ABUYOG, Leyte - Fearing heavy rain dumped by tropical storm Megi would trigger flooding, residents of a Philippine fishing village hiked to higher ground and pitched tents. They never imagined the mountain they were on would collapse.
Fisherman Fernando Rosquetes instructed his family to trek up the mountain behind their village, Pilar, which is by the sea in Abuyog, Leyte province.
"I told them, 'stay there, you're safer there'," Rosquetes told AFP.
But on Tuesday the rain-sodden mountain crumbled, sending a wall of mud and earth smashing into Pilar and sweeping houses into the sea. Most of the settlement was buried.
Rosquetes was faced Wednesday with the unbearable task of identifying the battered bodies of his family in front of a crowd of onlookers.
Body bags containing two of his children, a grandchild and a daughter-in-law were laid out on dark sand along with 22 others.
"Now all of them are gone," the 47-year-old said, sobbing. "I just want to be buried in another landslide."
At least 26 people were killed and around 150 were missing in Pilar, one of several villages in the disaster-prone region flattened by landslides brought by Megi, locally known as Agaton.
Eighty people have died nationwide, but the death toll is expected to climb as rescue efforts have switched to a retrieval operation.
In nearby Abuyog, where survivors and the dead were transported by boat, rescue workers lined the covered bodies out on the ground, as residents encircled them, waiting to see if they could find missing relatives.
Some doubled over crying after opening a black bag revealed a familiar face, while others snapped pictures with their phones.
Edgar Suganob, who has relatives in Pilar, said many families had retreated to higher ground Tuesday morning -- hours before the landslide hit.
"They were afraid the mountain would crash on them," he said.
Joshua Binondo, 21, stayed behind with his father to protect their home while his mother and four siblings walked up the slope and out of reach of floodwaters.
Then it gave way.
"I heard a loud explosion and we ran for our lives," Binondo said, referring to the sound of the earth hurtling towards the village.
"The soil was about to catch up with me and then I don't recall anything else."
His father, mother and three siblings died in the disaster. His grandfather is also missing. A 17-year-old sister miraculously survived.
Outrigger boats were deployed to rescue survivors in Pilar after roads leading to the community of 400 people were blocked by rain-induced landslides.
But officials said there is little hope of finding anyone else alive.