PAMPANGA — It was a miracle, according to Rogelio Pacelo, 39, that he had escaped from the collapsed Chuzon supermarket in Porac town following the strong tremor across Luzon island.
He was then with his wife and 6-month-old child buying supplies for his small convenience store when the quake struck around 5 p.m. on Monday.
First to collapse were the supermarket's trusses, said Pacelo. Then it was dusty and debris were falling everywhere. He thought there was no more way out until a store employee led them to an exit.
“Akala ko nga lang eh pelikula lang nangyayari ‘yun,” he said. “Nagtanong nga ako sa Panginoon. Sabi ko, ‘Lord, ito na ba?’ Akala ko ‘yun na ‘yung end of the world talaga, akala ko katapusan na namin.”
(I thought that it only happens in movies. I asked God. I said, ‘Lord, Is this my time?’ I thought it was the end of the world, that we are done.)
Everyone was bloody, shouting and panicking but he and his child managed to flee scratch-free amid dust, breaking glasses, falling stones and metals. His wife only sustained minor bruises.
“Napakahirap po. Wala kaming ibang ginawa kundi humingi ng habag sa Panginoon. Wala na kaming choice no’n,” Pacelo told ABS-CBN News outside the heavily devastated structure. He was wearing the same shirt since the tragedy, his shorts ripped.
(It was hard. We sought mercy from the Lord. We did not have a choice.)
He claimed seeing dozens of wounded people leaving the building. He knows there could be more trapped in the rubble.
Pacelo’s wife and child did not go to hospital anymore, saying they were fine and recuperating from the trauma at home.
The devastation was massive in the town, where officials already declared a state of calamity.
Search and rescue operations continue.