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Category Archives: Cebu Tragedy

Cordova: One Year and Three Months Later


Over the weekend, I drove all the way to Cordova to revisit a lovely little barangay called Bang-Bang. If you can remember, Bang-Bang was one of the worst-hit areas when a huge oil-spill plagued the Cebu Strait and the Mactan Channel. (See photos of the spill here) The spill was caused by the collision of passenger ship MV Thomas Aquinas and cargo vessel Sulpicio Express Siete approximately 1 kilometer off the coast of Talisay. The passenger ship (which was carrying 120,000 liters of bunker fuel) sank and left at least 55 people dead and around 65 missing.

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Let’s take a look at Bang-Bang one year and three months after the tragedy.

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An Outpouring of Love


After Typhoon Yolanda ravaged the northern towns of Cebu, help came right away. The morning after the typhoon hit, packing of relief goods began at the Cebu Provincial Capitol. By afternoon, truckloads of goods from the local government were already on their way to the affected areas. A huge number of government workers were also deployed immediately for the all-important clearing operation to give vehicles access to areas that need help.

Help from the capital and other nearby islands arrived in special flights courtesy of our awesome local airlines. The private sector was also quick to respond. Help came not in small trickles but in huge free-flowing volumes. All throughout the week, Cebuanos flocked towards various packing stations and donation centers to help out and donate. By “help out” I mean doing at least four hours of volunteer work even without the promise of free snacks or water. And by “donate” I mean making SM, Ayala, and all other major shopping centers look like they have nothing more to sell because all necessary supplies were sold out just minutes after they were put on display.

A lot of people say that Cebuanos are fierce warriors with a compassionate heart. And I couldn’t agree more.

Over the weekend, the island of Cebu saw what will most likely go down in history as one of the greatest showcases of the Cebuanos’ sacrifice and humanity in recent times. Thousands of Cebuanos braved the rain and heavy traffic to personally help the people in the North.

Here is my coverage of the super awesome Great North Cebu Drive.

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Thank you, fellow Cebuanos!

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The Day the Earth Shook


I was ready to leave for work when the earth started shaking last October 15, 2013. It was a pretty normal day. There were no signs that something horrible was about to happen. At around 8:10 am, it started. At first, I didn’t move. I couldn’t move. I was certain that it was an earthquake because I could clearly hear walls creaking and roofs rattling. But I stayed in place hoping that it would soon stop. Around fifteen seconds later, when there was no sign that the quake was stopping, I dragged myself towards the back door and headed for the open lot behind our house.

The scene outside was just total chaos. There were shouting and crying and sobbing. It was like a scene from a movie.  The only difference is that it was real. The earth was rumbling and there was nothing we could do but pray that it would soon stop.

The devastating Mag 7.2 quake lasted for thirty-eight seconds.

Thirty-eight seconds is such a short span of time. But it only took a measly 38 seconds to change the lives of millions of people forever.

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Cebu’s Basilica Minore del Santo Niño after the Magnitude 7.2 quake last October 15, 2013.

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A Tragedy


Last August 16, passenger ship MV Saint Thomas Aquinas of 2Go and Sulpicio Express Siete of Sulpicio Lines collided off the coast of Talisay City.  While the cargo ship only sustained a severe damage, the passenger ship sank a few minutes after the collision. Immediately after the collision and sinking, at least three hundred people were reported missing and more than 60 perished. Dozens were injured.

In the midst of the rescue operations, authorities warned of an equally horrible news. Oil has started to leak from the sunken ship. And due to the habagat, the spill is quickly spreading to the neighboring islands of Mactan and Cordova.

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Oil spill in Cordova

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Nightmare Before Christmas


Last December 23, 2011, just two days before Christmas, tragedy struck. At around 12:42 in the morning, Gaisano Capital South Mall (more popularly known among locals as Gaisano South) in downtown Cebu was gutted by fire. The origin of the blaze is still unknown. However, it is believed that it started in the back part of the building. This was the reason, according to fire officials, that mall guards refused to let firemen use the front door of the mall. The front door was only eventually opened four hours later when Mayor Rama arrived.  However, firemen from various stations in Cebu could not stop the blaze. The blaze eventually lasted for four days. Nearby buildings and establishments were also affected by the fire and they were forced to shut down temporarily. Adjacent and surrounding streets were also closed to traffic.

Due to the fire, 1800 workers are now jobless. According to mall representatives, some positions (office) will be retained. However, employees serving the ‘selling area’ will be on ‘work suspension’ following the ‘no-work-no-pay’ scheme.

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A couple of days ago, I was finally able to see the building and take a couple of pictures.

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