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Exhibit shows award-winning photos of eruption

/ 02:54 AM June 15, 2011

One photograph could have been captioned: No Escape.

Taken 20 years ago today, the photo shows a monster of black clouds thundering through the plains, threatening to incinerate two vehicles used by news photographers in covering the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo volcano after centuries of slumber.

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The scene was captured on camera by then Inquirer photographer Heraldo “Boy” Cabrido who, along with his media colleagues, survived the disaster.

The dramatic shot was among the award-winning photographs of Pinatubo’s fury that are on exhibit at the Olongapo City Convention Center starting today (Wednesday).

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Man vs nature

The weeklong exhibit was put up by a group of media people whose lives were endangered while covering one of the most destructive volcanic eruptions of the last century. The eruption turned day into night, destroyed millions of pesos worth of property and left thousands homeless.

According to Cabrido, the president of the Mt. Pinatubo Media Survivors group and a former Inquirer photography consultant, the exhibit was intended to remind people of an unforgettable “man-against-nature” episode in our country’s history that tested man’s fortitude.

The pictures include those taken by Albert Garcia, who became the first Filipino to win the prestigious World Press Photo grand prize with his shot of the Pinatubo blast.

Also showcased are images of present-day communities which have recovered from the devastation of June 15, 1991. These photos show how the survivors were able to rebuild their lives.

Philippine Red Cross chair and former Sen. Richard Gordon will be a guest at today’s opening. Gordon was mayor of Olongapo City when the volcano erupted. He led the evacuation of hundreds of Aeta families living near the slopes.

Olongapo Mayor James “Bong” Gordon Jr. and city first lady Anne Gordon will lead the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Invited are officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology and prominent media personalities.

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A nightmare

Mike Pusing, the event coordinator, said the exhibit was part of a monthlong celebration of Olongapo’s 45th cityhood anniversary, the June 12 Independence Day and national hero Jose Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary.

The best in the Filipino

Pusing said the city government decided to hold a joint extended celebration to give city residents and other Filipinos enough time to reflect on the significance of the historic events that have occurred in the country in June.

“Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption was a nightmare, yet it brought out the best in the Filipino as shown by the fast and impressive recovery of heavily damaged areas, like Olongapo,” Mayor Gordon said.

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TAGS: Albert Garcia, exhibit, Heraldo Cabrido, Mt. Pinatubo eruption, photographers, Volcano
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