Archive for the ‘Remembering Reming’ Category

Remembering Reming – by Dan Daz

March 18, 2008

Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Church, Guinobatan, Albay
Packing sustained winds of 265 km per hour, supertyphoon Reming (int’l. code name Durian) unleashed its destructive fury in the Bicol region last November 30, 2006. Hardest hit was Albay province where the typhoon drained a record 466 centimeters of rainfall and wreaked havoc for ten (10) continuous hours from 9am to 7 pm of that fateful day leaving an unprecedented trail of devastation in its wake.

Triggered by the heavy rains, millions of cubic meters of deposits along the slopes of Mayon Volcano that accumulated from previous volcanic eruptions- formed into deadly mudslides that buried entire villages along its path. In the town of Guinobatan, almost the entire barangay of Maipon was buried in lahar while the centro of Camalig town was covered with volcanic debris. In Daraga, barangays Busay and Culiat were the most affected with the mudslides totally changing the landscape. Entire puroks in barangay Padang in Legazpi City were buried in lahar while portions of Sto. Domingo town was literally covered with lahar and boulders of all sizes.

As per the January, 16, 2007 Damage Report prepared by the Albay Provincial Government, casualties totaled 674 with 172 unidentified, totally damaged houses reached 119,848 while substantially damaged houses totaled 101,210. Evacuees totaled 16,649 while initial estimated damage to agriculture, livestock, poultry, fisheries and infrastructure amounted to P2.4 billion.

More than the loss of properties and material possessions which can be replaced and recovered- the loss of hundreds of lives and the grief of those who lost their loved ones; the anguish of those looking for their missing members of the family knowing in the back of their minds that there is a great possibility that they will never be found; the lost hopes and shattered dreams; the hardships that they must endure and the uncertainty of the future- these will have a more telling effect on the people of Albay which can only be alleviated and healed by the passing of time, the collective support of their fellowmen and their unwavering faith in their Creator. .

The following were pictures taken in the aftermath of the typhoon. A good number of them were included in the Photo Exhibit sponsored by the Provincial Government last May 21- July 15, 2007 together with photographers Nino Jesus Orbeta of the Philippine Daily Inquirer/ Southern Luzon and Fred Rosaros of the Provincial Government of Albay while most have never been shown or posted. .

Yawa River
An aerial view of the serpentine Yawa River flowing
through a residential area in Tagas, Daraga, Albay
a few days after the typhoon.

Underlying Danger
A six wheeler truck passes through Travesia bridge
in Guinobatan, Albay- its occupants oblivious to the
danger that lies beneath. Strong currents spawned
by the typhoon undermined the bridge’s foundations.
The collective weight and stress exerted upon the
bridge’s structures by a passing convoy of trucks
bringing relief goods to Albay finally caused the bridge to collapse.

Trail of Destruction
A solitary house lies amid the devastation in Padang,
Legazpi City where scores of residents died and
dozens of houses in several puroks were swept
and buried in lahar.

A closer view of a resort building in Guinobatan,
Albay shows workers retrieving whatever construction
materials can be salvaged from the condemned structure.

Shattered Paradise
Walls along the river of this idyllic
resort in Guinobatan were destroyed
by the unforgiving currents.

A man collects driftwood along the banks of Yawa
river. The spillway which doubles up as an alternate
bridge was completely washed away together with
the endmost units of a housing project in the background.

Road Cut-off
A view of the runway and its environs showed the
overflow of the Yawa river towards the Chinese
cemetery cutting off the Bogtong road which serves
as a major alternate road linking Daraga and Legazpi

Our Lady of the Assumption Church
This church in Guinobatan suffered
minor damage.

Mute Witness
These religious statues bore witness to the wrath of
Reming and was not spared from the damage.

Multi-sectoral Relief Operation
This convoy of around 300 trucks and other vehicles
was photographed somewhere in the Quezon province
on their way to Bicol in one of the biggest relief
operations in the country.

Motorists Queue
Motorists line up for gasoline in a gas station in
Daraga. The limited number of open gasoline stations
and the impassable roads going to Albay led the
the shortage.

The entrance of the road leading to Cagsawa ruins
was littered with assorted debris including a partially
buried vehicle.

