Two days after a magnitude 5 earthquake hit the northern islands of Batanes, 22-year-old Tina (not her real name) scrolls through old Facebook photos of her boyfriend, Jenward.
“Lagi kaming magkasama. Kung saan siya pupunta isasama niya ako. Pinagmamalaki pa niya ako, hindi niya ako pinababayaan,” Tina recalled.
(“We were always together. I would tag along wherever he went, and he was always showing me off. He was always there for me.”)
Like almost everyone else at their town of Itbayat, Batanes, Tina and Jenward were fast asleep in bed when the quake struck at 4am.
The couple found themselves pinned down by rocks.
“Di ako makapaniwala biglaan. Niyakap niya lang ako hanggang sa natabunan ng bato. Kinakausap pa niya ako tapos sabi niya makakaligtas pa ako basta magtiwala ka lang. Iyan ang huli niyang sinabi tapos nag-I love you pa siya,” Tina said.
(“I was in shock. It happened so suddenly. He held me close until he was covered in rubble. He kept reassuring me I would survive if I just believed I could. Those were the last things he said to me then he told me he loved me.”)
Jenward died after sustaining injuries on his back and head.
At Batanes General Hospital, doctors continue to monitor the progress of Tina’s siblings.
The children, ages 14 and seven, sustained injuries on their arms and feet.
Tina’s father, Alvin, was at work when the earthquake hit, and laments not being there for his children.
“Masakit na masakit na parang gusto kong ako nalang iyong mamatay para sa kanila,” Alvin said.
(“It’s heartbreaking. I would die for them.”)
SAGIP KAPAMILYA DELIVERS FOOD PACKS TO VICTIMS
Authorities estimate around 60 people sustained injuries.
Six are currently under observation at the Batanes General Hospital.
“Always remember that Batanes is a Geographically Isolated Disadvantaged Area (GIDA). What we are trying to facilitate is their transfer to a facility that is fully-equipped,” said Dr. George Quimson.
ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya donated food packs to victims of the earthquake, including the patients who were rushed to hospitals.
"Nagpapasalamat po ako sa kanila kahit hindi po ako kakilala tumulong po sila," Tina said.
(“I want to thank them because they offered help to strangers like me.”)
Sagip Kapamilya will distribute food packs in Itbayat Island today.