The Day I Almost Died

Seeing the news reports regarding the recent calamity that struck Iligan and Cagayan de Oro reminded me my most unforgettable life event.  It reminded me of the day that I survived.

We were playing under the rain that morning outside our house in Ormoc City.  It was the 5th of November 1991.  Me, my Ate Candy and my younger sister, Honey.  We were all smiles because class was cancelled due to Typhoon Uring.  As usual, we took a nap while our yaya prepared our lunch.

When woke up about an hour later and our slippers were already floating almost reaching the top part of the bed. We frantically scrambled out of our bedroom.  Outside, our yaya was already crying and panicking. Good thing Ate Candy had presence of mind, she was only 9 years old then. She guided us to the door which leads to the second floor of our ancestral house but it was locked and the water level was rising quickly. Ate had to leave  me and my younger sister on top of our kitchen table while she tried to break open the locks to keep us above the water. I was 4 years old and my younger sister, 2 years old.

Ate Candy finally managed to open the door leading to the second floor. She took my younger sister up and then came back for me. When she came to take me, the table was already floating and the water was around her neck already. She desperately tried to swim. Our yaya was in total shock that time. All she did was cry upstairs. We were able to go upstairs right on time. Relieved that we were on higher ground we looked at the window.

I remember the sight of people being taken away by the strong water current.  Lots of them crying for help but all I could do was watch them pass by as the waters engulf them. Our neighbors broke some of the windows of our house trying to find a place where they can be safe.

None of our parents were at home. It was only late that night, when my mom came from work from the geothermal power plant that she had learned of what had happened. Half of the house was covered in mud. Everything she saved up for was gone. We were left with a house submerged in mud. The only clothes we had were the ones we were wearing.

For days, we had to walk across the mud to get water. My sisters and I would run everytime we saw Red Cross truck. We knew they were bringing food, clothes and other relief goods.  I remember how I smiled with the sight of even a simple pack of noodles. We would sleep for nights inside a house with no real walls. I would fall asleep to the sound of the dump trucks. From day to night, I would see countless of bloated bodies stacked up like garbage as they were being taken by trucks. They even recovered six dead bodies within our land, one was even found right near our staircase. Who could ever forget the stench that we had to bear with?

I saw death in my young eyes.  We knew how it was to lose everything in just a matter of minutes.  We learned how to be thankful at an early age. For we have lost all our material possessions but our lives were spared.

I know how it is to be a victim. I was very young then but that very event taught me to value life and how important helping out is.

It was the deadliest typhoon that hit Philippines leaving roughly 8,000 dead.

Somehow I am thankful for social media and for mobile communications now, how I wish we had it on that faithful day.

Helping now is a lot easier. No excuse to not show love to our fellow Filipinos.

I survived and our city did too. With the help from others we were able to recover fast. Let’s do our best to help the recent victims too.  Volunteer. Donate. Care.


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  1. na imagine ko pinag daanan nyo…katakot..well be safe nalang..always prepared talaga especially sa mga malapit sa dagat at ilog

      • kwento ka pa mga pinag daanan mo…naiimagine ko weh,,katakot.. at dapat marunong kana lumangoy…kamusta naman ormoc mag bumabagyo?

        • Kailangan namin mag igib ng tubig maglakad sa maputik na daan. Lahat ng damit namin galing sa relief na ukay-ukay. Kanya-kanyang pila kami magkakapatid para mas marami pagkain makuha. Hehe. Hmmm nagpasko kami na walang wala.

          Di kami marunong lumangoy that time kaya the year after pinasali kami agad sa swimming lessons ng Phil. Red Cross.

          Ngayon pag may bagyo di na masyadong na aapektuhan ung city. Siguro kasi we’ve gone through the worst possible situation kaya natuto na rin mga government officials at lessened na rin ung illegal logging.

          • pano yan lahat ng gamit nyo mga appliances sira lahat?..pati pera nyo basa din?… wawa naman… parents mo nasan that time?.. mga relative s mo naka survive din?… mabuti marunong ka na lumangoy 😀

            • Lahat ng naipundar ng mga parents ko sira na. Kahit ung ibang laruan namin nun na padala ng tita ko nakita ko na nilalaro na ng ibang bata kasi inanod.

              Mama ko kasi nagtatrabaho that time sa geothermal powerplant sa bundok sya kaya di nya alam. Ung papa ko naman nasa Samar that time.

              Swerte ung relatives ko kasi elevated ung tinirhan nila malapit na rin sa bundok kaya di sila apektado.

              Ung barangay namin malapit lang sa ilog at sa dagat kasi biglang lakas ng tubig mula sa bundok e.

  2. Prayers for all our kababayan’s that was affected by the tragedy.. I hope that we start to protect our Mother Nature and love what our Good LOrd has given to us.. I’m praying not just for my family, but the humanity..we still have the chance.. Ask the Lord for guidance.. I pray this on Jesus Name.. Amen..

  3. I like how your message stands out the most.. reading the whole piece made me feel bad and sad in the same time. Not only that i am thankful that you and your siblings survived, but i also agree with you. You are right about how social media play an important role now a days. It is good that it has become accessible for everyone to channel their resources so they will be able to help those who are in need. Specially whenever our countrymen is in need. Weather it is money or support or material and what ever are considered as relief goods, i am glad by how our fellow kababayans react to this kind of situations now a days. I remember my mom telling me stories about the Ormoc tragedy. She is from Cahagnaan,Leyte.. They weren’t affected much by the typhoon,lucky for them.. But anyways, thank you for sharing your story…

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