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Masseuse worked at night market for kids’ sake

/ 12:02 AM September 07, 2016
ARELLANO           PHOTO REPRODUCTION BY JOSELLE R. BADILLA

ARELLANO PHOTO REPRODUCTION BY JOSELLE R. BADILLA

DAVAO CITY—Maria Luz Arellano, like she always did, sent her three children to sleep on the night of Sept. 2, before she went off to work as a masseuse at the night market on Roxas Avenue here.

She asked a neighbor to look after her kids before her husband Edmond, a security in a local shopping mall arrived, from work.

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Maria Luz never returned home. She was one of 14 people killed when a bomb exploded at the night market on Sept. 2. She died 13 days before turning 29.

“Loves, let’s go to the beach on my birthday,” Edmond quoted his wife as telling him on the morning of Sept. 2.

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Those were also the last words of Maria Luz to Edmond before he left for work.

Edmond, 32, said a neighbor woke him up to ask him if Maria Luz was already home as there was a bomb attack at the night market.

That neighbor is also a masseuse, but whose work station was far from Maria Luz’s.

Shocked, Edmond rushed to Roxas Avenue.

“The place was already cordoned off, so I went to hospitals in the city to check if she was there,” he said.

Edmond said he failed to see his wife’s name in any of the hospitals’ medical bulletins.

From past 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., Edmond searched for his wife.

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He decided to go home to check on their children. At 5 a.m., he went to the nearest police station to ask for any information regarding his wife, but went home empty-handed.

Just as he arrived home, a neighbor informed him about an unidentified dead woman at Southern Philippines Medical Center.

It was almost 6 a.m. when he arrived at the hospital and saw his wife in the morgue.

“I could hardly recognize her. I [was able to identify her only] because of our wedding ring,” he said, adding that the blast destroyed almost half of his wife’s face.

Maria Luz had wounds in the head, arms, legs and back.

Maria Luz was just on her fourth month as a masseuse when the tragedy struck.

Edmond said his wife begged him to allow her to work to help send their children to school.

Maria Luz left behind three children—Dave Yukixis, 6; Athea Femme, 4; and Zxania Nicole, 2, who still depended on her mother for breast milk.

Dave Yukixis, a Grade 1 pupil at Buhangin Central Elementary School, said he would sometimes join his mother at the night market.

But on the night of the bombing, Maria Luz told her son to stay home.

“She told me to come with her some other time as there were lots of people that night,” Dave said.

Edmond has not reported for work since Saturday, saying he cannot leave the children and his wife’s wake.

Edmond is worried he will lose his job. “I hope the children will get an educational scholarship. I want them to finish school,” he said.

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TAGS: blast, Bombing, Davao, Explosion, Maria Luz Arellano, masseuse, victim
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