MANILA - Like a scene from a disaster movie was how overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Robelita Sabado Gallardo described the twin explosions that shook Beirut, Lebanon Tuesday night.
In an interview on ABS-CBN's Teleradyo Wednesday, Gallardo said it was the worst thing to ever happen after living in the Middle Eastern nation for 20 years.
"Twenty years na ako dito at halos nakita ko na lahat. Ito 'yung pinaka-worst na nakita ko in front me. Not in my wildest dream na mangyari ito," she said.
Gallardo, a household service worker, said she was at her employer's house when an explosion in Beirut's port occurred past 6 p.m that sent a plume of smoke over the capital skyline.
It was later followed by a larger blast that rocked their condominium building, a kilometer away from the port warehouses that stored a stockpile of highly explosive ammonium nitrate.
"Akala mo 'yung nanonood ka ng sine na it's happening in front of you . . . then makikita mo na nag-slow motion 'yung pangyayari," she said.
When they evacuated, she saw collapsed buildings as streets were covered in debris and hospitals swamped with the injured.
For Gallardo, the picturesque Lebanese capital has transformed into a war zone.
"Beirut is a very, very nice place. It's like a small haven. Maganda talaga siya. Mga tao rito, kung ikumpara mo sa ibang Middle East na mga bansa, open sila rito," she said when asked what attracted thousands of Filipinos to work in Lebanon.
"Para kang nasa Pilipinas. You can do whatever you want as long as wala kang inaapi. Suweldo dito ay dollars naman kaya ako nagtagal."
Gallardo, who is raising 2 children with her Turkish husband in Lebanon, said she has yet to make a decision on whether to stay or leave the city.
"Parang ang hirap kasi. Sa totoo, for now, I don't know what to do. I don't know what to think kasi may mga anak ako na isaalang-alang dito," she said.
The blast that tore through Lebanon killed more than 100 people and injured over 4,000 others.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday 2 Filipinos died from the incident while 8 were injured. Eleven seafarers and a household service worker also remained missing.