OPINION: Yes, the ground was shaking

Fay Virrey, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 13 2017 08:12 PM

In the Batangas news room, we joke about almost everything. Even the number of “breaking news” for weekend duties. Kuya Macky (one of our cameramen) is the king of breaking news and early raids, and the like. We always joke that if he is the cameraman, we should expect breaking news.

On April 8, 2017, Kuya Macky was not the cameraman on duty. He was on standby. I was with my buddies Kuya Ken and Kuya Jay, but we are probably going to take Kuya Macky’s title after what happened that day.

We left the office at around 5 a.m. to cover “Bisikleta Iglesia”. 

We were all aware that we would be spending most of our time after Bisikleta Iglesia at the Batangas Port, because we had to give updates on the influx of passengers.

I finished my script for the evening news at around 1:40 p.m. I was waiting for instructions on what to do next, until I got a call to do an on-camera report for ANC. 

I started preparing—I memorized my opening and closing spiels. I was ready for that live update. What I was not ready for was a 5.6-magnitude earthquake.

While I was reading the last few sentences of my update, I felt the ground shaking. I tried to ignore it because I thought a big truck was behind me. But I started to hear people screaming and the shaking grew stronger.

I told my boss at the central desk about the situation. I was not hearing anything from the other line, and for a moment, I thought they were also experiencing an earthquake.

I did not know what to do, but I had to keep myself together. No one else would do that for me. While the longest 10 or 15 minutes of my life was unfolding, my loved ones were trying to call me, but I just had to stay there and ignore their calls.

(If you haven’t heard me saying, ”The ground is shaking,” watch this: Passengers rush to leave Batangas Port due to earthquake) 

If you know me personally, you would know that I get surprised easily and I say profanities every time I get surprised or shocked, so this entire live update was an actual achievement for me. Under normal circumstances, I might have said bad words right after I realized there was an earthquake, because that was what I did during the first quake, when I was at home.

What was running through my head during that time? I honestly thought I was useless. I could not even begin to describe what was happening around me, or so I thought. I thought I was going to die then and everything would have been well-documented.

I was shocked, helpless and desperate to know what had just happened.

When I heard I was already off the air. I sat on a chair near our spot and started to absorb everything that happened – I had just been on air, reporting a completely different story. 

I called my mother to tell her I was okay. I did not want her to worry, because I knew if I told her what I felt, she would go nuts. So I called another loved one, Arvin, and told him all my thoughts. 

I started receiving texts asking if I was okay. “Okay” did not even cover my state. I was somewhere between giving up and pushing through with what I started.

That day was so long for me. I started that day nervous of standing in front of the camera for a live update, but I ended up doing more than one.

I remember rejoicing when sir Israel [Malasa] said that I would be doing a voice over for TV Patrol, and doing a stand-upper for ANC in the afternoon. I was telling myself, I would be able to go home early, and see Arvin (Pardon me. We only see each other during weekends), but no.

That day was probably a turning point in my life.

When I came home, I wanted to give Inay a hug when she opened the door for me, but I didn’t want to look like I was overreacting. Later, I just slept beside her and Tatay. Haha.

Whenever I think about what happened, I still feel like crying. I actually cried during the Sunday mass that I attended. I remember not minding everyone around me—not even that kid staring intently at me as my tears rolled down. I also cried when I was writing my script for TV Patrol last Monday about the quake (Yes, I’m a cry baby).

PANOORIN: Mga nakayayanig na kuha ng lindol sa Batangas

I was crying because I wanted to figure out my experience. I wanted to sort out my thoughts, but for now, I think this “ground is shaking” event has changed me. That is why this time, I am following a new mantra: “I will only have this lifetime to do what I have to; so I will make everything count!”

Blog: fayvirrey2993.wordpress.com

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.