Big waves wash out houses in Cebu

By CARINE M. ASUTILLA, ABS-CBN News Central Visayas

Posted at Jan 15 2009 09:25 PM | Updated as of Jan 16 2009 05:25 AM

Many houses in Cebu province have either been washed out or covered in sand as big waves spurned by storm surges affected many coastal towns.

Carlito Cagang, 54 years old, now stays under a tree after his house was ruined by big waves last Tuesday. Cagang is worried if he can still build a new house. He said that he has been paying for it for 20 years.

Cagang’s house was just among the 26 houses in Ginatilan town in Cebu province which were destroyed by big waves.

He said that around 1 a.m. last Tuesday, water from the sea were already coming inside his house. He said he immediately took his personal belongings out from his house. A few minutes later however a big wave washed his house out.

Barangays Guiwanon, Palanas, Looc, San Roque, and Poblacion in Ginatilan were affected.

In Samboan town, 26 houses were also destroyed from the storm surge. Barangays Poblacion, Kolase, Tangbo, Bonbon, Suba, and Sr. Sebastian were affected.

Couples Benjamina and Carlito Rodriguez were among more than 30 families who lost their home.

The couple, with three of their kids, are staying in a small house across the street which is adjacent to the house which was destroyed by the strong wind and big waves last Tuesday. Carlito built the small house the morning after the incident. At night however, they would stay at Suba Barangay Hall.

In Dumanjug town, ten houses were totally damaged. Barangay Looc was the only barangay affected. 37 families were immediately evacuated to a gym. The families however would return to their destroyed homes in the morning and sleep at the gym or the chapel during the night.

The residents said that their homes were destroyed last January 7. Some houses were uprooted while others were buried in the sand.

The houses were located more than 20 meters from the shoreline but last week during a high tide, the waves would reach their homes carrying sand with it.

Every night since the incident their place gets flooded with seawater. The flood would reach knee-high.

The towns of Malabuyoc and Alegria were also affected but only electrical posts were uprooted and coastal roads were destroyed. But buses and other vehicles can still pass through it.

The Office of Civil Defense however does not have a record of anyone hurt during the incident. Local government units are currently giving assistance to the victims and are repairing road damages.

Not allowed to sail
Meanwhile, because of the storm surge many pumpboats and fastcrafts travelling from Santander to Negros Oriental were not allowed to sail. Many of the employees are not earning.

Matilde Ba-at, owner of 11 pumpboats in Lilo-an, Santander said that 88 of the pumpboat crews are currently not earning.

The barge in Bato, Lilo-an were only the ones allowed by the Coast Guard to sail and carry passengers as well as cargoes to Negros Oriental and back.

Delays in travel is expected however after one of the five Maayo Shipping barge was hit by a big wave when it was about to dock at the port in Santander last Wednesday. Minor damage was sustained but the cargoes and the passengers including the contingents for Sinulog from Sta. Catalina town in Negros Oriental are safe.

Port Collector Giselo Rusiana said that since they are the only ones that will be able to accommodate passengers and cargoes for Negros and back, they are expecting higher revenue despite the cut in trips because of the one barge that can not be allowed to sail yet.

The fishermen in Samboan and Dumanjug are the most affected however. Most of the small boats were carried to dry lands.

60-year old Rodulfo Aranas said he is raising five kids through fishing. He said that he and his neighbors have not been out to fish for more than a week already because of the big waves.

Aranas said that in order to have something to eat, they wait for low tide and pick seashells instead.