MANILA, Philippines – Six Filipino seafarers arrived in the Philippines a week after a massive earthquake and tsunami hit northeast Japan.
The seafarers were welcomed by their anxious relatives at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Thursday night.
They said the quake-tsunami was the worst natural disaster that they have experienced.
“Kita mo talaga yung rolling ng mga bahay, mga sasakyan, iyakan ng mga tao. Hindi namin alam kung makaka-survive pa kami doon," said Arsenio De Pena Jr.
The group experienced the catastrophe while on board a vehicle on their way to the airport.
“Mabilis yung driver, naka-response kagad siya. Na save kagad kami," said Albert Seraspe.
They walked for 3 hours to look for a phone booth until they reached the airport. That was the time when the tsunami struck, they said.
“Kala ko nga sa pelikula lang napapanood yun,” said Manuel Nobrefranca.
They endured the cold and hunger while stranded at the airport for 4 days.
“Yung kain namin, tinapay lang saka tubig,” said Cosme Calunian.
The Pinoy seafarers are grateful to their employer, the Virjen Shipping Lines, for taking care of them.
Despite their traumatic experience, the group said they are still willing to return to Japan.
“Magbibigay ng stress debriefing dito sa mga workers na dumating although hindi naman gaanong ka stress sila katulad nang mga dumating kagabi,” said Administrator Carmelita Dimzon of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
58 Pinoys out of Fukushima
Meanwhile, 58 Filipinos boarded the 2 buses sent by the Philippine Embassy to Fukushima on Thursday.
The rescued Filipinos were brought to the Lighthouse Ministry in Yokohama City and at the Franciscan Church in Roppongi in Tokyo.
Reports said the bus could not rescue other Pinoys who are living in Iwaki City, also in Fukushima, because of the damaged roads.
Philippine Ambassador Manolo Manuel Lopez said the embassy will deploy more buses to pick up Pinoys if necessary.
On Wednesday, 42 Filipinos on board a bus sent by the embassy arrived in Tokyo from Sendai. They are now staying at a Catholic Church in Kichijogi. With Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News