Saturday, September 1, 2012


I am reblogging a part of my previous blog:

This was one from my archives circa 1988

I decided to reblog a part of the blog because of the most recent earthquake which happened yesterday, August 31, 2012.
I felt the tremors while I was in Davao and I realized most of my friends from other parts of the Philippines also felt it, except my friends in Zamboanga. 

The epicenter of the earthquake was about 112 kms. of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
Here is part of the news with this link:

Power was knocked out in some areas in Visayas and Mindanao when the magnitude-7.6 quake that hit Eastern Visayas Friday night, authorities said Saturday.

Guiuan, Eastern Samar Mayor Annaliza Kwan said that while the damage to her town was minimal, the quake had knocked out electricity there.

“Ang problema lang we have no electricity. Sabi sa akin ng electric company they will try their best to restore it today [Saturday],” she said in an interview on “Balitanghali.”

On the other hand, she said residents were relatively calm and did not panic when the quake struck.

Friday night’s quake was felt at Intensity VII in Guiuan. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology considers an Intensity VII quake “Destructive.”

At least 153 aftershocks were recorded as of 8 a.m. Saturday, some 12 hours after the quake.

I also read that Guiuan is frequently visited by earthquakes from the Earthquake tracks with this link:

Guiuan has had:
·       9 earthquakes today
·       14 earthquakes in the past 7 days
·       16 earthquakes in the past month
·       61 earthquakes in the past year

I will always remember Guiuan, Samar as one of the places I went to in a chopper. 
I would like to think this was for the purpose of luxury, but NO! 
I have in my mind images of destruction when I think of Guiuan, and at that time, it was destruction from a strong typhoon!

Here goes my reblog, although, I will not include Bantayan Island, Cebu and Roxas City, Capiz:

We experience lots of tropical depressions and typhoons in the Philippines and this is an issue which continues to be discussed at the local level and the national level, finding ways to be prepared, "were they prepared ?", "were there casualties ?" and the like.

In 1988, when accessibility for typhoon relief was more difficult, I was lucky to be part of the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) Medical Missions in the Visayas for Typhoon Yoning (Typhoon Skip), although, I though it was Typhoon Yoling.

November 5-8, 1988
230 kph

over water
217 kph

November 6, 1988 - Typhoon Skip reached its peak strength with 230 km/h (145 mph) winds, just east of the Philippines. Skip made landfall soon after killing about 100 people.

These were the places we travelled to for the SMC Visayas Medical Mission circa 1988.
Unfortunately, I wasn't much into photography yet but I was already into documentation.

Although, these places are usually tourist destinations, I couldn't fully appreciate their beauty because there was much destruction about and the main purpose of the trip was SERVICE!

I would like to share these photos because they can give you images of history, landmarks and realities.

This MAP shows you the places we served that time.

Second Stop: Guiuan, Eastern Samar via Tacloban, Leyte

Tacloban, Leyte
from Wikipedia:
The City of Tacloban (Waray: Ciudad han Tacloban, Tagalog or Filipino: Lungsod ng Tacloban) is a port city approximately 360 miles southeast of Manila. It is the first in Eastern Visayas to be classified as a Highly Urbanized City. It is the capital of the Philippine province of Leyte and is the largest city in terms of population[4]in Eastern Visayas. It is also considered as the regional center of the Region VIII. Tacloban was briefly the seat of the Philippine Commonwealth Government, from October 20, 1944 to February 27, 1945.
Here are some of the places we visited in Tacloban, Leyte.
This is Leyte Landing Memorial Park.
from Wikipedia:
Leyte was the first to be liberated by the combined Filipino and American troops. General Douglas MacArthur’s assault troops landed in the Tacloban and Palo beaches (White Beach and Red Beach, respectively) and in the neighboring town of Dulag (Blue Beach) on October 20, 1944. These landings signaled the eventual victory of the Filipino and American forces and the fulfillment of MacArthur’s famous promise: "I Shall Return."
"I shall return"
And the San Juanico Bridge, bridging Leyte and Samar.
from Wikipedia.
The San Juanico Bridge, part of the Pan-Philippine Highway, stretches from Samar to Leyte across the San Juanico Strait in the Philippines. Its longest length is a steel girder viaduct built on reinforced concrete piers, and its main span is of an arch-shaped truss design. With a total length of 2.16 kilometers (1.34 mi),[1] it is the longest bridge in the Philippines spanning a body of seawater. It is considered one of the most beautifully-designed bridges in Philippines[2]. The bridge has 43 spans and medium size boats can pass beneath its large main arch the top of which rises 41 meters above the sea.[1] Construction commenced in 1969 over San Juanico Strait from Cabalawan, Tacloban City to the municipality of Santa Rita, Samar, with completion in 1973.[3]

Then, we are off to Guiuan, Eastern Samar by chopper.
Guiuan is significant because it is said Ferdinand Magellan landed in the island of Homonhon, which is part of Guiuan, Samar.,_Eastern_Samar
Guiuan is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Eastern Samar, Philippines. As of year 2004, it has a population of 43,647 people in 7,618 households.
Guiuan is a significant part of the Philippine history. In the 16th century, when Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines, it is believed that he first landed on the island of Homonhon. It is probably because of this fact that the majority of the population of the town are devout Catholics and the town's church, the Church of the Immaculate Conception, is one of the oldest in the country.
During the Second World War, Guiuan served as one of the Alliance's bases. What's left of the American occupation nowadays are just concrete slabs which once served as the foundations of a vast supply depot, and an air strip which now serves as the town's own airport.

