Devastation in Bohol-A A +A
Thursday, October 17, 2013
WHAT do I remember of Bohol? For more than one year before I was arrested in Tagbilaran City around two decades ago, I roamed the place and fell in love with it.
My wandering ways led me to the mountains of the coastal towns of Tubigon, Calape and Loon. I used to walk the road that branched from the national highway going to Cortes and Antequera towns. I slept in the “bod” (hill) in some villages in the municipality
of Balilihan and neighboring Corella town.
Baclayon and Albur towns were favorite destinations when I was based in Tagbilaran.
I could not forget Loay and its steel bridge and, going up, Loboc and Bilar for the joke (the neighboring towns are supposedly misspelled Cebuano words for ass and vagina).
At that time, I could memorize the names of the coastal towns from Tagbilaran to Ubay while riding the wooden St. Jude buses.
I roamed the forested areas of the interior towns of Bilar, Sevilla and Batuan. I crossed the deep river separating Balilihan town from Sevilla using a bamboo raft. I slept in a makeshift hammock and makeshift roof fashioned from a rain curtain in the forest while a storm raged. I learned that Bohol is a land of uninhabited small hills and peopled plains.
In Loon town, I once asked a resident why they had to lock their jaws when speaking.
“Nganong inyo man gyud nang gahion pagsulti? Nganong inyo man gyod nang lisud-lisoron?” was my query. “Di man lisod,” he simply answered.
I liked the peculiar accent of Tagbilaranons, and expressions like “hayahaya man.” But the city had a small center, consisting mainly of Bohol Quality, the agora and Altura’s. There was Cogon and its market farther away, but it was really no alternative.
I could go on and on. What I am heading to is this: I, too, am saddened by the devastation wrought by the magnitude 7.2 quake the epicenter of which was located near the interior town of Carmen. I listen to reports on the affected areas and the names of Tagbilaran and the devastated towns evoke fond memories of youthful “frolic.”
The initial reports mentioned only a few areas like Loboc and Baclayon towns where the churches were badly damaged. But Bohol is a province of one city and 47 towns. I then started asking, what about Loon, Calape and Tubigon? What about Bilar, Sevilla and Batuan? It was only when more data filtered in that my worst fears were confirmed.
By the way, a friend PM-ed me on Facebook and sought my help so authorities would be told that Inabanga town in Bohol was also devastated by the quake. She particularly mentioned a village called Luyo. I hope help is on the way there.
The night before the quake hit Bohol, Cebu and other parts of the Visayas and Mindanao, I couldn’t sleep. I tried closing my eyes but my mind wandered everywhere. I tried recalling if I drank coffee in the office. I didn’t. So why the difficulty in sleeping?
I always consider myself as an instinctive person, meaning that my instincts are particularly sharp. I thought this was confirmed by an incident that happened in our house many years ago.
It was New Year’s Eve in Sitio Kawayan in Barangay Sambag 2, Cebu City where I grew up. The celebration was on and the noise from the merrymaking was deafening. Firecrackers were exploded.
I was standing in the verandah of our old house which was made of nipa, wood and bamboo when, for a fleeting moment, it crossed my mind that a bullet was falling. A second or two later, a bullet did fall through the roof, landing on the bamboo floor and missing my head by a few inches.
So when the quake struck Tuesday morning, I had my explanation for my being sleepless the previous night. Instinct. Indeed, if our pets possess this, surely we humans, or at least some of us, have it, too. Okay, I won’t attempt to be conclusive. But I’d like to think the earthquake did explain my strange behavior the night before the shaking.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 18, 2013.