Menacing Boulders
Gigantic boulders of all shapes including lahar
radically changed the landscape of several barangays
in Sto. Domingo. Albay

Mean Machine?
This excavator was no match against the rampaging
lahar and giant boulders. Padang, Legazpi City

Mean Machine
This heavy equipment appears like a strange aquatic
creature straight from a science fiction movie. Padang,
Legazpi City

Like Candles in the Wind
Two and a half months after Reming, these coconut
trees along the slopes of Lignon Hill in Legazpi
closely resembled extinguished candles- its withered
leaves typical of candle wicks whose flames have
been put out by the fickle wind.

Kerosene Line
Daraga residents brave the late afternoon sun to buy
kerosene for their lanterns at night. The whole
province was without electricity for two to three
months. Enterprising people who have generators
charge anywhere from P10- P30 for charging
cellphones. Transistor radios was back in vogue but
there was only one radio station they can listen to.

Isolated Road
The road to Cagsawa ruins was once vibrant- filled
with stalls selling all kinds of souvenir items. The
typhoon changed that as shown by the empty stalls.

In the Line of Fire
The rampaging lahar and huge boulders crashed right
through the first and second floors of this two storey
house in Busay, Daraga, Albay killing all four members
of the family and their remains were never found.

Grim Task
Rescuers and volunteers were faced with the difficult
task of finding the six missing college students who
were presumed dead after the raging waters of Yawa
river swept away the boarding house where they were
staying. Friends and relatives of the students anxiously
wait inside a makeshift tent which shelters them from
the harsh sun. They or their remains were not found.

Record levels of flooding in the central business
district reduced this school and office supplies
into mounds of garbage. This scenario was replicated
all over the city as mountains of garbage piled all
over. In addition to the city’s garbage trucks, dozens
of trucks from the Metropolitan Manila Development
Authority (MMDA) helped to finally clean –up the city
of garbage.

Evacuees at the Bintayan Elementary School
Evacuees at the Binitayan Elementary School in
Daraga line up for their share of relief goods consisting
of fruits and vegetables from the Department of
Agriculture in coordination with the Albay Provincial

Eroded Highway
Strong currents from the adjoining river eroded
this stretch of highway in Travesia, Guinobatan
leaving only one lane available for both traffic

Dying Tree of Life 1
These coconut trees lying along the national road in
Ligao City took a beating from the strong winds of

Dying Tree of Life 2
It will take years before these trees can be productive
again if they can recover.

The main building of the Aquinas University of Legazpi
looked desolate as it lays amidst the flooded school
grounds. The death of several of its students and the
extensive repair needed for its facilities prompted
school officials to postpone the resumption of classes
to January 2007 or more than a month after Reming.

The PNR railroad tracks were cut off in two in Travesia,
Guinobatan, Albay There are no more train service
to Bicol. PNR now stands for Putol Na Riles.

Dangling Houses
Houses in Sto. Domingo, Albay are left dangling
along the edge of the river.

Damaged Sector
A portion of the dike in Guinobatan, Albay suffered
considerable damage.

Damaged Road Section
Vehicular traffic slows down in this area in Padang,
Legazpi City as vehicles negotiate a damaged portion
of the highway leading to the first district.

Culiat Sub-station
The power substation in Culiat was overrun with sand
and had to cease operations.

Crushed 1
Heavy equipment in Padang, Legazpi.

Crushed 2
Partially excavated trucks after it was buried by
lahar in Padang, Legazpi.

Changed Landscape
A woman points in the direction of the Cagsawa ruins
as residents view the radically altered landscape in
Busay, Daraga, Albay.

Calm After the Storm
Placid waters glistening in the mid-afternoon sun
flows through a river in Guinobatan, Albay. The
only clues to the tempest that just passed were the
assorted debris strewn along the banks of the river

Cagsawa 1814
Cagsawa 1814, a restaurant within the area of the
Cagsawa ruins and which was named after the famous
February 1, 1814 Mayon eruption, itself lies in ruins
after being battered by Reming.

A Bridge Too Far
A section of the Pawa bridge linking Pawa to Bogtong,
Legazpi was cut-off while railings were damaged.
Roofs of buildings in the foreground were likewise
blown off.

Bridge Over Troubled Water
A makeshift bridge leading to the famous ruins was
erected by local residents to raise much needed funds.