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Earthquake in Haiti Resurrects Ghosts of the Past in the Philppines

Updated on March 11, 2013

Earthquake ravaged Haiti

Picture from Reuters
Picture from Reuters

The very powerful earthquake that rocked and devastated the poor Caribbean country in Central America, the Haiti, brings back the memory of the same fate...

our province felt in July 16, 1990. Indeed the northern part of the Philippines, particularly the provinces of Pangasinan, Benguet and Nueva Ecija, and the cities such as Dagupan, Baguio and Cabanatuan, experienced a powerful earthquake which is measured at an intensity 7.7 magnitude that flattened and destroyed many houses and buildings, tore down bridges, and created numerous cracks in paved roads just like what is seen in the Hollywood movies. Worst, that poweful tremor claimed thousands of innocent and hapless lives. I remember that tragic incident occured when I was just a sophomore high school student. At that time I am gazing at the window at around 4:26 PM in the afternoon, ala home alone, in the afternoon daydreaming and enjoying my day since I intentionally skipped my last subject. We are residing at an old wooden house then, an antique house as it is, that was worn down by time and feisty termites now. Then all of a sudden the earth was beginning to move, giving me an instant shock, and as seconds goes by the shaking becomes stronger and stronger and my first reaction that time is to get out of our home as quick as possible (to avoid potential falling debris or getting caught inside the house just in case it collapses, fortunately these presumptions didn't materialize, thank goodness) and seek refuge to open grounds, and very soon enough I just did that and was been be able to turn off our circuit breaker, a great presence of mind to boot at the time of struggle like this (Indeed adrenaline rush is afterall useful especially when danger and troubles are imminent ).

Images / Pictures of devastation left by earthquake in the Philippines.

The ill-fated Hyatt Regency Hotel in Baguio City. Picture from
The ill-fated Hyatt Regency Hotel in Baguio City. Picture from
Dagupan City was seemed to be a ghost town in this trying times.Picture from
Dagupan City was seemed to be a ghost town in this trying times.Picture from

From a neighboring house my Auncle also managed to get out together with his son's wife. We proceeded to a place near a pond about 15 meters away from our homes and 7 meters away from a nearby electrical post, whoa, the experience was so unforgettable since I saw our home being shaken just like a bamboo or a tree being swayed by a very powerful typhoon. The sound emanating from the trembling grounds was indeed hair-raising. The pond's water was moving back and forth as if you're in the beach seeing turbulent waves of the sea, the feeling of dizziness and nausea subsides and the frightening experience lasted for 45 seconds, the longest and most horrifying 45 seconds ever in my entire life. The thinking of end of the world was on my mind that time and even think that God was so angry that's why he unleashes such powerful and furious earthquake that was so overpowering and overwhelming as buildings, bridges, houses and other man made infrastructures was bamboozled and damaged. The terrifying earthquake paralyzed and had whipped at Dagupan City (GeneralHowitzer's bulwark) black and blue for almost one month. There were no potable water and electricity, no open shopping centers or grocery to buy your needs and wants. Transportation around the city was halted. Many were relocated to evacuation centers and there were more than ten thousands of them. My family, and relatives slept outside our homes out of fear that aftershocks may cause another scary and formidable earthquake, true enough a very powerful intensity 5.3 magnitude aftershock did appear and sends chills and fear to us again in July 18 at dawn. Trauma seemed to be in the minds of every people ravaged by this nature's form of anger. The City was in complete destruction and rubble and the damage to properties was so huge it took statisticians and soothsayers that our city will never recover its past glory again, but this was proven to be wrong since Dagupan now is one of the premier City in Region 1 (Northern Luzon Region) and one of the best north of Manila (Philippines' capital) thanks to the determination and resilience shown by her people, the Dagupeños. The damage to properties was huge in our city, as 17 casualty was posted. Chilling and sad news was reported in Baguio City, as an estimated 1,000 people were killed by the menacing earthquake. The five-star Hyatt Terraces Plaza was not spared from the onslaught as about 50 people were left dead. The hotel crumbled down to earth, as if being intentionally demolished. Other hotels in the city sustained great damages such as the luxurious Nevada Hotel, and Baguio Park Hotel. Many lives perished with this tragic incident and if there are great consolation, that would be the lucky survivors that was still miraculously unearthed alive beneath the rubbles of the ill-fated hotels. Almost similar scenario happened in Cabanatuan City, where about 154 students were trapped and killed in Christian College of the Philppines that collapsed during the earthquake. Many even jumped out of the second floor just to escape being crumpled in the collapsing building.

