House built 60 years ago, gone in two minutes

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HAGONOY, Bulacan—Built 60 years ago, gone in two minutes.

 

This was how a resident of the coastal village of Pugad here described the fury of storm surge spawned by typhoon Glenda when it traversed the Manila Bay on July 16 en route to the West Philippine Sea.

 

In total, no less than 60 houses in the said villages were totally damaged as seven feet storm surge came rushing in.

 

Joey Gregorio, 44, of the said village narrated on how their house crumbled on the fury of storm surge.

 

“Wala kaming nagawa, dalawang minuto lang nawala na yung bahay,” he said noting that houses of his three older brothers built beside their ancestral house were also washed out.

 

Their ancestral house was built by his parents 60 years ago.

 

The said houses which used to stand side by side were all made of concrete hollow blocks.

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Now, only piles of debris were left in place and the concrete comfort room of his brother’s house.

In the nearby village of Tibaguin, Yolanda Geronimo burst into tears as she recounted how her three year old house gave in to the fury of storm surge.

 

“Twenty minutes lang wala na yung bahay naming,” she said.

 

Geronimo said their house was constructed less than three years ago.

 

It was actually a replacement to their former house destroyed by similar storm surge at the height of the onslaught of typhoon Quiel in 2011.

 

“Dalawang sunod na po iyan mula noong Quiel,” she said as she tried to hold back the tears.

 

While lamenting the loss of their houses, both the Gregorios and the Geronimos where thankful that no one in their families and in their villages died during the typhoon.

 

But they also stressed that storm surges not hit their villages because municipal fishpond that used to protect them was damaged.

 

This was affirmed by Councilmen Gilbert Tamayo and Alfredo Lunes of Barangay Pugad.

 

They said that since the dikes of the over 200 hectare municipal fishpond beside the two villages were washed out six years ago, they are now fearing for their lives every time there is a typhoon.

 

“Natatawag po naming ang lahat ng Santo sa simbahan kapag bumabagyo na dahil walang humaharang sa alon mula sa dagat,” Tamayo said.

 

For his part, Mayor Raulito Manlapaz said they will start rehabilitating the municipal fishpond by December.

 

Manlapaz visited the two villages yesterday to distribute relief goods to residents.

 

According to Manlapaz, they are now preparing fund for the rehabilitation.

 

But he stressed that rehabilitation will be quicker if the provincial government will loan them its large dredging machine.

 

As a former fishpond operators, Manlapaz said that they will need all the assistance they can get to rehabilitate the 13-kilometer coastline of this town and protect its aquaculture industry along with the two coastal villages.

 

Text and photos by DINO BALABO

 

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