February 12, 2012

Farewell, Whitney

Sunday, February 12, 2012 Posted by Mary , No comments
Today (February 11 in the United States), one of the greatest singers of all time, Whitney Houston, died. My heart is aching. I grew up listening to her music and I loved her songs very much. She had the most wonderful voice and she made the most beautiful songs. She truly was my idol.

But she didn't find happiness in this life, despite her beautiful voice that made so many people happy. With her passing, heaven has gained another angel and her soul can now finally be happy.

Rest in peace, Whitney. You will always be remembered.

February 7, 2012

After the Quake

Tuesday, February 07, 2012 Posted by Mary , , No comments
It feels like the island of Negros is being re-shaped. We've been having aftershock after aftershock since the earthquake the other day, which was apparently caused by a blind fault--a fault that no one knew existed. As of 6:00 pm yesterday, there have already been over 1,500 aftershocks. They've gotten even worse today: stronger and more frequent.

My mom is devastated because the hardest-hit area is the area of her hometown, some two hours from Dumaguete. La Libertad is where she grew up and it has been battered, along with the town where she spent her high school, Guihulngan, which has been hit the worst. Our relatives in La Libertad are left without access to food, electricity, and fuel. The house that my parents built for my grandparents is partially damaged, with the comfort room having collapsed. We've sent my uncle to bring them food, and thank goodness there's a spring near where they live that they can get water from.

Pictures have now surfaced and the damage is just unbelievable! Roads have cracked, buildings have crumbled, and bridges have been broken. They're images we've only seen on TV before, as news from faraway places and even scenes from fictional doomsday movies. I can't believe they're happening here, on my beautiful sock-shaped island, and just a few hours away from me. It makes me realize that when nature exposes its wrath, there is truly very little we can actually do to help ourselves.

A road in Guihulngan. How will this ever be fixed?
© Florence Baesa

February 6, 2012


Monday, February 06, 2012 Posted by Mary , , , No comments
Today, at 11:49 am, Dumaguete experienced an Intensity 7 earthquake. I was at work at the time, and the quake was really strong! After the tremors subsided, we thought all was okay, but suddenly, some of our students mentioned receiving text messages of receding waters in the shorelines of the towns nearby. I immediately came home and told my mom to get ready in case we needed to evacuate. The husband of our housekeeper came, and he started telling us that we needed to get to higher ground. I don't know where he got the information, but we gathered our important belongings and documents and decided to head up to the adjacent town of Valencia in the mountains.

While we were on the road, they starting broadcasting on the radio that a level 2 tsunami alert was being raised in our province. Good thing we had an early start, because around 30 minutes after we started moving, people in our city apparently started to panic and were making a mad dash for the hills. The roads leading up to the mountains were full of cars and people! By this time, my mom and I were already safely tucked away in my uncle's house in an elevated part of Valencia.

Thankfully, there was no tsunami. Frankly, it's probably not likely that we will have a huge tsunami in this area because we are in between islands, but at that time, I don't think we were thinking. Fortunately, there was no major damage in Dumaguete. The earthquake, with an epicenter off the shores of the town of Tayasan, some 72 km north of Dumaguete, was still considered "inland". Although the center was in the sea, it was still close to land, so there was no tsunami. It was devastating in some towns north of the city though. Thirteen people have been declared dead in the province, with over 20 more missing.

The earthquake certainly shook us up, and now, less than 12 hours after it happened, there has apparently been over 150 aftershocks. We felt a handful of them, and we're all a teeny bit paranoid. We're hoping and praying, though, that there will be no more tremors.

Here are some photos from all over Negros Oriental, taken from Facebook, on this extremely stressful day.

Debris at Robinsons Place Dumaguete
Starting to panic, at the city center
In Guihulngan, the worst-hit town
In Tayasan, near the epicenter