Latest Stories

Hope brief in search for missing

By ,

NO WORDS can describe the grief of this woman who cries after seeing the body of a girl in the funeral home where the fatalities of the Aug. 16 sea tragedy are brought. TONEE DESPOJO/CEBU DAILY NEWS

CEBU CITY—Hope turned into despair in so short a time for Emmalyn Sinday, a 22-year-old survivor of the Aug. 16 sea tragedy here who has been searching for her missing daughter, Gwen.

Sinday’s search for Gwen led her on Aug. 17 to the terminal of 2Go at the city port where a list said her daughter was among those who survived when MV St. Thomas Aquinas, a cargo-passenger vessel owned by 2Go, was rammed by the cargo ship MV Sulpicio Express Siete off Talisay City.

On paper, Gwen, Sinday’s only child, was alive but Sinday wanted to take her daughter in her arms, which she was unable to do as huge waves kept them bobbing in turbulent waters in their life jackets together until a fisherman got hold of Gwen and Sinday tried to get over the separation with thoughts that her daughter, who was unconscious at that time, would at least be alive.

After seeing her daughter’s name on the list of survivors at the 2Go terminal, Sinday went to all the hospitals in the city and Talisay, hoping to see Gwen alive even if it meant seeing her with bruises or wounds, but alive.

The hospital search was fruitless, leaving Sinday with no other place to search but the one where all searches become dreadful—Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes here where fatalities from the Thomas Aquinas have been brought.

There, Sinday saw a row of unidentified bodies, the one in pink dress and pink shoes was unmistakably that of Gwen.

Sinday remembered the list at the 2Go terminal that said Gwen was alive. “I was angry because I did not believe she is dead,” Sinday said. “When I saw her here, I cried hard. I could not explain how I felt,” Sinday said at the funeral home.

Sinday was with an aunt and a cousin, who survived the ramming of Thomas Aquinas. She was on the ship bound for Manila to join her common-law husband, Felix, who had work there.

The agony continues for others who are still searching for their loved ones who had been aboard the Thomas Aquinas.

One is Mercedita, a 51-year-old employee of the Bureau of Customs, who traveled from Surigao City to here in search for her daughter, Geonidiza, one of those declared missing. Two of Geonidiza’s aunts had also been declared missing.

Like what Sinday did, Mercedita scoured all the hospitals here and in Talisay for Geonidiza. The search also took her to the Cosmopolitan, but Geonidiza was not there.

The search is over for others, but in the case of Vilma Maligro, 43, it is both over and continuing. Vilma is still in a state of shock after confirming that her husband, Hilario, also a passenger of the Thomas Aquinas, is among the dead. She couldn’t return home to Agusan del Sur, however, as her 8-year-old son Christian Mark and 78-year-old mother Agatona are still missing.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Vilma said. They were on the ship to be in Bohol for a fiesta in Loon.

Vilma last saw her son and mother jumping off the Thomas Aquinas as the vessel started to sink after being rammed  by the Sulpicio ship. Vilma, too afraid to jump, clung to a rope at the edge of the Thomas Aquinas until some hard object fell and knocked her unconscious.

She regained consciousness in the hospital where she was told of the death of her husband and the disappearance of her son and mother.

The death toll in the ramming of the Thomas Aquinas by the Sulpicio ship stood at 75 as of Thursday.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

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: News , Regions , sea accidents , St. Thomas Aquinas

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. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  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. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • 4.6-magnitude quake hits Surigao del Norte
  • Camilla’s brother dies of NYC head injury
  • Nepal officials go to Everest to try to end crisis
  • Escudero ready to defend self should name appear in Napoles’ list
  • Obama calls for peaceful end to island dispute
  • Sports

  • Promoters Dela Hoya, Arum in talks for Pacquiao-Alvarez—report
  • Benzema guides Madrid to 1-0 win over Bayern
  • Suns’ Goran Dragic win NBA’s Most Improved Player award
  • Heat go up 2-0, hold off Bobcats 101-97
  • Ronaldo shakes off injury fears to play Bayern
  • Lifestyle

  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Entertainment

  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • Business

  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Technology

  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • PH-HK relations repaired, but families of victims still being courted
  • Filipinos in Middle East urged to get clearance before returning
  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Marketplace