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How do you cope after going through a 6.9 magnitude quake? It’s taken me more than a week since that day in Tacul, Magsaysay to process how I felt after going through such an event.
The Bundakan idea which we started back in November had taken a life of its own. It had become bigger than everyone else. After amassing a large amount of collected goods, the group decided to go to a selected area that was not receiving the help they needed.
Aside from handing out relief goods, we had the AFP providing medical and dental assistance, GMA covering the event and other groups helping out.
Why I Went In The First Place
To be honest, I was against going anywhere near the quake affected areas. Mostly because I feared for the security of those going. Desperate times often lead people to make desperate moves and highway robbery is not an uncommon thing happening here in the Philippines during disasters.
I had begged Pitel (main man, HH and The Triplets) not to go through with going. Heck, I voted against it and said let the agencies do it.
Everyone else was adamant about going.
In the end I relented. Even though I was told I didn’t need to go. Plus, my fiancée begged me in front of everyone else to go to the site. In retrospect, she wanted to go because aside from handing out relief goods, there’d be a medical mission on the side where she could provide help as a physician.
I had been so passionate about collecting relief goods and asking other companies to help out. This was not the time to chicken out.
I spent the next few days grumbling about going and the security risks.
If I only knew a 6.9 magnitude quake was about to hit us, I would have rallied harder.
Get Up, This Was Your Idea
3:00AM my alarm went off. I checked the FB chatroom and Pitel was already up. Dammit.
Xynyrd Young (vocalist, Taliban) and Dat Dat (vocalist, Moawh) were also up.
Philip Malnegro (TipsyLogan) had already left me a message regarding picking the drums up.
Arghh. I guess that meant it was showtime.
I got up, fed the dogs, got ready and waited.
At 5:00AM, I went to Margaux’s room and woke her up. She reached for her blanket and tried to go back to sleep.
I was not having that.
So, I said the words that I knew would wake her up.
“Get up, this was your idea.”
En Route To Ground Zero
6:00AM we were en route to TipsyLogan. The others had their meeting place at TopBUdz which was way off from where Margaux and I were coming from.
We waited a bit for Philip and as soon as he arrived, loaded the drums into the back of the pickup. Junnix Daclison (State Of Mind Productions manager) told me he was going on ahead with Paul Jaso (bassist, Thea) to Magsaysay. The rest of the instruments were with Wardy Puyod (main man, Alagad/solo artist)
The drive was uneventful.
We reached Magsaysay and met up with Junnix who was already sipping hot coffee where he parked. Paul was in the van, asleep.
We waited for the rest of the guys to arrive.
They arrived an hour later.
Usa Ka Bundakan Sa Mga Naig-an
Once on site, everyone was in high spirits. Everyone went their own way to contribute. Pitel went full commander mode and effectively brought order to chaos.
Margaux took a seat and attended to patients along with the other physicians.
Moody (bassist, HH and Triplets) and I started unpacking the relief goods. Xynyrd, Dat Dat, Paul and Philip started unloading the boxes of bottled water. Even Junnix, with a bum leg, started carrying heavy stuff. We had to beg him not to and just direct us like he was supposed to.
Nikki May (MVP) helped coordinate everyone by passing on messages. She’s an excellent communications assistant.
Wardy arrived an hour later with the band equipment and proceeded to set up along with Choco (drummer, Cloud 9).
Jong and Gem Zamora also arrived with their group and set up shop at the far end of the gym with goodies for the kids and more medicines.
I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone.
The entire operation went without a hitch. GMA was there to cover the event. The Baranggay officials also helped facilitate the handing out of goods.
As the activities wound down to just a few more people getting examined and all the relief goods were handed out, we took to the stage and started entertaining the people with a few songs.
We had no idea that a 6.9 magnitude quake was about to rear its ugly head.
We Rocked Onstage… Literally
We went up onstage and took turns playing. Wardy and Pitel handled guitar duties, Moody on bass, Choco on drums and Jong on lead vocals. I mainly played as the backup vocalist.
We went through a few Eraserheads songs.
Even Dat Dat went up to sing a Rivermaya song.
The people politely sat on the streamers and clapped along. Wardy’s idea to put on a good show worked.
Paul went up to take over bass duties and Xynyrd had just joined us onstage when we first felt a slight vibration which quickly escalated to a rumble. Jong bravely tried to calm the people down but we were quickly drowned out by the roar of the covered court’s roof. This was just the beginning of the 6.9 magnitude quake we were about to experience.
