‘Pablo’ forms new river as wide as Edsa


NEW RIVER Families cross a new river formed after Typhoon “Pablo” swept this area in New Bataan, Compostela Valley, Tuesday. INQUIRER/ MARIANE BERMUDEZ

NEW BATAAN, Compostela Valley—A new “river” as wide  as the highway  belt Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa) in Metro Manila has sprung up here, indicating the watery fury of Typhoon “Pablo” has forever altered the landscape of this remote mining and farming town.

As the mud settled and receded into the many water channels crisscrossing the town, dazed villagers  were shocked to find how the terrain had changed the morning after the typhoon hit on Tuesday.

What used to be a field of coconut trees and wooden houses in Purok (zone) 4 had turned into a gushing river flanked by rocks and boulders that had tumbled down the mountain.

“That river? It was not there before. Those rocks? All those came from the mountain,” Sebastian Mandantes, a resident of neighboring Camanlangan village, said in Cebuano.

“There is no name for that river yet,” he said when asked what the channel was called.

The rushing stream of water, according to residents, had “branched out” from another river named Calyawan at the height of Pablo’s wrath in the mountainous village of Andap, the most severely hit in the town of 45,000 people, and from which most of the more than 220 who died in the typhoon lived.

Coconut and banana grower Genovevo Valencia, 48, said Calyawan had become so swollen it unleashed a great torrent of water that stripped the topsoil, dislodged large rocks, and swept virtually all of Andap away, carrying people, trees and debris.

The muddy torrent finally crashed into the settlements below, depositing bodies from the village on the slope and felling coconut trees that looked like snapped twigs by the side of the “riverbank” the next day.

Some of the coconut trees were bent unnaturally, as though bowing toward the northwest, the very same path Typhoon Pablo had taken as it cut across Mindanao, a place thought to be safe from storms until December 2011 when Tropical Storm “Sendong” ravaged northern Mindanao and the Visayas, especially Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities.

Pablo followed Sendong’s act  on about the same date. It was the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, with more than 400 dead, 101 of them in New Bataan, and damaging at least P4 billion in agriculture and property.

Bodies here and there

On Friday morning, the new river in New Bataan was still flowing strong, as deep as a man’s waist and as wide or wider in places like  Edsa in Metro Manila. Search-and-rescue teams were still at work, retrieving bodies that turned up here and there.

The river stretched as far as the eye could see, and villagers believed it was flowing into one of the many tributaries of  Agusan River to the north.

For Feliciano and Alejandra Medrano, a couple in their late 60s living in Purok 8, an adjacent hillside community, it was a river of horrors.

“That river brought the dead from Barangay (village) Andap to our barangay,” Alejandra said. Only two people in their neighborhood died, but their community was distraught to find so many corpses in their midst.

In New Bataan, 127 people have been recorded as dead as of mid-Friday, and 398 remained missing, according to a tally at the municipal gym in the town center. Most of the 71 identified dead came from Andap.

The Medrano couple narrated their ordeal.

At about 6 a.m., a neighbor shouted at them to evacuate to higher ground, as their small wooden house did not seem like it could withstand the typhoon raging outside.

When they got out of the door, they saw that the floodwater was already high. The Medranos tried to cross to the other side to join their neighbors.

“We were locked in an embrace. But the water was too strong. We were swept away,” Alejandra said.

She recalled pulling her husband up each time he went underwater. Feliciano, who was using a stick as a cane, said he had arthritis, which made it difficult for him to wade through the flood with its strong current.

Chapel refuge

Alejandra said they eventually managed to pull themselves out of the water’s way and joined their neighbors in a chapel, where they lay huddled and waited the storm out.

As the current was still too strong, the villagers spent four days in the chapel, subsisting on rice and banana, with kerosene lamps to illuminate the place at night.

They collected water from a ground spring and rationed the modest provisions among themselves.

“We didn’t want to leave because we at least had bananas, and we knew that there wasn’t a lot of food in the evacuation centers,” their neighbor, Leticia Galo, 43, said.

But eventually, food and gas ran out, their cell phone batteries gave out, and many in the group had to make the difficult trek to the town center to look for food, medicines and fuel.

They also worked together to gather the decomposing bodies.

Feliciano  said about 50 people still crammed the chapel, a couple of whom were too old to cross the new river, and many children too young to do so.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003712489179 Michelle Martin

    “pablo” forms new river as wide as EDSA” – and then what? these people are going to live by the river again? Will they ever learn?

    And then when a powerful typhoon rashes through their town they will suffer the same fate again and again? They should be prohibited from living along river banks. They should be ordered to live on higher ground. 

    anyone who lives along the flood path is simply fool-ish.

    • rosaddiaq

       If you look at the map of New Bataan, Compostela on Google Map, it is between two rivers, 1 km to the west is the main Agusan river and 500 meters to the east is another river. It is not exactly on river banks but the whole area in between the rivers is floodplain, and it may even be old river bed. Flashflooding is one way a river “rejuvenates” and reclaims old territory. Nature’s way.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003712489179 Michelle Martin

        edi dun sila sa mas mataas na lugar. im sure naman may makikita silang lugar na pwede silang magtayo ulit sa may paanan ng bundok. 

        exactly, flash flooding is nature’s way of rejuvinating and reclaiming its territory, but human beings should know firsthand not to live along the flood path.

