An earthquake story-A A +A
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
THE thing with an earthquake is that everybody living around its epicenter, or even several kilometers from it, feels it. Meaning that, everyone has his or her own story about the shaking. Except, of course, if one has the misfortune of being among the quake’s fatalities.
Since classes were suspended yesterday because of the Muslim celebration of Eid’l Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), I herded my two boys to the Minglanilla Sports Complex in the morning to prepare them for a fun run the family will be participating in a couple of weeks.
Inside the sports complex was a group of boys given training in baseball. Their warm-ups included a jog around the oval. I told my two sons to do the same. I already jogged the previous morning and lacked sleep so I chose to just watch them do their thing.
I asked the children to rest after doing one round. Because I didn’t want them to sit while resting, I urged them to play with the Frisbee the younger Rick-rick brought with him. Then after a few minutes I told them to brisk walk around the oval. They were about to complete the round when the ground started to shake.
Linog, I told myself as I rushed towards the middle of the oval to be with my kids.
The Minglanilla gymnasium shook violently, the glasses adorning its upper façade squeaking in seeming frenzy. The shiny glass windows in the uppermost portion of a four-story building nearby gleamed with every shifting movement.
I thought the shaking would last for only a few seconds like they always did in the past. But it went on seemingly endlessly. I clasped my hands and placed them on top of my head in disbelief as the shaking continued. There were times when I felt like the grassy ground beneath my feet was forming crests like those of very fast moving waves.
I thought the small crowd in the oval that already included some of the old men at the nearby tennis court and some people who were standing near the gym watched the effect of the quake both with fear and awe. In the face of the power of nature, we all are virtually helpless.
The shifting of the ground didn’t end with the major tremor that hit at around 8 a.m. There were aftershocks, more than a hundred of them when I wrote this. The last two were strong enough to send Sun.Star Cebu people, who had to work despite the danger, out of the building for several minutes.
Of course, we now know the extent of the damage wrought by the tremor. Among the major structures hit were churches, most of them in Bohol, the site of the 7.2 quake’s epicenter. Also hit was the Basilica del Sto. Niño and infrastructure like the port in Tagbilaran City. The death count is rising.
It’s good, though, that the people have learned their lesson. Seismologists say that since the epicenter was land-based, the possibility of tsunami forming was remote.
Still, it would have sparked a tsunami scare like when an earthquake hit Negros Oriental last year. This time around, no such scare happened.
But the fear and the worries are palpable. Not many vehicles occupied the Metro Cebu streets. After-shocks at times sent people scampering outside their homes or work places.
We do not know how long the fear and the worries will last. All we know is that government and concerned people are initiating and helping in the rehabilitation process. Life, after all, has to move on despite the tests. It’s a reality we cannot evade.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 16, 2013.