It sounded like a train just passed above us. A very long train.
We could barely stand so we crouched onstage.
Chaos ensued as people rushed to the exits. Wardy had exited the stage along with his prized Fender guitar. Pitel just dropped his and ran. We didn’t know Choco had hidden Parkour skills but he managed to cartwheel over the side of the stage and tried his best to open the door to the basement under the platform.
Paul and I walked down the stairs, trying our best not to stumble. Jong finally left the stage with the mic in hand.
I duck walked my way to the front of the stage trying to remain in visual contact of my fiancée who used the bottled water boxes as a shield. She was about 20 meters from where I was but walking over seemed an impossible feat as everything wobbled in a crazy way. I quickly looked up hoping nothing fell on anyone.
We felt like we were in a blender. An angry one with a train passing right above it.
And then just like that it stopped.
We had just experienced a 6.9 magnitude quake. I can’t even put in words the terror I felt during that time. I’m still trying to process that. And to this day, I still feel phantom vibrations.
I quickly ran over to where Margaux was and we exited the building.
Outside. Chaos. Cigarettes. Aftershocks.
Outside was just as chaotic as inside just a few seconds ago. Motorcycles were overturned, old people were crying with cuts and bruises because of the stampede.
We were all shaken. A 6.9 magnitude quake will do that to anyone.
I lit a cigarette. Everyone else did.
We were just 3 kilometers away from the epicenter.
We decided it was time to pack up.
GMA was fortunate to be there as they got an excellent scoop.
We quickly dismantled the drums and other equipment and loaded up.
The aftershocks that followed were just as powerful as the 6.9 magnitude quake we had just experienced. Our vehicles were wobbling as we slowly backed out and formed a convoy.
The ground was still in the process of settling down.
A Road Littered With Disaster
People waved as we slowly drove off. They even told us to take care on the road.
Take care? They should be the ones we were comforting but we couldn’t do anything else at that point. The security of the team was the highest priority.
We left with heavy hearts.
Everywhere we passed, destruction. To the left, chaos. To the right, disarray. In front of us, a long road with people lined up outside their houses. This is what a 6.9 magnitude quake is capable of.
This was not the time to cry. Breaking down in front of everyone would not help. We saw new cracks along the road. The bridge we passed by had risen. Dead branches were in our path.
The perimeter fence of the Elementary school was reduced to useless rubble. The market place was filling up with people trying to make sense of what just happened. We saw a car pinned down at a gas station.
We felt so helpless not being able to stop and give aid. Luckily the AFP was more equipped and they stopped to provide assistance.
“Just get out. You’re a civilian.” That was what was on my mind.
It took us 2 hours to reach Top Budz where the rest of the crew were already hanging out trying to process our shared experience of going through a 6.9 magnitude quake. We were bummed out when we found out just how bad that quake was to other areas.
I’m happy with what I have. I thank God for that.
But, I can’t help feeling sad that there are people in Magsaysay who’ve lost their homes, their way of life and that sense of security that everyone should have.
Merry Christmas everyone, let’s make the holidays mean something.
If you want to help, send Mosquito Nets, Tarps, Blankets, Water and Easy Open Canned Goods to those in need most of the spirit of giving and receiving. Give it to 911. Give it to the Red Cross Foundation.
Or you can contact us through Musika Wabad. We’ll make sure it reaches the right people.
Who Or What Is Musika Wabad?
Musika Wabad started out as a pet project. It was mainly a page where I could post about the gigs in the local music scene. I soon realized that there were way too many great musicians in Davao City and no one was giving them the attention they deserved. So I decided I’d do it and write about them.
What Does State Of Mind Productions Do?
State Of Mind Productions has been in existence for a long time advocating for musicians’ rights and has provided a venue for artists to practice, record and hang out. It is currently managed by Junnix Daclison. State Of Mind Productions gave the legitimacy the Bundakan event needed to push through.
What Is Usa Ka Bundakan Sa Mga Naig-an?
Usa Ka Bundakan Sa Mga Naig-an, coined by Xynyrd Young, was an ambitious project to get all the venues to play under one banner. It was a success, thanks to Sorok Uni Foundation, Volunteers for the Visayas & ECCP. It’s ironic how we started because of a quake & ended with a 6.9 magnitude quake.