Survivor of Iloilo-Guimaras Strait tragedy finds purpose in 2nd chance at life

Cherry Palma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2020 03:12 AM | Updated as of Aug 04 2020 08:33 AM

Roxie Garcia, one of survivors of the Iloilo-Guimaras sea strategy, found her purpose in her second chance at life -- her kids. Courtesy of Roxie Garcia

Monday marked the 1st anniversary of the capsizing of 3 boats --MB Chi Chi, MB Keziah and MB Jenny Vince -- in the Iloilo-Guimaras Strait that left at least 31 people dead.

Video footage taken by the ABS-CBN News Iloilo showed the struggle for rescuers to save lives during raging waters and heavy rains. Volunteers were carrying bodies of passengers one after another to a waiting ambulance and medics at the Iloilo wharf. 

The incident was considered as the biggest sea tragedy of 2019.

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Despite the loss of lives, livelihood, and a crippled economy for the Guimaras province in the last quarter of 2019, survivors remain hopeful and thankful. 

One of them is a single mother named Roxie Garcia. 

The last time ABS-CBN News talked to her, she was being aided by an oxygen tank inside the hospital so she could breathe. Garcia was trapped under the capsized MB Jenny Vince when rescuers came to help her and the others inside the vessel's hull.

“It kept coming back. Sometimes, I would just wake up with my heart pounding. I just pray," she recalled in her recent interview with ABS-CBN News.

When her life was at stake, she said she first thought of her children. She prayed hard hoping to survive as she could not bear the thought of dying, leaving her three children on their own.

A year after the tragedy, Garcia said she became more inspired by her three children. She resigned from her previous job and focused on working from home where she could be with her children. 

She now sews bedsheets and curtains and cooks puto kutchinta for a living.

“Tapos siguro ang ikalawa kong buhay ay may purpose. Ito siguro ay para makasama ko ang mga anak ko," said Garcia, who lives with her children in San Lorenzo, Guimaras. 

Now, amid the coronavirus pandemic, she said she's afraid but remains strong that just like what happened last year, she would still get through it with her children, as long as they are with each other.