        I bet next year these same people will still live in that particular place and when a typhoon comes they will be the same victims. will they ever learn?

      • Cano Manuel

        Magtatayo sila ng bahay sa paanan ng bundo para matabunan sila ng landslide. Tapos, next year ay magsa-suggest ka na naman ng lumipat sila sa ibang lugar.

        It is not that easy dear. Wala silang pamibili ng lupa. Saan mo sila ilalagay? At kapag nakalipat sila, anong klaseng kabuhayan naman ang naghihintay sa kanila?

    • http://twitter.com/d3marketers SAMMY

      SO where do you think these people will relocate? Are you thinking they have vast real estate properties waiting fro them somewhere else where they can just build new houses and settle? 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003712489179 Michelle Martin

        i said “on higher grounds” hindi naman mahirap intindihin yun di ba? nature will not adjust to you. you have to adjust to nature. 

      • Shakatak Sha

        Yung na nga sa higher grounds ba kamo? kaso di naman nila lupain yung nasa higher grounds. at yung naging river yun yung kanilang pag-aari. Inday hindi po ganun kadali iyun..unless the government will provide the land as what they have done to the professional squatters found in Metro Manila.

      • AJ Giorgio

        dun na lang sila.. may magbibigay naman ng relief goods pag bumaha ulit..

      • dodong1

        akala mo ganun kadali?? kung magsalita ka ganun kadali…

      • boldyak

        so, dahil mahirap wag na gawin?….doon na lang sa hindi mahirap….at every year, pagawa ka ulit ng bahay total madali lang gumawa ng bahay na isang ihip ng hangin wasak…doon na ba tayo sa madaling gawin?

      • dodong1

        di ba yan naman ang mentalidad ng mga Pilipino. di mo ba napapansin na kulang tayo sa mga kalidad ng pagpapatayo ng mga bahay o di kaya mahilig tayo sa kasabihan ng TAMA YAN O PUEDE NA YAN…

      • http://twitter.com/d3marketers SAMMY

        Kahit naman po English naintindihan ko ng konti. Very simplistic lang kasi ang pagtingin mo sa problemang dinanas ng mga taong naapektuhan sa baha dun at me pasaring ka pa na “fool-ish” ang mga tumititira sa flood path. Very well said but we don’t know exactly the circumstances kung bakit sila nakatira dun. Baka ilang dekada na sila nakatira dun di naman sila binabaha. Pwede siguro natin silang tawaging “fool-ish” kung nasa Marikina riverbanks sila na talaga namang prone sa pagbaha pero marami pa ring sumisiksik at nagtatayo ng kabahayan

  • freedom of navigation

    That’s natures way of giving us a place to fish for food. We have to accept that. Keep it clean for everyone. For those who lost their love ones it would be really difficult, not really easy. The members of the family or friends we love and we hope they are always with us in the whole time we are here on earth, they are precious more than anything of the possessions we have, I hope you all survivors FIND A PEACE IN YOUR HEARTS. We just leave all those things to our Almighty Lord God. 

  • Albert Einstien

    biggest CORRUPTION in history abounds…101.8 billion coa audit report for fy 2011…look what happened …..the comval DISASTER…parang yung SMUGGLING me mga KKK protectors kaya LAGANAP….they should INVESTIGATE who are the KKK protectors of ILLEGAL LOGGING & ILLEGAL MINING…which are the ROOT CAUSE of untimely DEATH of MULTITUDES…..!

  • My mom

    EXTREME weather is the new normal – US Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Ang Palawan inabot din ng bagyo. Pero tatlo lang ang tinatayang namatay. Bakit? Puwersahang inilikas ang mga naninirahan sa coastlines. Ipinagtanggol ng mayamang kagubatan ang Palawan. Sa Mindanao, kalbo ang kabundukan dahil sa illegal logging at butas-butas ang lupa dahil sa mining. Kani-kaniya ang paglikas; gumuho pa ang ibang evacuation centers. Sa bagyong Sendong noong isang taon, naglipana ang bintang na ibinulsa ng mga pulitiko ang calamity funds para sa mga biktima. Sabi pa nga ni Ban Ki-Moon, dapat nating ariin ang problema. “Tayo ang sanhi ng problema, nasa atin din ang kalutasan.”

