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