Cebu City engineer back home, asks for lechon | Inquirer News

Cebu City engineer back home, asks for lechon

/ 08:50 AM June 22, 2011

AFTER a tearful reunion with family, the first thing engineer Virgilio Fernandez asked upon arriving at his home in barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City, was lechon or roasted pig.

“He really asked us to buy lechon,” his wife Shirley said.

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She said her husband missed his favorite food because he ate mostly cassava for the duration of his 16-day captivity at the hands of the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan province.

Fernandez had to sustain himself with cassava along with meals of noodles and rice since the bandits forced him to walk five to seven kilometers a day to avoid the military and police chasing them down.

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The 60-year-old Fernandez was kidnapped last June 3 in sitio Libi, barangay Bulanting, Lamitan City, Basilan, while supervising a construction project in the area.

The engineer managed to escape his captors at past 1 a.m. last Sunday and was recovered by members of the Civilian Auxiliary Forces Geograhical Unit (Cafgu).

Shirley said her husband lost 38 pounds and his waistline decreased from 38 to 33 inches.

The engineer broke into tears when the Air Philippines flight that he rode in with wife Shirley and son Pierre Virgil from Zamboanga City touched down on the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) at 10:34 a.m.

“He was very emotional. He cried because he didn’t expect to return alive,” Shirley said.

She said Virgilio was very quiet but shed tears when the plane arrived.

When they entered the arrival area, engineer Fernandez looked for his five children and four grandchildren.

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Shirley said airport officials discouraged them from bringing the whole family at the arrival area due to limited space and a large volume of arriving passengers.

She said she told her husband that his children and grandchildren were waiting for him in their house in Guadalupe.

The three of them arrived and the engineer hugged his children and grandchildren and asked that they buy lechon.

After lunch, engineer. Fernandez slept. Shirley said her husband is still in trauma.

Due to his experience, she said the family won’t allow him to work again in Mindanao.

The family plans to attend Mass at the Basilica del Santo Niño soon.

The family said they didn’t pay ransom to the kidnappers and it was God’s will that he escaped from his captors last Sunday morning.

“We did not pay ransom. It was God’s will,” the engineer’s cousin Carmen Fernandez Medel said.

Medel, who is based in Davao City, said Fernandez managed to contact her once during his captivity and he asked for help.

Medel, along with the family, asked for help from Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and other local officials in Cebu.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he would like to meet with the engineer and asked his secretary to schedule a meeting with him.

The mayor reportedly received updates on Fernandez’s situation from Governors Ismael Mangudadatu and Jum Akbar. With Correspondent Fatrick Tabada

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