My husband and I wanted them to forget their fears, so we comforted them and made sure that they are safe more than anything else. That meant, we never really had enough sleep. There have been hundred of aftershocks. Every time the windows vibrate, we immediately wake up. It felt like aftershocks are never going to end.

In the morning (October 16, 2013), there were still a lot of aftershocks.  Some were strong, some were not. Hubby and I went out to by some medicines. It was the only store open during the day. Looking at everyone’s faces, you can see everyone wearing a frown or a worried face. Everyone’s hurriedly grabbing groceries while some lined up to buy cellphone load. On the other hand, I lined up to purchase some medicines. Everyone’s at a hurry. I was a bit scared. Looking at the ceiling, what if it falls down or what if there’s going to be a stampede. So, I went out and asked my husband to do it for me – as he is braver than I am. I waited outside and was perspiring a lot, waiting and wondering what happens inside. Hubby on the other hand was also planning on where he’s going to hide if the ceiling breaks down. Fortunately, he was able to buy the medicines.

The next day (October 17, 2013), we were no longer that fearful. But unexpectedly, a 5.5 magnitude aftershock struck our province. It was the strongest aftershock ever! The house was shaking again. For a few seconds, we observed, if it’s going to stop but it didn’t stop that instantly. So, we went down again to the garage. My kids who were taking a bath when the aftershock occurred had to come down without any clothes on. They were all wet. The two went down immediately while I carried my youngest in my left arm again.

These may sound terrifying and pitiful already. But I know that me and my family are fortunate enough to be residing in the city. Thousands of our fellow Boholanos’ especially those from the hometowns have experienced way more than what we have gone through in the city. They need help more than we do – according to reports, the 7.2 magnitude that struck our province was equivalent to 32 Hiroshima bombs.

Hope you can spread the word and spare a little donation for my fellow Boholanos who need water and food. I have done my part yesterday. I hope you will do too after reading this blog post.  Here’s some links:

https://www.facebook.com/BangonBoholBangon

http://www.inewmedia.org/inewmedia-suppports-tabangcebu-tabangbohol-campaign/1762/

https://www.facebook.com/dboholanos/posts/434600459979369

Now for the aftermath of the “killer earthquake”, here are some pictures:

Our neighbor's fence
Our neighbor’s fence
Our neighbor's firewall
Our neighbor’s firewall
Holy Name University
Holy Name University
Holy Name University
Holy Name University
Island City Mall, our city's biggest mall
Island City Mall, our city’s biggest mall
Tagbilaran City Hall
Tagbilaran City Hall

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Gates of the Seminary

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Cortes

A month ago, hubby and I went to Our Lady of Light Parish in Loon, as a way of celebrating Mama Mary’s birthday last September 8, 2013. Here’s some of the beautiful photos:

At the Abatan Bridge
At the Abatan Bridge
Hubby's busy munching his hopia. Notice the crack?
Hubby’s busy munching his hopia. Notice the crack?

Here’s how the bridge looks like now:

Image: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2013/10/16/1381928252268/Abatan-bridge-in-Cortez-t-022.jpg
Image: Talesfromthelou’s Blog

The Our Lady of Light Parish looks beautiful:

Our Lady of Light Parish, Loon, Bohol
Our Lady of Light Parish, Loon, Bohol
She is our light when all we see is darkness
She is our light when all we see is darkness

Here’s how it looks after the earthquake:

Image: Darlene Bustrillos
Image: Darlene Bustrillos

A few months ago we visited the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Baclayon, one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. Our memories of our dear Baclayon church:

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Me and my kids
Notice the face at the walls of the church?
Notice the face at the walls of the church?

We also went to the famous Chocolate Hills and here’s a photo we took at the viewing deck:

At the Chocolate Hills
At the Chocolate Hills

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But these beautiful hills look sad now…

Chocolate Hills' viewing deck
Chocolate Hills’ viewing deck                      (Image: http://www.gmanetwork.com)
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Image: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com

Unfortunately, the quake has destroyed this beautiful church. If you take a closer look at the image below, you’ll notice that Mama Mary’s statue is standing strong. A miraculous image indeed!

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April 30th 2007, hubby and  I got married at the Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Dauis. Sadly, the Church was damaged as well.

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These are just a few photos of the damages within our province. There’s a lot more. It’s so sad that the place I’ve always considered a safe haven has been crushed into bits and pieces.

As of this time, we are still experiencing aftershocks. It seems endless. We all want the aftershocks to end, so we can get rid of our worries; so those bodies that still need to be dug up won’t be covered with more soil (at present, certain areas in the province are still having landslides); so there’ll be no additional damages; so no more tears will be shed; so each one of us can get on with our lives (like we normally do).

Please don’t forget to click on the links above for your donations. Lastly, please pray for us Boholanos!

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