HOW could a simple late afternoon get so terrifying as it did last Monday?
It was a usual after-work time when I was standing at the parking area of the Philippine Statistics Authority or PSA Regional Office in the Government Center. While waiting for my mom, I was busy with my cellphone when I felt a sudden tremor. At first I thought it was just the shaking caused by a big truck passing by, but I realized there was no truck in sight. The heavy jolting started, I heard the parking roof shudder that I decided to move away from it. A few of us who left in front of the office were already walking in a wobbly manner and that’s when I fathomed it was indeed an earthquake. I thought that was the end of me.
When the shaking stopped, I immediately tried to contact my family, but the poor signal kept me from being able to talk to them. The pressing urge of knowing how they were doing at that time with the signal failing me each time made me shiver all the more. I kept praying for their safety and that’s when I saw my mom coming out of the building as well.
For a few minutes, all the PSA employees were equally astounded and scared as I was. While the thought of a strong earthquake has sunk in my mind, I was still in disbelief and shock that such a natural calamity just happened before my very eyes.
We started telling our own stories, and a common account tells that of keeping faith in God while the earthquake was happening. It was the only weapon that most of us held on to while we were becoming unsure if we will survive this catastrophe or not. Thankfully for me, my family, friends, and colleagues, we are all safe and sound.
After two days, I still cannot imagine if I could have died there and then. It was indeed a dreadful incident for me since I was not with my kids and husband when it occurred. My eldest son Marco was all alone in the house quietly watching Cartoon Network when it happened. Thank God Almighty for giving my son the knowledge and the will to know the right thing to do in the instance of an earthquake. As soon as the power went off, and upon hearing his bike fall off, he went outside the house and went to our neighbors. Praise God as well for these people who also saved my son from being all alone during the calamity.
My other son Lance was with his grandparents inside a mall fast food chain. Thank God also for my father-in-law and his presence of mind for not panicking and joining the other mall goers who were rushing to the exits. God knows if they also hurried, they might have ended up badly beaten up in a stampede.
At these times, there is only one true source of our strength and safety -- God alone. Amidst all these catastrophes and rattles that we are facing now, only our strong faith in Him will help us see it through. We just have to keep on praying for His guidance and protection. We just have to keep believing that indeed, God is bigger than the “big one.”