SOCO: Remembering the 1999 deadly Albay explosion

Nadine Leoncio, SOCO Multimedia Producer

Posted at Nov 05 2016 02:39 AM

MANILA—It’s been 17 years, but the terror still lives on in the hearts of the people who survived the gruesome incident. 

On April 14, 1999, residents of Sitio Santo Nino, Barangay Liguan, Rapu-Rapu, Albay were in a festive mood. People from other towns and cities came to celebrate the fiesta, too. But what started as a joyful day turned into a bloodbath as the event drew to a close.

“Lahat ng tao sumasayaw. Tapos noong umupo ako, biglang may narinig akong pumutok. Dumilim at sobrang mausok. Paglingon ko sa paligid nakabulagta na lahat ng tao,” Virgilio Banadera recalled.

A loud explosion in the area brought hundreds of people down. Some were injured while others died. Few survived.

One survivor, Abundio Barcenilla vividly remembers the tragic incident. “Binuhat ko yung girlfriend ko na duguan. Iyak ako ng iyak. Ikakasal na kami dapat.”

Other survivors also tried to rescue their family members and loved ones. But there were people who lost their beloved in the explosion. “Umiyak ako nung nakita ko ang kapatid ko. Pati pinsan at tiyuhin ko, patay na rin,” said Eddie Banadera.

People trembled with fear, thinking there might be another explosion if they did not leave. Nobody knew what caused or who might have caused the explosion. They were also very far from the hospital in town. All they could do is to carry the injured and rush them there despite being very far from it.

Who could have been behind such a heinous crime? And what could be his motive for the crime? Follow the investigation this Saturday on SOCO, 4pm after Ipaglaban Mo!