for the debris to fall, the glass to break, the electrical wirings to spark,
the alarm to bell, or the water sprinkles to shower us – but they did not.
the food served, the soft drink in an 80 percent filled glass, jumped. The
table moved a millimeter closer to another table. My heartbeat pumped at its
own pace driven by the 30-seconds earthquake.
ran outside of the third level of the structure going to the veranda of Ayala
mall fronting the Terraces. I couldn’t count them, but I distinguished one guy
(and he distinguished me) wearing a La
Salle jacket, we looked at each other figuring out our sense of
being. Instead of running, he walked, while looking at me sitting comfortably.
calm while seeing eye-to-eye at the two senior citizens secured by a
wheel-chair, two meters away from me. Leaving behind their belongings, no other
customers left, and they ran for dear life -- including the waiters and
ago, when I attended an international conference on occupational health and
safety, I experienced the structure moved fast, as if it danced its finale. And
I almost gasped my last then when we experienced a quake similar in magnitude.
friend arrived and ate his lunch recalling that he, too, ran for his dear life.
after the earthquake, I proceeded to Parian to visit my old office, the Visayas
Human Development Agency, Inc. (a non-government organization which provides
legal aid, education and research to the labor force) to meet long-lost
St., a resident was shot to death in his head and
died without even affected by the tsunami scare. He was scared for life.
minutes of staying at Parian, people began shouting “tsunami”… “tsunami”…
“tsunami”... My heart trembled again – driven by the false alarm; without even
noticing the change of pronunciation, was it “tsunami” or “chu na mae”.
outside in a three-storey structure, I saw a sea of humanity with all vigor, shouting,
running, crying, finding comfort in a direction they don’t know where. Then I
went downstairs to check the people and tried to comfort some.
saw some women shouting, “kuya…kuya, naay chu na mae”. I assured them that no
tsunami will ever hit us. Comforted by my presence (or was it me comforted by
their presence?), while people continued to run for safety, we returned to a
direction where people feared.
proceeded to a homely comfort at the Good Shepherd Welcome House, Inc. (a
drop-in center for prostituted women and children run by the Religious of the
Good Shepherd where I currently served as a member of its Advocacy Team) almost
seventy meters away from my old-office – without getting wet or washed away by
“chu na mae.”
realized I forgot to bring my whistle.