It happened on a fine Tuesday morning (or so I thought) at around 8:12 in the morning, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that ravaged our province.
I remember waking up early thinking that although the weather seemed fine, I could not shake the uneasy feeling in my gut that something’s not quite right. I, however, ignored it and went back to sleep only to be awakened minutes later by a sudden, strong shaking of our house. I heard windows jittering like mad as if they too were also afraid. I hurriedly asked my mom to sit in our bed right away and together we hold tight asking desperately for God to save us.
The earthquake lasted for a couple of seconds with each second feeling like eternity. And all the while I was thinking to myself, “I guess this is it, huh? Will I be buried under the rubble or will the ground swallow me? Will they ever find my body? Will my friends from other places know about my death and what will they say? Or will my death be just an addition to the statistics?”.
But then it stopped. I was spared. And with shaky hands and feet and doing my best to look like I am still in control of my emotions for I can not afford to give in to my fear in front of my mom whose face was clearly panic-stricken, I searched for my mother’s bag for her anti-hypertensive meds.
I went out of our room to survey the damage and to fetch my equally frightened dog. And there I saw the contents of the cabinets thrown to the floor, water was spilled, electricity cut off and outside, people packing things, screaming and running. It was indeed very chaotic. They were frantically running like madmen, destination unknown. They were afraid that a tsunami might hit next.
I went back to our room to pack all the essentials just in case we will be advised to evacuate. I stuffed them all in and we waited outside.
Then waves of aftershock came randomly after. Some with force that can really be felt for a few seconds while others just felt like a sudden jolt then was gone.
Devastating news of death of people and damages to properties were reported. 185 people were confirmed dead, 553 were injured and 11 are still missing as of October 23, 2013. An estimate of the damages is at least ₱ 2.2 Billion. Centuries-old churches collapsed. There were landslides in mountainous areas. And the worst part is knowing that this harrowing experience will last for a couple more days.
That day was definitely a roller coaster ride of emotions for me. I was fighting for control over my emotions ever since this ordeal started. I faced a near-death experience. But I am still thankful because my family are safe and our house is spared.
This experience made me realize that our life can be taken away from us in just a snap and at times when we least expect it. Death indeed is a cheating, uncanny, opportunistic son of a bitch.
Please pray for the souls of the people who died in this tragedy and for the fast healing and recovery of those who were injured. Our churches may be damaged beyond repairs but our faith still remains standing and unwavering.
The following message was taken from Oplan Bangon Bohol’s Facebook Page:
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I know you are all wondering why I am writing this letter. It is to make you aware of how lucky you are to be still at school now.
You may be complaining because you have much school work to do, school activities to attend to, boring discussions that you need to sit and listen to everyday, monster-like teachers that you have to deal with and detentions when you’ve committed something awfully wrong in your class. Yeah, yeah, I know. These are also the things I’ve been complaining about when I was still a student like you.
However, I have come to realize that the world I used to live in when I was still a student was just a fantasy world meant to protect me from all the harsh realities that most adults (I so reluctantly join this group after my college graduation) combat every day. School works turn to paperwork. School activities turn to meetings and conferences. Discussions turn to seminars. Monster-like teachers turn into tyrant bosses. Detentions turn to incident report and a trip to the boss’ office. The competition you have with your fellow students on who gets to be accepted to what school is nothing compared to the competition we have with our fellow colleagues on who gets to be accepted for a job that only needs 10 people. When you are still a student, the biggest problem you have is how to spend the allowance your mom gave you in such a way that you will still have money for food and transportation before the week ends while the biggest problem we have as adults is how to get the budget for the entire week.
Then you get to worry about the social labeling at school. Who gets to sit in the jocks’ area, cheerleaders’ area, nerds’ area or in the unlabeled area? The “What am I going to do in order to fit in?”; “What am I going to wear so that people will know that I am one of them?”. When you are in school, it’s all about your sense of belongingness- who gets to be with whom? And who gets to join what group. But again, it’s nothing compared to the sense of belongingness we have to find for ourselves as adults because in the adult world, as early as first day of work, we are already categorized as to what school we graduated from and so, if we graduated from the not-so-prestigious school, our sense of belongingness will definitely hit bottom on our first day. Then there’s also the labeling based on seniority. Whoever worked longer for that institution gets to be a member of the most exclusive group which comprises mostly of the following: supervisors, department heads, managers and such.
In school, you have to constantly strive to be in the top 10 list but in the adult world, we work hard in order to get a higher monthly wage. When you get to be in the top 1 list in your class, your fellow classmates will admire you but when we adults are promoted, people will whisper about how we managed it. Is it because we have “connections” on the upper level? Or is it because we bribed our department heads with delicious foods and sweet compliments everyday? Or worst, some even go through the lengths of making up indecent stories about us and our boss that’s why we managed to snag the spot. Talk about the perfect example of crab mentality.
When you are in your fantasy world, you worry about where to go on a Friday night but we who are living in reality, worry about when will we ever get the chance to relive the carefree life that Friday nights offer. Students are making a big deal about cheating boy/girlfriends, traitorous best friend and broken hearts while some of us on the other hand worry because we are already 35 years old and yet still single.
I could go on making comparisons between a student’s life and an adult’s life but hey, I know you already realized by now how lucky you are because you still don’t have to deal with the harsh realities I mentioned above.
I just want you to cherish and enjoy every moment you have as a student. Be with your friends. Talk and laugh until dawn. Play the sport you love most. Join a club. Savor every experience: good or bad and learn from it. Smile at your monster-like teachers. Play a funny prank on someone. Mend your broken heart and move on. Forgive your cheating boy/girlfriend and your traitorous ex-best friend. Get a detention or a suspension. Okay, okay, I was just kidding on the last part. Chill! Just please please hear me out on my last paragraph and put it in mind.
Always remember that your fantasy world prepares you for the real world so be the best you can ever be while you’re still at it. Because chances are, if you do, you’ll most likely succeed in the real world and in everything you do.
Live a carefree but careful student life everyone!
P.S.: Just because I wrote this letter for you guys does not mean that i’m old. So get that stinking thought outta your head.
Hugs and kisses,