  • http://www.ninoyandcory.gov.ph/ It’s No Time To Doubt Now

    I love Blessed Mama Cory and National Hero Papa Ninoy. I love their only begotten son our beloved President PNoy. It bears repeating that just last week, our dear leader PNoy achieved the almost impossible 7.1% GDP growth rate singlehandedly. If not for our beloved President PNoy, the Philippines would not even figure in CNBC or Bloomberg or become the darling of global investors. Through the combined forces of Blessed Mama Cory and our national Superhero Papa Ninoy and their only begotten son dear leader PNoy, we have been able to stave off superstorms so far. But because there are too many critics, cynics, detractors, skeptics and naysayers, the forces of evil are gaining some upperhand. The evil little girl who is really a lifesize voodoo doll has been conspiring with Bishop Pabillo to summon the unfriendly forces of nature to wreak havoc on this land. As if nine years of voodoo economics by that evil voodoo little girl has not brought enough damage. As if the phantom bridges to nowhere and the phantom roros and nautical highway to nowhere have not been wasteful enough. Thanks to the forgiving nature of our dear leader PNoy who did not launch a witch hunt to burn the evil voodoo little girl at stake. At any rate, this is no time to doubt now. Let us heed the call of our beloved President PNoy and stop assigning blame for the sake of national solidarity amidst this crisis. Let us uphold the Anti-Cybercrime Law and forever silence the noisy enemies of our dear leader PNoy. Let us fortify our beloved President PNoy’s mandate and help him consolidate his power by putting into office Bam Aquino and Ting-Ting Cojuangco. Let us give our rockstar President PNoy our unwavering support so that he can propel this country to greater heights. Now is not the time to doubt.

    Sa Daang Matuwid, wala kang talo. Go with the flow. Go With Daang Matuwid.

    and may I humbly suggest:
    vote straight LP in 2013
    Ninoy 2.0 = Bam Aquino

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_T4UWEQIDXLS7RQXY2DDQTV6MNE carol

      hahaha bayarang anino ni aquino. excuse me, that evil litle girl is ur what? relative? your daughter? you have no right to call someone an evil, sama mo naman. NO, we are not voting for KKK

    • ApoLapullapu

      Beautiful sarcasm.  But the Pharaoh beside the Pasig will not listen to Moses.  The Freedom of Information Bill must be frozen.  On the other hand, the RH Bill must be railroaded if necessary.

    • riccisan

      pa burger ka naman how much the yellow tards pay you to post these? 

    • Jaelsimone

      Today, President Benigno Aquino began his visit to flooded areas, where the population accuses the government of delay in rescue and not to invest in prevention and equipment. Some denounce local governments for exacerbating the financial statements of tragedy over the years allowing the construction of mines in areas of high population density, or near waterways increasing the risk of landslides. The authorities have launched an appeal for immediate international help. In the affected areas lack food, tents, water purification systems and medicines. Tues Roxas, Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, has prepared the immediate dispatch of equipment for the survey of the land and canine units, able to sniff out people still alive under the rubble.

      Think for a moment: if so, the poorest countries, devastated by natural disasters, accidents, crime should have a high GDP growth rate and with a huge, what is not true. An example is Haiti, a nation grew less than in the last 10 years.
      The possible increase in GDP has for the expenditure incurred by the state for repairs. This expenditure is not possible to increase the public debt, which is not absolutely positive as the Greeks (and Italians) know. Most public debt implies a fiscal consolidation in the medium-long run, or higher taxes and public sector cuts = impoverishment of the people = decrease of GDP.

    • Jaelsimone

       The earthquake, typhoons, it is true that initially could raise the GDP (which is why it is mentioned), but it is still a loss, and the medium to long term GDP also affected. Destroying homes, schools, railway stations, hospitals, cars etc etc, it impoverishes both the State and the people (or consumers), and the same companies in the areas that are affected!

    • bahaykubo1015


  • dodong1

    There is no name for that river yet,” he said when asked what the channel was called.  they should name it PABLO RIVER

    • Cano Manuel

      That would be too painful for them to remember, but that’s what I thought initially too. 

  • batangpaslit

    Nothing can beat the fury of nature, eh?
    The BIG BANG, created multiple galaxies, one of them is the Milky Way were our planet earth belong.
    Typhoon Pablo, created a river.

    I wish another typhoon would come and strike the illegal loggers that because of their greed denuded the forests.

  • malek_abdul

    Its time to reforest our denuded mountains. I already started it in my home province of Zambo Del Sur. Have at least planted more than 2000 trees and 500 coconuts for the last 2 years and still continuing to plant more trees. Its my share of protecting the environment.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/NRLFHB4ZOMCNGDUJ2ZINRV7DAQ Juan

      wow! it’s top 5 on my bucket list. Do you need to plant specific trees or anything under the sun . gusto ko sana mangga kahit kanino yung lote basta bakante gusto ko lagyan ko ng punla.

      GOOD JOB sana lahat tayo gayahin ka na hindi na kailangan ng media coverage at hindi puro semento ang alam itanim.

  • disqusted0fu

    now look what illegal logging has done! they should call it the Cojuangco-Almendras river as they are said to be involved with the illegal logging in Mindanao

    • tata_boy

      ang alam ko eh may plywood factory ang mga Cojuangco, salot talaga sa bansa ang mga chekwa.

  • Padre Agaton

    swerte ng mga pulitiko dito sa comval at makakapagpatayo na sila ng tulay at me ilog na.

  • opinyonlangpo

    Same like what happened to my land, huge river forms but later on dries up leaving just heaps of stones. Still wondering what to do with it as it will be economically impossible to fill it will soil again. It is a huge loss for the land owners. From a thousand sacks of rice to just one sack of rice productivity.

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