Memories of Earthquakes

The intensity 7.2 earthquake, equivalent to the force of 32 Hiroshima atomic bombs, that hit Bohol and the surrounding provinces, including Cebu and Leyte, brings back a lot of memories. Looking back to to the 1980s, when our place was rocked by never-ending earthquakes:

1. You wish your house is a nipa hut, not concrete. You change your mind when the next typhoon hits.

2. You feel safer sleeping outside; under the open sky, farthest from buildings, power lines or any structure still standing. No problem with safety; everyone is out there anyway.

3. There usually no warning when an earthquake hits. Sometimes there are rumbles that somehow resembles a noisy diesel bus. The only way to know whether that rumbling sound is of an approaching bus or an earthquake? Wait for tremors after a few milliseconds.

4. After a while, though all the aftershocks that vary in strength, you learn which sound you should get worried about. You’ll get used to the aftershocks at some point. You also learn that the more scary earthquake is that which feels and looks like a wave.

5. Those sofa sets with wheels? Your eyes are playing tricks on you. The wheels are turning but the sofa stays where it is. It’s the floor that’s moving.

6. You lose ALL your breakable plates, cups and glasses. You learn to appreciate plastic.

7. If you think you can stay standing up in a strong earthquake, you’re wrong. You crawl on all fours.

8. Your tears fall without you noticing it. But don’t get surprised if the Filipinos’ ability to smile in the middle of tragedy breaks through a few seconds later.

9. You thank God you’re still alive. You do everything possible to stay alive. Yet, early in life, you learn to accept and embrace death.

10. Years down the line, you’ll get puzzled when others get scared with a mild earthquake. And when you say “I know how you feel”, you mean it.

We join the prayers for the safety and recovery of everyone affected by this tragedy.

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