Earthquake devastates centuries-old Catholic churches

bohol1Having learned earthquakes during my mining school days, I am one that has come to develop an awesome respect for this phenomenon not only at the various ways it emanates from, but more so about its devastating effects.

I can only thank the heavens that when a 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Bohol at 8:12 a.m. yesterday, Tuesday, and which also shook Cebu pretty badly, that it was still relatively early and that it was a holiday.

Reports say that the death toll rose to 93 already with Bohol having 77 deaths and 15 others coming from Cebu province and Siquijor Island.

One could just imagine if the earthquake happened late in the morning, when people start filling up the malls, the theaters and all the normally crowded places, like the elevators.

It could have been worst if it struck in the evening, what with the blackout, the chaos and, certainly, the ensuing stampeding panicky crowd. What comes to mind are helpless people with disabilities and children.

Thus, when the earthquake struck, which according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), packed an energy equivalent to 32 Hiroshima atomic bombs, and destroyed roads and other infrastructures, damaged and made questionable the existence of old and new buildings because of its heavy cracks, and put to ruins historical buildings, like centuries-old limestone churches in Bohol and Cebu, which have become icons for tourism in this day and age, I could only lament at how inadequate and puny we are, as people with intelligence, when we are up against the wrath of nature.

I am talking specifically about the Spanish colonial-built Baclayon and Loboc churches in Bohol and Cebu’s Basilica Minore del Santo Niño that are no longer what they are – old, beautiful, solemn, inspiring and the sanctum of peace and tranquility for the faithful beseeching for God’s help and mercy.

I could only sympathize with those who have lost their loves ones and those whose sufferings have been exacerbated by the deadly earthquake.

Aftershocks continue as I write and panic is still in the hearts of many.

On the lighter (humorous?) side, I was preparing myself to bring my car for a check-up at Honda’s. As soon as I was left with nothing but my underwear, the strong tremor started shaking the house. Realizing that it was an earthquake and knowing that my wife, who was tending the garden, is so fearful and loathe earthquakes, like you won’t believe it, I was caught in a Catch-22 situation whether to put back by shorts on or just go to her rescue.

Finally decided, to hell with my shorts, and rushed outside where I saw my poor wife holding on to dear life at the small Talisay tree, seemingly calling my name, but no voice coming out. I then grabbed her and brought her inside the house.

To my surprise, she still had the sanity to inquire why we were inside the house and not outside, as taught to people during earthquakes.

The darn morbid truth, however, is that I didn’t want people, especially the curious ones, to have the satisfaction of ogling at and talking about what I had on if something disastrous happened to me.

That is just as bluntly as I can put it and glad that the humor put a little smile on her clearly fearful face.

And life goes on…..

(For images of before and after ruins of the churches please go to these links: http://ph.news.yahoo.com/photos/before-and-after-visayas-famed-churches-slideshow/baclayon-church-photo-1377606822571.html  and http://www.rappler.com/life-and-style/technology/136-viral/41457-before-after-photos-earthquake-visayas-bohol-cebu  – Quierosaber)

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4 comments on “Earthquake devastates centuries-old Catholic churches

  1. Thank you for that humorous account of your earthquake moment. That was definitely a catch-22 and I’d go back inside, too, if it were me. I live in L.A. now but was raised in Cebu, but I appreciate the perspective you gave regarding the time of the earthquake, too. Thank you 🙂

    • quierosaber says:

      Been through lots of earthquakes in my life but this one seems to be the most vicious of them all. More than just the rocking, it is the sudden jolts that actually toppled the fragile, old churches, cracked-open roads, brought down bridges and damaged building structures. Could still vividly remember seeing the wall inside the house abutting with the ceiling parting and coming together again during every jolt. Thanks for dropping by.

      • The jolts definitely tell you that it’s a strong one! You must be so busy checking on the house foundation and everything right now! Hoping that there are no more aftershocks!

      • quierosaber says:

        Definitely did that as soon as pulse rate went down. Unbelievable there wasn’t any crack/damage! God still on our side. Even as I write aftershock still happening – though getting far in between.

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