On October 15, 2013, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the island province of Bohol and the nearby island of Cebu at 8 in the morning, sending people out of their homes in fear and panic. The epicenter of the quake was in the town of Sagbayan but almost half of the island lay shattered and devastated. The old churches, Bohol’s pride, were hugely damaged, some of them crumpled to the ground, as were the case of Loboc, Loon and Maribojoc.
|Tubigon was one of the towns greatly hit by the earthquake|
(Photo grabbed from infobohol.com)
Bohol has never seen this much destruction. The earthquake that struck in the eastern part of the island sometime in February 1990 did not brought this much calamity. The major road networks all over the island were also severely damaged. Bohol, being considered a major tourist destination in the Philippines, has just completed the concreting of most road networks around the island. Considered new, the quake toss them off. Mountains, bridges, buildings, houses and the lives of all Boholanos were never the same again.
|Bohol's icon, the Chocolate Hills, looked like a kid was having tantrums here|
(Photo grabbed from ABS-CBN)
But the Boholano spirit could never be put down.
When the earthquake struck, already the social media was unusually abuzz with lots of activities. Boholanos from all over the world started updating friends, soliciting aid, assisting in the deployment of manpower and equipment to the area most affected, helping relatives find their loved ones. Today, social media is forming another platform among Boholanos as they find ways to boost tourism in the island.
Tourism, a major industry in the province slowed down a bit after the quake. But a few months after, the creative Boholanos took pride in what remained of the devastation. The ruins has become another tourist destination. Piece by piece, the coral stones that became the symbol of Boholano religiosity were gathered and cataloged, in the hope of making these historical stones a future showcase of ingenuity.
|Loon's Catholic church crumpled to the ground killing a parishioner or two|
(Photo grabbed from Cebu Daily News)
To date, majority of the tourism zones have recovered. Panglao Island, although shaken and stirred, remains a favorite escape for the sun-lovers of the world. Like a good martini. People now flock to its beaches and drink their blues away.
Some new adventure sites have also opened their gates to locals and other tourists visiting the island of Bohol. New restaurants and cafes have opened and the old ones are reinventing their menu for new gustatory adventures. Some even are branching out in nearby Cebu.
|Photo grabbed from Rappler.com|
And as we commemorate this painful event in our lives, we put aside our politics, our religion, differences, even our work, to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the quake. We give honor to those who dedicate their time, give financial support and extend efforts so we can recover. Boholanos are sending out our grateful hearts, forever indebted in their kindness, to all the generous donors all over the world.
And mostly to the Boholano pride that has kept us all as one big family, we salute you.
MABUHI KITANG TANAN MGA ‘SANO, MGA ‘SANA!
Updates on the earthquake, according to the government, can be accessed here.
What you can do
Recovery efforts are still undergoing in Bohol. Some are still living under tents or temporary houses. Many students are still doing their classes in makeshift tents. The Batuan Light Bringers (BLB), a group of young people from Batuan, Bohol are still accepting donations, cash or in-kind, for the reconstruction of the houses of those affected in Batuan. Part of your donations are also given yearly to the poor elementary pupils especially in the villages of that town. BLB gives out school supplies during openings of school year and sponsor feeding programs for the malnourished children of Batuan. You can contact the author, or visit Batuan Light Bringers’ FB page and send them a message if you want to donate.