It is hard to imagine the magnitude of the tragedy wrought by the landslide in Southern Leyte which buried almost all the inhabitants of a village in St. Bernard town. Being buried alive in mud is certainly not a great way to die, especially when those struck were teachers and students having a normal day in school or ordinary villagers going on their daily business of surviving.
Hopefully, national, international and volunteer efforts to find the missing persons as well as aid the victims and survivors will be smooth. If illegal logging is indeed one of the culprits, may those involved rot in hell. It is sad to note that this tragedy happened just a few weeks after the Wowowee stampede at the ULTRA, a pitiful state for a country where its people suffer from too many unnecessary deaths.
A major reason why I feel for this latest tragedy is because I spent the best memories of my childhood in my late father’s hometown in Southern Leyte. The town is called Padre Burgos and it forms part of Limasawa Island where the first mass in the Philippines was held. Nothing could be more romantic than growing up in a house by the beach and the biggest reason why I don’t have an affinity with television up to now is because I grew up without one. As a child, I swam by the river or in the sea, climbed hills, planted tomatoes, watched the moon at night and did other stuff which can best be described as “rustic. I remember being thrilled just catching tiny, multi-colored fishes by the beach when it was low tide, sailing in outrigger boats to nearby islands and cowering in fear at night during typhoon season because the weather can really be bad in those parts.
What is sad is that I haven’t gone to my hometown in a long time. Blame it on the fact that Southern Leyte up to now has no airport. By sea, it would take you two days to get here and by bus, close to 18 hours which is really swell by modern-day standards. Even though its beauty and natural resources can rival some of the best places in the Philippines, a substantial part of Southern Leyte remains impoverished and underdeveloped. Really pitiful if you ask me considering that the father of the present governor was a close ally of Marcos during all those years of the Marcos dictatorship.