We landed at Guiuan Airport.

from Wikipedia:
Guiuan Airport was originally a United States Navy air base in World War II.
After forces led by General Douglas Macarthur landed on Leyte on October 20, 1944, the first step towards the liberation of the Philippines from Japanese occupation, work began on improving or constructing several airfields around the area.
The US Navy initially attempted to construct a strip on the Samar shore of San Pablo Bay. It was soon found to be unusable after heavy rain, so the project was abandoned. After a brief search, Navy engineers settled on Guiuan, a town on the southeast promontory of Samar. 
After the war, the airfield was turned over to the Philippine government.

We conducted a Medical Mission sponsored by San Miguel Corporation and Coca-Cola Bottlers Corporation.

with my Dad, Dr. Napoleon Ricamora, SMC Visayas Medical Head and with Cheche Lazaro of Probe Team  
The aftermath of the Typhoon was covered by the Probe Team headed by Cheche Lazaro. I had the chance to meet her there.
from Wikipedia:
Probe Profiles (formerly known as Probe,The Probe Team and The Probe Team Documentaries) was a Philippine public affairs program being aired on ABS-CBNand on its sister cable channel, the ANC. It is hosted by Cheche Lazaro and is produced by Probe Productions Inc., under a joint co-production agreement with ABS-CBN.
The show, considered as the pioneer television news-magazine in the Philippines, started airing in 1987 on ABS-CBN, with Lazaro, Maria Ressa (formerly ABS-CBN News head and former CNN Jakarta bureau chief), and Luchi Cruz-Valdez (currently TV5 News and Information Head and former ABS-CBN Current Affairs head as well as former GMA Network executive) at the helm. After nine months, it moved to GMA Network as a blocktimer. It was in GMA where The Probe Team had its longest run in its history. The show recently ended on June 30, 2010.
These were the effects of the Typhoon... roof of the elementary school fell to the ground... electric posts also fell to the ground... trees were uprooted... the convent walls were torn and most affected were the folks living by the seaside. 
Needless to say, we did not have any electricity and with paucity of potable water.
Schoolhouse roof fell to the ground

uprooted trees

electric post on the ground

destroyed convent
This is the Immaculate Conception Church in Guiuan, Samar.

Immaculate Conception Church is regarded as the finest baroque church in Eastern Visayas. The construction began in 1630. From 1844 onwards, it had been renovated and enhanced a lot of times.

The church's facade has three engaged columns, arches and carvings on the pediments. It has a beautiful hand carved altar with a retablo of saints and religious characters. Its main nave is two meters higher than the transept. The church is listed as a National Cultural Treasure.

Here is another feature I read about this Church.
Church of the Immaculate Concepcion (Guiuan, province of Samar)
     Built in the 18th century under the direction of the Jesuits, additions were made by the Recollects when they took over the church in the 19th century. This structure is an excellent example "fortress baroque." The church forms one side of the fort. Its exuberantly carved doors are also the doors of the fort. The richness of the interior is in total contrast to the squat, bulky and plain outline of the church exterior. Richly carved and highly polychromed retablos are the focal points of the apse and transept. The most notable aspect of the church is the shell and coral mosaic swags that outline the clerestory and the baptisery.
But, what caught our attention was this richly carved wooden door, which was also the door of the fort.

There was no electricity. At night, we had to make do with this kind of lamp just to have light.

We are now on our way home.

What an interesting Medical Mission we indeed had ! = = by chopper in Bantayan and Guiuan, Samar and in Roxas City, by Speed boat!!!

The experience I had in the different SMC Medical Missions in 1988 was an eye-opener for me.

We felt the worst situation especially in Guiuan, which was hard hit and extensive because it was in the Typhoon belt itself!
We experience black-outs, little water, destruction was most visible and everyone was affected.

We also saw a different kind of worse flood situation in the coastal areas of Capiz, but outside of the affected areas, we were very comfortable and well cared for.

We rode helicopters and speed boats just to go to the inaccessible areas.

And I noted, the places to visit even at times like these were still the Churches.

I thank San Miguel Corporation for the opportunities given to me, but most of all, my Dad (then, Head of SMC Vis-Min Medical) because he chose me and allowed me to go to these places ... for SERVICE and for EXPERIENCE!

As for Guiuan, Eastern Samar, I have realized that their risk for natural calamities especially, typhoons and earthquakes is so high and I feel sad for them, considering I really saw the destruction at one time in my life. 

I do hope their local government has more than enough political will to keep the community prepared because I know the natural calamities in this present era have been too harsh to the populace and even how prepared the community is, it might not be enough !!!

May the Lord keep all of us safe from all these natural disasters!!!


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