Bautista: Remembering July 16, 1990 (first of two)-A A +A
All In Good Time
Friday, October 18, 2013
MONDAYS were always the worst for every college student. Many would come back from the provinces, others get "hangover" from the weekend past. As I headed for school I noticed some "knock" in the engine of my Lancer boxtype.
I knew my car very well, I did some racing (legally) with it, so I would know if something was wrong with it. I was in the company of my best friend Jhets as he had no class all because SLU was on strike. We decide to leave the car with my trusted mechanic in New Lucban. Just nearby from where I left the car is the place of another friend, Ed. We weren't able to catch him as he was probably organizing another protest in SLU that day.
While walking towards SLU we bumped into him and blamed him for my cutting class all because most of my friends are in SLU.
Sure enough he was planning for another rally against increase in tuition fees. We left Ed and took a jeepney that led us down Session Road from Bonifacio street. We wanted to waste time by watching any movie in Session Theatre...we left as the movie was so lousy, 30 pesos wasted. We jump inside a jeepney headed upwards Pines Hotel, but somewhere near Mario's, we were flagged by a policeman, I think it was our fault because it must not have been a loading area.
We sneaked out the jeepney and walked towards Cafe Amapola to check if some friends were starting early, it was probably 2:30 by then. Since we didn't see anyone we knew we just decided to walk back all the way to where we left the car.
With no way of knowing, the car needed a few parts and it was not ready. I asked which part I had to get and ran to the nearest shop...upon the crossing of Magsaysay towards La Trinidad while running, I get tripped by a kid, I looked back at him and wanted to scold him and saw fear in his eyes, but as I looked around me I was surprised to see clouds of dust all around and many others also collecting themselves and many heading towards me in this crossing.
I glanced over at UB in the horizon and see it leaning, just nearby a naked couple was crawling out of Royal Inn.
People were shouting, the elderly and the young crying. I got on my knees but then after a few seconds, another one hits even stronger this time. I didn’t notice the first as I was running but the second one was so strong that I lost my balance even while standing still.
I tell you, I felt my knees wobbly and not wanting to move, it was strange, something I never experienced (as an athlete, I never experienced cramps or knees giving). All around me, there was pandemonium, it was crazy! I thought the world was ending that time. Upon glancing UB once more it was tilted the other way from when it first leaned. I could even see some jumping, it was horrible!
Every Juan was in the street, cars and jeepneys heading in all directions, nowhere to go and nowhere to pass. I saw one heading back to New Lucban and just grabbed on to dear life. I couldn't feel my legs and feet they wouldn't react to what my mind wanted for it to do.
I jump off the jeepney as it hurriedly sped towards Rimando road. I went to where my car was. I find Jhets and the mechanic inside, afraid. Then out of nowhere something terrible happens, a freak storm of some sort suddenly worsening the already bad situation we were all in.
The rain was so strong and heavy. I join them in the car as it was the safest to be, I turn on the radio and find some faint sounds, a Manila channel and some story about the Ruby Towers. I didn't know what it was but I thought Manila was also in trouble.
Despite having engine trouble I hurriedly left for Hyatt Terraces as another close friend Bing was working there. In the corner of Gen. Luna I see two buildings down, then before turning towards South Drive I see Nevada Hotel also down. Then as we reach Hyatt, suddenly we were once more weak in the knees. After some searching and inquiring, I did find my friend. Off to her place we went, in Montepino in Pacdal, we decide to check on her Grandmother who was the GM. I decided that we all go to my place in Tuding in Itogon as I knew it would be the safest to be at that time.
Montepino I knew was standing but there were large cracks in some portions of the building. Upon reaching our home, I immediately shout out for my Grandmother who always stays home and looks after us. With her was one of our student assistants. They were safe as I knew they would be.
Our house was made of wood, sturdy and strong. The aquarium was on the floor, a lot of broken ceramic, chairs and tables in disarray. It is now getting dark, (luckily July has the longest days) I made the decision that we set camp in our lawn above the stars, we take comfort amongst neighbors all together in one place, only for the moment. We all tried to sleep it thru the night. I would not even recall what we shared that evening for dinner.
From our slumber, we were suddenly awakened by a powerful aftershock; it was early in the morning about4:00. I now realize that all that happened was not a dream...a nightmare... (To be continued)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 19, 2013.