21 October 2013

Grieving for Bohol

You have got to be made of stone not to feel a pinch in your heart every night as the primetime news programs air the seemingly endless stories emanating each day from the areas hardest hit by last week’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

That was why I felt it almost a civic duty to make a donation yesterday through a local bank to a TV network’s relief efforts for the victims of the earthquake. Not a lot because I do not have a lot to spare to begin with; but in context, the amount of a donation does not matter.

What matters is for all of us to care.

The teller was chatty and as she processed my deposit, she kept telling me how she could not thank the good Lord enough how seemingly insulated we are here in Batangas from the natural calamities that have visited other parts of the country lately.

Knock on wood, I told myself inside my head. These calamities are something of a Russian roulette. The Philippines sitting both along typhoon alley and the ring of fire as it does, the tasteless question to consider for all of us always is when the shot fired will actually have a bullet.


There is talk of restoring all these fallen edifices to their former glory; but God only knows how long the restoration will take. If you have never been to Bohol, then you probably cannot appreciate the full extent of the damage that the earthquake caused.
That is why, if I can afford it, I always make whatever donation I can to private relief efforts whenever a natural disaster visits some part of the country. We just all never know when it will be our turn to beg for relief.

How things will be like is not difficult to imagine as, indeed, video clips are beamed live into television sets nation-wide by the local networks. As of last night, a total of 190 people have been confirmed killed by the earthquake.

This death toll is small when compared to those when significant quakes occur in South Asia or China; and we cannot thank God enough for this. It is the plight of those who survived, however, that sends a chill up my spine every time I watch the primetime news.

The 7.2 magnitude quake was terrifying as it already was; but there have been more than 2,000 recorded aftershocks already since. And counting. How insane is that? The trauma everyone is feeling must be severe and, as such, it is hardly surprising that people prefer to live in makeshift tents whatever the weather rather than return to their homes.

Moreover, due to severe damage to infrastructures, entire villages have been almost completely isolated. As such, there were those who for days have hung on despite the absence of food and potable water. How can anyone remain untouched by that?

While other parts of the Visayas were also hard-hit by last week’s earthquake, it is for Bohol that I grieve the most. This in no small way is due to the fact that I had the good fortune to visit this gem of an island with a group of co-workers back in 2010.

The island used to be quaint and laid back. Tagbilaran, the capital city of the province, does not have high-rises. Most of those who went to Bohol did not even linger in the capital but instead went out to the white-sanded beaches to enjoy the pristine waters or went on guided tours around the island.

I myself found the locals warm, honest, hard-working and fiercely proud of the island that they call home.

Any day-tour would consist of time spent viewing the limestone mounds more commonly known as the Chocolate Hills; having pictures taken with the gentle tarsier; a lunch cruise along Loboc river; and soaking in the fresh air along a man-made forest.

Of course, there were also the innumerable Spanish-era churches and other old buildings that, in a way, made Bohol something of a keeper of our nation’s heritage. Many of these churches now lie in rubbles. Teacher of History that I once was, it distresses me to look at the story of our nation reduced to shapeless stones lying in ugly piles on the ground.

There is talk of restoring all these fallen edifices to their former glory; but God only knows how long the restoration will take. If you have never been to Bohol, then you probably cannot appreciate the full extent of the damage that the earthquake caused.

You also missed your chance to visit one of the genuine jewels of an island that we have in all its proud glory. Maybe one day in the future they will restore the island to what it once was, who knows? What God destroys, He can also rebuild.

To immortalise Bohol in its former glory, here are some pictures that I myself took during my visit in 2010. I even include among the pictures one of a chance encounter with the famous balladeer Jose Mari Chan at a beach in the island of Panglao.

[Click on each picture to enlarge.]

































----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
RELATED STORIES:
Packaging
Fancy Meeting You

Share:

SUBSCRIBE BY E-MAIL

SUPPORT THIS SITE

If you wish to support this site by making a donation for the maintenance costs of this site, please click the PayPal button below:

Big thanks to donors:
Glenn Amante
Timothy Guevarra
John Toomey

CONTACT LIFE SO MUNDANE

Name

Email *

Message *