2014: Surviving the Depths of Hell

2014 started calmly. The first few days of the year was still preoccupied by the serenity of our Palawan trip during the Christmas holidays.

el nido palawan

From the entry, “Palawan’s Gods and Goddesses.”

Thank you for being my nature-tripping buddy, Nessa. And thanks din kay Xe na wala akong picture ngayong taon. ūüôā


January and February reintroduced me to blogging. I realized that online writing was more than just letting things out. The door was reopened. Yes, reopened, because I used to take it for granted when it first commenced in front of me. So these were the days of catching up.

And then there was Mt. Damas.

Mt. Damas

Buwis-buhay! Photo by Karina de Capia. From the entry, “Jewels in the Damas.”

It was my first climb of the year. But I never thought that it would also be my only climb for the year. And I was disappointed with myself for that.

The first quarter of the year was also filled with work-related meet-ups for maybe one of the biggest projects I ever involved myself with. But big also meant great power. And as Uncle Ben told Spiderman, “Great power comes great responsibility.”


Maybe the project was too big for me. Or maybe the project was too big for just one person. Or maybe I just wasn’t good enough. Or maybe this was just not for me in the first place.

These statements started filling up my mind as I started the “Im Purity” blog series in my baggage counter.


From the entry, “Im Purity’s Escape.”

This post had been transferred by the author to another blog named “Nimotsu Counter.” To read the rest of this year-end report for 2014, kindly click here.


A Shout-out to My Fellow Media Practitioners

According to Dictionary.com, a fault is “a place where sections of the Earth’s crust move relative to each other.” And one of the more famous faults, even one of the more watched out for, is the Marikina Fault Line, that stretches from Bulacan, traverses through Metro Manila and ends in Laguna. But according to Mr. Ed Guevara, the father of the GeoFarm in Pangasinan and an eco-sustainable community advocate, there is another fault that could pose more damage to Central and Southern Luzon, even to the Visayas area. This is the Lubang Fault, located near Lubang Island, Occidental Mindoro. And this fault is at the bottom of the sea.

The Lubang Fault

The Lubang Fault. Red bold line above it shows the Marikina Fault. Blue line indicates possible extent of damage. Map from the official website of PHIVOLCS.

The catastrophic 2011 Japan Tsunami was a result of the vibrations caused by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake from underwater. And this was what Mr. Guevara was pointing at in a Disaster-Preparedness training conducted last February 8 and 9, in his very own GeoFarm in Bayambang, Pangasinan. What if an earthquake, of the same intensity as Japan’s, hit the Lubang Fault? According to Prof. Susan Kieffer, in her blog Geology in Motion, the tsunami in Japan affected an approximate of 1300 kilometers of shoreline along the Honshu island. Plotting this distance on the Philippine Google map, shoreline damage can be as far north as Pangasinan to the tail-end of Luzon, which is Bicol and even up to some of the islands in the Visayas region. ¬†And this includes Metro Manila.

Tsunami-affected areas in Japan.

Tsunami-affected areas in Japan. Courtesy of thguardian.com.

According to huffingtonpost.com, rehabilitation efforts in Japan was slow. If the same damage happened in the Philippines, how slow would we be?

Let us just say that we had our very own Yolanda-stricken stories. Ate Roma, a Kagawad of Bato, Leyte, shared her barangay’s current situation to our group. She said that at the moment, an NGO, and not the government, is helping out by providing them¬†housing projects. But Mr. Guevara said that this can take maybe at least three years to finish.

Tacloban tents erected in the "danger zone."

Tents erected in the “danger zone.” Photo courtesy of Inquirer.net

He showed us this photo of post-Yolanda Tacloban from inquirer.net. He asked us, “What was wrong with this photo?” He continued, “They installed the tents in the same area ruined by the storm surge, which is¬†the danger zone. So do we really want our people to stay in the same danger zone?” He also added that as long as these people stay there, they won’t be able to move on. The emotional damage caused by seeing their loved ones die in that very place is the main thing that will be keeping them from reviving themselves, and maybe the whole city itself.

So what Mr. Guevara is proposing is the creation of what he calls a “Rescue Village”, a self-sustaining community, established not during or after the calamity but way before.

Mr. Guevara emphasized the power of ANTICIPATION. He explained that we must not wait for Yolanda II or another earthquake or another tsunami before we feel the need to anticipate and prepare for any disaster.  He added that what he could not understand was it was not our first time to experience typhoons.  Every year the Philippines experiences plenty of them, and yet every year, we are not prepared.

Ate Roma said that the day before Yolanda struck was a sunny day, with no signs of any storm and danger. So they did nothing, even though they have been getting all the warnings from the news. They went to sleep without any preparation. Yolanda made the landfall during the wee hours the following¬†day. And when they woke up, they were not prepared for¬†what they had seen. Bato was not a coastal barangay, but storm surge was not Yolanda’s only weapon.

Mr. Guevara said that he had the chance to propose the idea of the “Rescue Village” to a town in Leyte years back, but he was not given much attention. And now Yolanda came and banished a large part of their province.

The “Rescue Village” is like an evacuation center built for this sole use, and not to become a school or a basketball court when there are no calamities. According to Mr. Guevara, schools are not meant to be evacuation centers because by doing so, we deprive our children of their right to education. ¬†They could not hold classes because the evacuees are occupying their classrooms.

This community will be created on a preselected safer zone, that is definitely far away from coastal areas and from all the people’s properties. ¬†One problem that can arise is the stubbornness of the Filipinos. Many do not want to evacuate simply because they do not want to leave their houses behind. Mr. Guevara has also answers to this.

One of the reasons why the media is broadcasting typhoon warning signals is not only for them to fill up airtime but to tell people to prepare. The days before the typhoon’s landfall is the best time to evacuate the elderly and the children to a safer area, like a relative’s place or simply the “Rescue Village”. The men can be left behind to guard the house. They surely are strong enough to survive the ravishing typhoon when it finally came.

But, still, how can the “Rescue Village” convince people to evacuate?

The Sand Bag Houses.

The Sand Bag houses. Photo courtesy of Mr. Ed Guevara.

There’s this famous line that says, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day. Teach the man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The rescue village will generate its own food through vegetables planted around the area. It will also have its own source of energy through hydrogen or solar panels. It will contain strong houses made from sandbags that can be constructed within three months and not three years as what the housing projects promise. There will be boats made from plastic drums that are inexpensive and can fit into narrow waterways where bulky inflatable boats cannot reach.

Mr. Ed Guevara and his Drum boats

Mr. Ed Guevara and his Drum boats

The “Rescue Village” can shelter about 700 families. ¬†And the best part of all is there will be trainings so the families can be¬†self-sustaining. So when the people in an area already know what to do, the original “Rescue Village” staff can go to other places and start saving lives in other areas.

This is how the “Rescue Village” recreates itself. As Mr. Guevara explained it, the “Rescue Village” is like a human cell, complete and ever sustaining. It is even capable of reproduction that can further create tissues, organs, systems and finally a human being.

But as every human being takes nine months to be fully developed from a single cell, the “Rescue Village” is all about preparation. And as it is a collective effort of all the cells to form a human being, Mr. Guevara cannot make the “Rescue Village” on his own. He needs help. And as the government already dumped him, his only chance is the media and YOU.

Mr. Guevara, explaining what will happen when a tsunami entered Manila bay, as indicated on the drawing on the blackboard.

Mr. Guevara, explaining what will happen when a tsunami entered Manila bay, as indicated on the drawing on the blackboard.

Check his official facebook page and show your support now.