At 8:12 AM two days ago, the earth shook….. HARD.
We were still upstairs and we watched as the floor we stood on started shaking like jello and all of our things started falling to the floor. All I could do was hold on to the door frame which was the only safe place to stay in our bedroom (as both S and I are too big to fit under the bed) and pray our kids were keeping their cool and remembered to hide under tables or solid surfaces as we had taught them.
The shaking went on for almost 2 minutes. The second the shaking stopped, S and I ran downstairs and screamed for everyone to go outside.
We were all happy to be safe. My daughter looked like she a little rattled as she was alone in the study room while my son seemed to be having an adrenaline rush and was acting a little hyper.
We were milling around outside as aftershocks continued to shake the ground beneath our feet. My sister-in-law and her kids were also outside in their pajamas and we chatted amiably as we waited for things to calm down.
We went back inside to survey the damage to the house… and breathed a sigh of relief. There were some cracks in the wall and chips in the paint but they are obviously superficial. We started cleaning up and picking up the things that the quake threw to the ground. After texting and calling our friends and family, we set out to check if our offices and stores were severely affected by the quake.
Online, news of the quake tore up the social media sites as people started posting the damage to offices, schools, malls, and homes.
What caused the most interest though was the damage caused to the historical landmarks throughout Bohol and Cebu which everyone is painfully aware will be hard or next to impossible to restore.
Despite all the damage though that the quake caused we can’t help but feel the timing of the quake was a stroke of luck and a huge blessing because it was a national holiday. People had no work. Children had no school. Families were mostly still together eating breakfast or still enjoying sleeping in their beds. It wasn’t a Sunday so people weren’t at church which were among the buildings hardest hit by the quakes. The loss of life, although already big, could have been a LOT worse if it were a regular working day or a Sunday.
Today, 48 hours after the initial quake, we are still suffering from strong aftershocks ranging from 2.5 to 5.5 (just at 730 am today!) in magnitude every 30 minutes or more. It’s still disconcerting when solid ground, for a moment, turns into a shaking mass. Sometimes, it’s only a minor shaking which feels like a vertigo attack… the bigger quakes though are downright scary where you can really hear the building or house you’re in creak in protest.
I’m nervously monitoring a crack on my wall that keeps getting bigger with every aftershock. It seems to be a superficial crack because there is no corresponding crack at the other side but I can’t wait for a structural engineer to come and put our concerns to bed.
However, structural engineers are in extreme high demand and are called to prioritize highly public buildings like hospitals, churches, offices and schools. The constant aftershocks aren’t helping lessen the workload, forcing the engineers to check and recheck buildings they’ve already visited previously.
In Cebu, one hospital has been deemed unsafe so patients are splayed all over the streets and nearby open spaces. The doctors and nurses are working overtime to keep everyone safe and healthy out in the open, exposed to nature and pollution.
In Bohol, thousands more need access to basic needs like food, water and shelter which could be difficult to get because the damage to bridges make some towns inaccessible.
As usual, the Filipino spirit is undaunted. There are charity projects sprouting up all over Cebu. People have organized themselves in the effort to help complete strangers. Slowly, people are mobilizing themselves and preparing to donate food and other necessities for the people who were more severely affected by the quake.
Slowly, Cebu is trying to get back to normal despite the aftershocks. Hopefully the aftershocks will decrease in number more and more each day so we can stop worrying and focus everything on rebuilding and helping the people in Bohol.
Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry will start a fund and donation drive for the earthquake victims of Bohol. The office is still awaiting clearance from the structural engineer but they are hoping to be ready to receive donations by tomorrow. Cash Donations are highly welcome through RCBC Bank Account Name Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc with Account Number 0-451-14315-8.
Please open your hearts and help Bohol.