Heartfelt tremors-A A +A
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
WHEN an earthquake swept through our town many months ago, inhabitants rose as one and started to run towards the highlands. It did not seem to matter where they were going, just so long as it was to the highlands.
What impelled them to leave the lowlands was the fear of the so-called tsunami. It is the term in Japanese to mean tidal wave.
I did not move an inch from the side of provincial road in front of our house. I
thought that if there was to be a tidal wave, it should come from the Tañon Strait, which is just about 500 yards away from our house along the provincial road.
But between our house and the sea, there was first the newly reclaimed athletic oval field, then the new municipal building, the old one that stands along the municipal street, straight down to the market square and the parish church across with the plaza in front of the St. Francis Academy buildings across from our house.
Thus, I was confident that no giant waves could reach me that would not first break up into their natural height when they would reach where I stood in front of our place.
And so, while hundreds of people passed by hurriedly, some even running towards the road leading to the hills of the Transcentral Highway, my family, some neighbors, and I stayed.
As it turned out then, I was right. Late that afternoon, the people who had fled, were streaming back.
A similar circumstance happened yesterday morning, when suddenly, at about eight o’clock in the morning, the surrounding areas began shaking. There was clearly an earthquake.
This time, though, there did not seem to be sudden fear of tsunami. There was an unusual calm among the people, as it was not many weeks earlier. And yet, what seems to be surprising, as the extent of the damage this particular tremor caused, there was a sort of acceptance in the attitude of the people.
As reports of this earthquake filtered in through the radio and television, while no tsunami has occurred, still the destruction of buildings and churches seemed tremendous.
In our town alone, the Balamban parish church that withstood the Japanese bombs of World War II, the parish church that is undergoing almost a thorough renovation, suffered some damage.
As a result, Mons. Jim Gorre, our parish priest, has decided to hold masses in the small, open, youth center at the back of the church that now has cracks.
What seems significant is the fact that the recent tremor really did quite a more extensive destruction than before. The Basilica del Sto. Niño in Cebu City, which had not been touched before, also suffered some damage.
There were other reported destructions in the city, as well as in Loboc and Carmen, Bohol. Other areas raised some fears and heartaches to those who never expected that yesterday’s tremor would result even in death.
Many things do happen that we least expect, even a heartache from a sudden tremor.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 16, 2013.