Boholanos cope amid aftershocks
Bohol– Fear remains for many quake victims in Bohol as aftershocks showed no signs of subsiding more than a week after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake devastated it and rattled neighboring provinces in the morning of October 15.
Despite the trepidation every time a tremor occurs, little by little Boholanos are learning to cope and manage their fear so they could get on with their lives.
“Dili nako malikayan. Ma-phobia jud ko kung mo-uyog na sab,” (I can’t help it. I have phobia every time the ground shakes) said Gamaliela Dagondan, a widow in her 50s.
Dagondan turns to prayer to ease her fears.
“Mangadji na lang ko kung mokalit na sab og uyog,” (I just pray when it suddenly starts to shake) and silently tell the Lord “ikaw na ang bahala.”
The widow lives in Tagbilaran City where damage is minimal compared with some towns in the northwest such as Loon, Tubigon, Maribojoc and Sagbayan.
But the horror of the catastrophe is not easy to forget.
“Nagluto ko ato og nikalit lang og uyog. Sunod nakong nahibaw-an, nagdinaganay na ang akong mga anak sa gawas, naninggit og nang hilak,” ( I was cooking at the time when the ground started to rock. Next thing I knew, my children were rushing outside, screaming and crying at the same time) she recalled.
The mother of five recalled seeing the seawater off the front pier of Tagbilaran Port temporarily vanish.
The seaport can be seen just outside her rented apartment.
Her apartment had no significant damage except for belongings in disarray.
Dagondan said she was grateful that her children were not hurt.
Neneng Tista shared the sentiment.
Except for the trauma suffered by her eldest daughter, she still was thankful her family was not injured.
“Nagpasalamat ra ko nga luwas mi tanan,” (I am just grateful that we are safe) she said.
Her house was wrecked and left unfit to live in. A major part crumbled to the ground.
Tista lives in upland barangay Pig-ot in Loon town, the hardest hit in the quake where 90 percent of houses, its church and other infrastructure suffered serious damage.
Tista and four other families share a makeshift tent near their house, fighting off the cold air with blankets and jackets.
When tremors recur, which is quite often, Tista said she just prays.
Loon Mayor Lloyd Peter Lopez was not spared from the quake’s wrath.
He sleeps in a tent in front of the municipal hall.
Nang Aling, a Loon resident whose house was destroyed by the quake, also stays in an evacuation center near the destroyed Loon Church, one of four evacuation centers established by the municipal government.
“Mag sige pa man og linog. Makuyawan jud ta pero unsaon ta man wala man tay mahimo kun di mangadji,” (Tremors are frequent. I get scared but what can we do? We can’t do anything but just pray) Nang Aling said.
Since October 22, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has recorded 2,384 aftershocks of which 57 were felt.
Despite assurances from officials of Phivolcs to Boholanos not to fear a similar 7.2-magnitude earthquake happening again—not in the next 100 years anyway—the island residents could not help but worry and rely on their religious faith as the only remedy to ease their fear.
Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum earlier said the aftershocks would continue for two to three weeks at the most but would diminish in intensity.
The fervent Catholic faith of Boholanos was tested by the earthquake that left over 200 dead and damaged at least 10 heritage churches.
But the same unwavering faith in God is what they rely on to overcome their fear. (Philippine Information Agency 7)
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