Latest Stories

‘What a Christmas gift?’ Cagayan de Oro residents cry of floods


CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — With toppled trees and debris scattered everywhere, residents of this city must have thought that the worst of Pablo had passed.

But around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, hours after the rains that Pablo brought in stopped, the church bell from the San Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral, which stood by the Cagayan River, started ringing.

The scene was akin to one plucked out of a World War II movie, where people were fleeing as the church bells rang, warning them of the arriving Japanese soldiers.

The reason for the ringing bell on Wednesday here, however, was that the water level at the Cagayan River started to swell, albeit slowly.

At the Carmen Bridge, curious people converged and watched as muddy water flowed underneath it. Others trooped to the nearby Kagay-an Bridge.

In Lower Tambo in Barangay (village) Macasandig, an area that Sendong heavily devastated in 2011, Kristeta Bisandi, 59, was seen hurriedly leaving her house and sari-sari store, about 500 meters away from the river, as the sirens of a fire engine also sounded.

She and her husband immediately ran towards the nearest evacuation center.

“It was our signal to run.  Our barangay had trained us after Sendong for an evacuation like this,” Basand told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Soon after they and their neighbors had fled, the floods engulfed their houses. Estimates vary about the actual depth of the flood but authorities said it reached five feet in some areas of Tambo.

Barangay Macasandig, considered as the ground zero during the Sendong disaster, is a recipient of the Noah’s Ark program of the Corporate Network for Disaster Response (CNDR) for flood-prone communities. Under the program, civilians were trained on orderly and pre-emptive evacuation.

According to Bisandi, the evacuation process in their barangay was organized soon after the Sendong tragedy in 2011.  As early as Sunday, residents were already packing their belongings and heading toward designated evacuation centers.

During the flash floods last year, the Bisandi couple and four other families climbed up a Mahogany tree beside their shanties.

The tree has become an important reminder of her Sendong experience, she said.

“I was planning to offer food to the tree on December 17 because it saved a lot of us here, but now, all the stocks from my store have been washed away,” she said asnews about rampaging water gobbling up her house reached her at the evacuation center.

Only about a month ago, Bisandi said, she was able to borrow P10,000 from her landowner. She used the money to buy supplies for her store and was beginning to be hopeful that their lives would get back to normal after what happened during typhoon Sendong.

“When I came back to check on my house this morning, everything was gone. It was like the river once again took away what my husband and I worked hard for,” she said.

As Bisandi was recalling the events, some of her neighbors, who were busy taking out muddy water from their houses were saying, “What a nice gift for us this Christmas.  It’s water and mud all over again.”

Bisandi, along with several of her neighbors, had applied for housing relocation for Sendong victims early this year.

However, their applications remain pending.

Another resident, Carolina Cadavez, once again had to remove muddy water from her house.  Last year, the waters had reached the ceiling of their second floor area. It was during Sendong’s fury that she almost lost her two sons, who had difficulty squeezing into a small opening at the ceiling.

This year, however, she made sure to evacuate her family a day before typhoon Pablo was expected to arrive.

“I felt that we were ready for the coming typhoon, but we still could not take everything. I feel sad about it because we had to work hard to recover what we lost during Sendong, but on the other hand, I realized that they are just things” she said.

Although Thursday’s floodwaters were only five feet deep, everything Cadavez had in her house was still damaged.

Cadavez also observed several differences between Sendong and Pablo’s floodwaters.

“The rise of the flood waters was slower this time compared to last year.  It was also less murky. During Sendong, we even smelled gasoline in the water,” she said.

Unlike her neighbor Bisandi, Cadavez is not yet thinking of getting a rented house somewhere far from Lower Tambo.    Her family owns the piece of land where she has been staying for more than three decades now.

“My family cannot afford to rent a house because we are just starting all over again. Now, we will just have to learn how to live with disposable things,” she said.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More Philippine Weather News

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Bopha , Calamities , cyclones , disaster , floods , News , Pablo , Regions , relief and rehabilitation , rescue , typhoon casualties , typhoon damage , typhoon death toll , typhoons , Weather

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  8. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  9. Two Popes who would be saints
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • Pakistan library named ‘bin Laden,’ as memory fades
  • US teacher fired over comment on black president
  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Filipinos, Dutch re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • Sports

  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Multicultural flock marks Good Friday in San Francisco
  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • Marketplace