SURIGAO CITY, Philippines – As an experienced seaman, Reynaldo Galve, 36, was expected to know the drill when sea accidents happened. That his wife, who is being treated for head wounds in a hospital in Cebu, survived while he remains missing is a mystery to Galve’s relatives.
“We’re a little confused because it was he who instructed his wife to jump first moments before the sinking of the ship…and now he’s missing,” said Cherry Galve, Reynaldo’s sister.
Reynaldo’s wife, 27-year-old Aida, fell short on her jump and bumped her head midway into the fall, Cherry said, based on Aida’s accounts. Due to the impact of the fall, Aida had no recollection of her husband following her into the water.
The Galves are two of the 279 passengers from the two Surigao provinces aboard the MV St. Thomas Aquinas, a Manila-bound passenger ship of 2GO Travel, which sailed from Nasipit in Agusan del Norte and Surigao City. It collided with Davao-bound M/V Sulpicio Express Siete around 9 p.m. Friday, according to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
Relatives of another passenger, 61-year old Annabelle Apollo, remain hopeful that the latter is still alive, although her name is not in the list of survivors provided by the local 2Go office.
Apollo, who is from Nonoc Island in Surigao City, was headed for Manila to visit her eldest son whom she has not seen for nine years, said daughter Charres Apollo.
Charres said they took comfort from the fact that their neighbor, 42-year-old Emilda Dio, who was traveling with her mother, survived the ordeal and has been receiving treatment at a Cebu City hospital.
“We’re islanders so she’s used to traveling the sea. We’re hopeful she will comeback to us anytime soon,” Charres said.
Likewise, the Galvezes are optimistic Reynaldo was just out helping survivors and was not among those trapped when the boat sunk.
“He is a trained sailor and I believe that when he saw what happened to his wife when she jumped, he chose another route to get to her. In the process, it was likely he met some children along the way and helped secure these young ones to safety,” said Cherry, the sister.