Quake chronicles-A A +A
Sunday, October 27, 2013
PEOPLE were getting along with their lives just fine. Everything was normal. Yes, corruption, floods, explosion and such are normal because it’s more fun in the Philippines and Filipinos are invincible, resilient to hardcore phenomena.
One Tuesday morning, Oct. 15, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake wobbled the underground in a jiffy. Those who had a good Monday night (because Monday is the new Saturday) were probably sleeping like logs and snoring the acids in their stomachs away. Maybe corporate individuals were prepping up for their usual drills at work; some might still be in the shower, killing dandruff. Customer service reps were possibly battling thrash talks with racists over the phone in high-rise buildings. It was perhaps a typical day for vendors at the black market.
A wrecking ball episode followed seconds after the hit. Churches were in ruins.
Families were out, homeless, helpless. Destruction and death crept into the spines of those affected. Scary. Visayas fell into a state of perturbation. A chopsuey of emotions. It’s as if people haven’t been through enough.
So, where were you when the world seemed to come to an end? What did you feel?
“I was waiting to die, literally,” Yman Obiedo recalled.
Obiedo was in the office at a ninth floor, working. The 31-year-old sales manager said he’s still traumatized with all the crazy seismic jerks every now and then.
A business process outsourcing (BPO) unit manager echoed the same fear. Ces Ortiz, 29, was in a meeting with fellow leaders. Conversations went well until the tremor agitated the conference room.
Ortiz described the commotion at the eighth floor of i3 Building in Cebu IT Park as a near-death experience.
BPO operations supervisor Zhequia Bardos, 26, couldn’t agree more. She was on the ninth floor of Skyrise 3 when it all happened. Once the alarms went off, they had to be evacuated.
“Freakin’ scared!” Bardos summed it all up.
It was not just a holiday from hospital duties for Zandra Mae Comendador, physical therapist. It was actually her birthday. She was at the market, fishing these and that for dinner later.
“I was anxious (who would not be?) but managed to pull myself together. My 26th rocks, literally,” she shared, laughing.
High school teacher La Marly Pajaron, 25, was on her way to town for her masteral classes when the world trembled.
“I was imagining the ground might break and eat me alive or the trees would strike me unconscious,” she remembered.
Karenderia manager Celsa Piencenaves, 65, suspected the boulder truck that passed by her house caused all the shaking, not until everyone was already running scared outside.
“I was just sitting there, enjoying the early morning. I was the last one to leave. I was confused, which isn’t bad at all because I kept calm and watched the world go by,” she related, half jokingly.
As of now, people are coming together as one, in prayers, in donations, in help—a coalition of hope and faith.
The country is a celebration of religious diversity. But when prayer is said, privately or as loudly as church bells ringing, the mini apocalyptic event turns out to be one of those national victories.
Expecting aftershocks. Praying for safety. Rock-a-bye everyone.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 28, 2013.