Shaken



October 15, 2013. A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Central Visayas. With epicenter at Carmen, Bohol, the earthquake shook to destruction many buildings in Cebu and Bohol. Hotels were cracked and old churches were almost brought to dust. The energy released by the quake was claimed to be equivalent to 32 Hiroshima bombs.

The scenes in the news were heart-breaking and depressing. I couldn’t help but shed a tear or two. I had been to Cebu and Bohol a couple of times and I had visited some of their churches. Images and videos of how the quake crumbled the old churches in Dauis and Baclayon were ghastly. These structures had stood the test of time, being witnesses to the unfolding of the romantic history of the Philippines. They endured the furies of war and climate; and yet, they finally succumbed to the wrath of the great earthquake which news said to be the strongest in the country for the last 23 years. Being built of corals and limestone shells, the churches were easily damaged.

It touched my heart. These churches do not only represent the strong faith by the Boholanos. They are the livelihood of the people. Bohol mostly lived from tourism and the churches are major tourist destinations. Not only their old fa├žade and fine architecture, but also the impressive drawings and arts in the ceilings are the source of wonder of these churches. With the crumbling of these structures, a great part of the Boholanos’ lives has been hurt and damage.

October 17, 2013. A new fault system was discovered and found to be the culprit of the massive earthquake. True epicenter of the quake was pointed to Sagbayan. Already, at least 156 people had been found dead.

The great tragedy, no matter how sad and unfortunate, had open doors to several things. With the discovery of new fault, extensive investigations were done across the country for similar incidents. With the crumbling of the churches, structures in many key places were restudied and reevaluated for possible hazards. With the increasing fatalities, aids and support poured for the victims. Once again, the Filipino nation was hand in hand in facing the calamity. Not only Bohol was shaken; the entire country was struck with grief at the devastation of one of its islands.

October 19, 2013. Fatalities rose to 170 in Bohol and 12 in Cebu. At least 583 people were injured and 13 people remained missing. In Bohol, 372,565 people were displaced from their homes. A total of 1,937 aftershocks had been recorded, 33 of which were strong enough to be felt.

In the news, victims of the quake were famished and dried from lack of water and food. Relief goods were not enough. With the destruction of roads and bridges, many barangays remained isolated. In many places in Bohol, children were begging to passersby for food and water. And with every help which came, no matter how little it is, tears flowed. There was just too much hunger, but too few means to alleviate the problem.


Now. Masses were performed in the untouched portions of the damaged churches. Many isolated areas had been reached through choppers. Red Cross and volunteers brought in more relief goods and items.

Once again, I could not help but shed a tear or two from the news I saw on TV. Bohol remains far from being recovered. Yet somehow, they struggle to get up and fight. They had been badly shaken and devastated, but help was extended by their fellow Filipino men. Shaken but not fallen. Crumbled but not pulverized. In time, from the dust shall rise a stronger structure, a stronger Bohol, and a stronger nation.

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