After the quake: Thoughts and prayers for Bohol and the Visayas

I felt the intensity III earthquake here in Davao that Tuesday morning. Little did I know at that time that a 7.2 magnitude quake’s devastating several areas in the Visayas. I immediately received a message from my mom asking if we have news if my dad’s siblings and relatives in Bohol and in Cebu are okay. It was then that I learned that the epicenter was somewhere in Carmen, Bohol a bit too close to my dad’s hometown. For a while we didn’t have news about relatives in Loon. We just heard that the town was isolated after roads and bridges were damaged.

We later learned that our relatives are safe and that my grandparents’ home still stands despite having sustained some damages. A lot of people, however, were not as lucky. The death toll and damage to the town is heartbreaking. They’ve also been cut-off as roads remain impassable, hopefully not for long. The town needs all the help it can get along with all those areas that are currently hard to reach.

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I remember childhood days spent at Baclayon Church when visiting my uncle who was the parish priest there at that time. We slept inside this huge, old room with an antique bed with lots of bedbugs. But what fascinated me most was the museum/storage room filled with church treasures. The miraculous story behind a particular artifact remains vivid in my mind even after all these years. For a non-Catholic, it was a glimpse to a religion my father’s side of the family devoutly embraced.

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Then there’s Loon Church that I always got to pass by when we took long walks from my grandparents’ home. I’ve always thought of Loon as a closely-knit town of friendly and kind people who acted like everyone’s family. I still find it amazing that I met a lot of relatives in almost every barrio I strayed into in the past.

It’s been too long since my last visit even if my dad goes home at least once every year without fail. I feel like I’ve somehow uprooted myself completely since I never did make much of an effort to follow the family tradition of never missing a fiesta in Loon. This calamity made me realize that roots dig deeper than I thought. It’s heartbreaking to think of the lives lost, the people’s suffering, & the ruins that once have been the pride and joy of the Bol-anons.

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