Where were you when Cebu shook?

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

WHILE waiting to resume my radio broadcast after a nationwide hook-up with our flagship station, DZBB, I took a nap in my office at the GMA 7 broadcast complex in Nivel Hills, Apas. And then the entire building shook. It was around 8:15 when I was awakened by the strong tremor.

I thought it was a dream. I was not able to react immediately as I was still a bit groggy. You know the mind condition of a person who just woke up.

I sat down on the sofa which also served as my bed, removed the foam and used it to cover my head. Two coffee cups I placed on my table fell to the floor.


My office is in the second floor just beside our announcer's booth. Had the upper floor or rooftop collapsed, I could have been buried alive. It was terrifying. That was the first time I experienced such strong tremor in my whole life. Seismologists said the magnitude of the quake was 7.2.

When I went out of my room and rushed to the announcer's booth, news writer Jasmin Vailoces and the technician on board, Efren Mark Gan, were gone. They rushed to the parking area to be safe. Other personnel from the TV operations group also went to the parking area,

I was not able to go on the air immediately as the electricity went off for a few minutes. Also, our transmitter located in Alumnus, Mambaling conked out.

I texted Mike Enriquez, who was onboard at dzBB at that time. He called me up and I
filed my report. When I went on board, reports were coming in about the extent of the damage in the city and the number of people who died and the number of people injured.

Natural calamities do happen. We cannot prevent them from happening because they are acts of nature.

But of all the natural calamities, only earthquakes cannot be detected. There is no instrument yet for that purpose, especially if the quake is tectonic in origin, like the one that struck us yesterday morning. Earthquakes due to volcanic eruptions can be detected.

In previous earthquakes, we only experienced slight shaking. But yesterday, it was as if a man was using a jackhammer. Volcanologists said the tremor was equivalent to three Hiroshima, Japan-dropped atomic bombs. It lasted for several seconds.

As of this writing, government has counted more than 60 people dead all over the region. Four died at the Pasil Fish Port when its concrete wall collapsed. A four-year-old child died in Pinamungajan following a stampede during the distribution of government’s 4Ps assistance or conditional cash transfer.

The Santo Niño church bell tower collapsed and the alaguete church was heavily damaged. Historical churches in several towns in Bohol, where the epicenter of the earthquake was located, were damaged.

Sakit man tuod kini apan pilit natong dwaton kay gimbut-an man kini sa Labawng Makahagahum. Mag--ampo na lang ta nga din a kini masubli.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 16, 2013.


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