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Kin of victims recall crash of Cebu Pacific flight 387

By Ma. Cecilia Rodriguez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:50:00 02/03/2008

Filed Under: Aero and Aviation Sports, Air and Space Accidents, Air safety, Travel & Commuting

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -- The youngest of Marlene Oca?s five sons had just turned 1 year old when her husband Ric died, along with 103 other passengers of the ill-fated Cebu Pacific flight 387, on Feb. 2, 1998.

Ten years after the tragic event, Marlene said she has moved on, but sometimes think it may have been easier to raise her teenage boys if Ric was still around.

?He could have given better advice to his sons on how to court girls,? she chuckled.

On the eve of the 10th year anniversary of the Flight 387 tragedy, Marlene and other relatives of the crash victims shuttled to Claveria, Misamis Oriental to once again remember their loved ones.

A shrine, which was built at the foot of Mt. Sumagaya, serves as a memorial for the victims, including those whose bodies were never recovered.

At the shrine, the victims? families recall the day when body bags were being piled one after the other as they waited anxiously for news about possible survivors.

Then the reality struck. There was no survivor.

Relatives from all over the country are expected to visit the shrine starting yesterday to offer prayers for their dead.

?We expect at least 200 family members to visit the shrine and the Oro Garden Memorial Park in Lumbia during the anniversary,? said Charlie Palpalatok, human relations officer of the Cebu Pacific office here.

Aside from relatives, members of rescue teams that helped in the search and retrieval of the victims are also attending the events marking the tragedy.

Marlene said the tragedy has transformed the victims? families into stronger ones.

She recounted that a year after the tragedy, she and the other widows decided to form a small support group through which they channeled their grief and anxiety over losing their husbands.

Eventually, widowers joined them and even asked them about simple tips on single-parenthood.

?Whenever someone gets depressed or feels alone, we listen and try to perk things up. We do research on how to get over a tragedy like that and then give out copies of it. We exchange notes about small things, like how to put up a business by yourself, which was very helpful to wives like me, who had been very dependent on their husbands,? Marlene said.

Last year, Marlene said they decided to form the ?Flight 387 club.?

She described it as a bigger group that intends to help families of other crash victims.

?We have become good friends through the years of grief. We helped each other move on. I guess it?s another way of keeping the memories of our loved ones alive,? she said of the club?s formation.

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