The sad story that just happened in Haiti reminds me of the earthquake that happened in the northern Philippines. The scene in Haiti right now is indeed breaking my heart, an estimated 200,000 people were feared dead and projected to increase as days pass by. Video clips being shown in television about the incident was shocking and very pitiful. Some were seen being pulled out from fallen debris or rubble alive and not alive, thousands and thousands of people were killed, numerous private and government owned buildings were seen crushed and badly damaged, many people were displaced, and alas, countless people were shown crying, seeking any help they could get and angst was indeed apparent with their actions and what their eyes says. I feel for these people since I feel it first hand how to feel like in a situation where you are being shaken by a powerful earthquake, terrifying as it is, and see your compatriots being trapped and killed in rubbles in national television and newspapers.

My heartfelt condolence to all of the bereaved loved ones of those who perished in this twin quakes that happened 27 years apart.

My very sad 11th Hub in the HubChallenge...

Suggested Readings

The Haiti earthquake. Video from YouTube

The destructive earthquake in Haiti. Video from YouTube


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    • allie8020 profile image

      Allie Mendoza 

      9 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

      Great hub, GeneralHowitzer!

      It must have been absolutely terrifying to experience that earthquake. My family lives in California, but my Mom was vacationing in the Philippines when the earthquake hit. We were losing our mind from panic and worry when we couldn't get a hold of her. Thank goodness she was able to come back safely.

      I think the devastation in the Philippines would have gotten a lot more help all over the world if we had Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites available for sharing what happened there. Anyway, I'm glad you're writing about it.

      Maraming salamat!


    • GeneralHowitzer profile imageAUTHOR

      Gener Geminiano 

      9 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

      @pdh - thanks I love posting my grandson's pic as my avatar...

      @Lita - yeah indeed, let them suffer no more, thanks for the kind words Ma'm

      @ Ken - Thanks a lot for the sincere words...

      @agusfanani - yeah being in the ring of fire earthquakes can be erratic and devastating.

      @ dohn - wow you have a hair raising story to tell too... Yeah my heart goes with them too.

      I appreciate you find time to visit my hubs...

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      9 years ago from US

      good job GH, it surely rings a bell and it is devastating, Maita (your avatar is so cute boy)

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      The year 2012 scare that I'm pushing back away from my mind is happening now? God forbids, but I viewed that movie, because I was curious about how movies can fool viewers.

      Today, Haiti's uneventful tragedy, lends heavily on the same scenes and they are raw scenes and very frightful.

      God bless the people of Haiti. May the global help pouring in that country reach the most needy. This is time for every people on earth to show there is goodness left in their hearts. The people have suffered a lot, let them suffer no more.

    • agusfanani profile image


      9 years ago from Indonesia

      Horrible earth quake also happened in Padang recently which took many lives too. What we can do is pray that These nature devastation in our life will never happen again for ever.

    • dohn121 profile image


      9 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      In both instances, yourself and the girl from the first video exclaimed that,"The world is coming to an end." I felt that way after the second tower of the World Trade Center went down. I really believed that it was the start of World War Three. I half-expected to see foreign fighter planes firebombing the countryside.

      What a harrowing experience for the people of Haiti and for you! Thank you for sharing this with all of us. My heart goes out to all of them.


    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 

      9 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thank you for sharing your personal experiences of 1990. The magnitude of the horror of what has/is happening in Haiti is impossible to grasp, but your story puts a human face on the devastation & destruction.

    • GeneralHowitzer profile imageAUTHOR

      Gener Geminiano 

      9 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

      Thanks a lot HPR for the visit... Yeah nice insight about that...

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 

      9 years ago from Guwahati, India

      The horrifying scene of injured people, the divested building and the crying tone of girls – the world is going to end that all is shivering and shocking of aftermath of earthquake... Let God help them.


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