Day of prayer, thanksgiving: Bohol remembers 2013 quake
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol—It still sears the heart as Bohol remembers the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the province three years ago and destroyed infrastructure, houses and lives.
On Saturday, bells tolled and police cars, ambulances and other vehicles blew their horns across much of the province at 8:12 a.m. for 33 seconds, the exact time and duration of the tremor.
In Tagbilaran City, people observed a minute of silence and said a prayer for those who were killed in the earthquake before the start of the Holy Mass at the St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral officiated by Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso.
Provincial officials headed by Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto and residents gathered here to commemorate the event.
In his homily, Medroso said the catastrophe in 2013 showed Boholanos’ courage and grace.
“We don’t like another earthquake to come but we thank the Lord for the opportunity to experience the earthquake for we discovered in us to face realities. We have seen ourselves that after all we are resilient people that we have courage to face more realities. After all, the values of life can only be discovered by people who know how to struggle. And the earthquake has given us the chance to struggle and to have courage,” said Medroso.
He told parishioners that the earthquake made Boholanos realize that life was full of risks and struggles.
“We give our thanks to our God for giving us the reality, that yes our life here on our earth is a life of risks and always a struggle, but we are not afraid anymore to struggle because we go on with God,” he said.
After the Mass, Chatto also gave his message, saying Saturday’s event was a day of prayer and thanksgiving.
“We journey together for full recovery,” said Chatto. “Indeed, a long journey and a difficult one.”
He said the post-earthquake recovery of the province was 95 percent complete because of the progress in the field of tourism, agriculture and investment.
Also after the Mass, the Bohol Resiliency Congress was held at the Bohol Cultural Center to demonstrate the post-earthquake recovery of the different agencies. The event highlighted the rehabilitation, recovery and resiliency efforts through audio-video presentations and photo exhibits.
The families whose loved ones died during the earthquake visited the cemeteries to remember them.
In Sagbayan town, the Somoro and Empinado families visited the Bayong Falls where their five children—siblings Jonalyn and Joellene Somoro, siblings Jess Marvin and Meme Jane Empinado and Reynaldo Sipsip—were buried when the ground trembled while they were swimming.
In Antequera, the Barace family also paused and attended the Holy Mass at the Our Lady of Holy Rosary Church. After the Mass, Rodel Barace and his family went to the cemetery to offer flowers and prayers for four members of his family—father Saturnino, mother Emiliana, sister Elizabeth and son Shame Jyle—who were swallowed altogether by a giant crack.
Clement Lofranco Ingking of Tagbilaran City visited the cemetery for his mother Linda who died due to myocardial infarction aggravated by the earthquake.
Ingking said he thought of his mother daily and refused to move on.
“I just chose not to move on in order not to forget her and all the good memories,” he said.