Memories of Bohol and the 1990 Killer Quake

Who ate my chocolate hills?

Who ate my chocolate hill?

It was one of those unplanned trips in 2011 when me and family went to Bohol for a visit. We stayed in my husband’s grandfather’s house in Getafe which is one and a half hours from Tagbilaran City.

My husband’s grandfather’s house is big and is located in a family compound. The source of water is limited to a well that is at least one kilometer from the old man’s house so water is a luxury in that area. Cellphone signal for Smart subscriber is poor and most of the people at the compound is using Globe. The air is so fresh and clean but humidity is high so my hair easily gets sticky. The beaches in Talibon are not yet well-developed but the place is well-maintained so I have no problem with that. The biggest bonus is the luxury of eating fresh prawns everyday at half the price in Manila!

Oh, Bohol, I fell in love with you the moment I set foot on you on February 2011! Everybody seemed to be happy and welcoming. It would break my heart to see you ruined if we happen to be given a chance to be back there in 2014. Last Tuesday, an officemate informed me about the earthquake and when I saw the damage through the internet, I checked on my sister-in-law in Cebu if they were safe. (Yes, they were!)

So far, the earthquake that traumatized me was the 1990 killer quake that hit Central and Northen Luzon. I was alone in the house when I felt the tremor. The first thing that came to my mind was my parents and my brother’s safety. The two-week class suspension then gave me the opportunity to watch all kinds of news about the damage in Baguio, Cabanatuan and Dagupan.

I can still remember how a young teenage student, whose lower body was trapped under the rubbles, died two days after a brief TV interview. (Talk about the LIVE coverage, huh!) Baguio, a famous tourist destination in the Philippines, was a total wreck! (They managed to bounce back fast; there little traces of the earthquake when I went there in 1994)

The earthquakes that I experienced in Baguio where more of vertical movements so I didn’t find it alarming at all. But experts said that a vertical movement is more damaging than a horizontal one just like what happened in 1990.

It’s saddening to lose the centuries-old churches in Bohol which are considered to be tourist attraction because of their historical value. There are roads to repair and citizens to be financially assisted, too. Sagbayan and Carmen, two of Bohol’s tourist destinations are affected so income from tourism is not reliable at this point.

Baguio was quick to recover because tourism was not just its main source of income. They have well-established universities like University of Baguio, Baguio Colleges Foundation (University of the Cordillera) and Saint Louis University so the place is highly commercial with the influx of students from local and abroad. They have large companies like Texas Instruments and Moog. Aside from the city government’s budget, the likelihood of faster restoration is high for high-profile places.

The same cannot be said about Bohol where tourism, fishing and agriculture is the main source of livelihood. I hope that donations will reach the affected citizens on time. Yes, Bohol and Cebu can rise again.