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Cagayan de Oro After Typhoon (Bagyong) Sendong

Updated on January 23, 2012

When I quit my previous job for health-related reasons, I have run out of financial resources to sustain some of my needs and the majority of my "wants". To date, this would be the first Christmas that I wouldn't be spending anything to buy myself new clothes, bags, or the latest paperback novels. Material things had brought my spirits down by my inability to acquire them. However, a single news advisory changed everything. And I realized I don't have valid grounds of fate to complain.

It was last night when my dad decided to tune in to one of the local television channels for the latest news. I wonder what interested him these days amidst traffic of news about political arrests and coercion, politicians’ blame-games, power tripping, or lame showbiz happenings. When you are in the Philippines, we have a great difference in ratio between good news from the bad ones, and most of the time, we always hear and learn about the latter. I was eating my late night snack that moment when a flash report broke in. A man in his most concerned voice said:

“Hindi po namin inasahan ito. Nabasa namin ito sa diyaryo. Nakikinig kami. Wala namang sinabi na kami pala ang tatamaan ng mata ng bagyo. Meron na kaming mga bagyo noong araw kaya [lang] hindi ganito kasama,”

(We are not expecting this. We have read about this in the newspapers. We listened to the news. There was no advisory that we will be the focal point of the typhoon. We have had typhoons in the past though they weren’t as bad as this.)

“Lahat ng tao, tinanggap na nangyayari ang bagyo every now and then dito sa amin, pero hindi namin akalain na ganito kagrabe ang tama sa amin,”

(Everyone knew that typhoons occur every now and then here in our area but we did not expect something this worst.)

It was Mayor Vicente Emano, whose statement was quoted above. He is referring to the typhoon that brought catastrophe to Cagayan de Oro City, a wonderful coastline island amongst the Philippine archipelago located at the northern part of Mindanao, which he provides stewardship and governance. It was peacefully beautiful until last week, late Friday night to be exact, when it was struck by the typhoon Sendong. As evidenced by his words, no one was expecting a calamity this bad. They have had previous floods in the city but none was as disastrous and debilitating as this.

I was left with mouth open as if I can take in and swallow such element of surprise. Good thing I managed to finish the snack after hearing such late-night advisory. I never knew it was happening… I thought. Thanks to the major local news channels who have been focusing more on the love life of the entertainment celebrities instead of keeping track of the recovery and rescue missions. It was a shame that CNN, an international broadcasting network, was more updated with the latest progress about the calamitous event. Good thing we have little philanthropists over the social media network who were posting facebook statuses and tweets in vain for the general Filipino populace to recognize the recent typhoon destruction.

Cagayan de Oro City is the provincial capital of Misamis Oriental, Philippines. It is known to many as “The City of Golden Friendship”, due to inherent hospitality and camaraderie among its people.

Cagayan de Oro (also known as CDO)
Cagayan de Oro (also known as CDO) | Source

Cagayan is considered as a first-class city and is referred to as the regional center and melting pot of northern Mindanao. Tourists, locals and foreigners alike, hover the city in pursuit of its breath-taking nature spots, water and land games and activities, sumptuous delicacies, and rich tradition and culture. It is indeed a metropolis in the Philippine northern coast.

The Macahambus Adventure Park
The Macahambus Adventure Park | Source
White-Water Rafting at Cagayan de Oro (CDO)
White-Water Rafting at Cagayan de Oro (CDO) | Source

It was one of the most promising business centers the country has due to its access to cheap power source, abundantly rich agriculture, and stable climate. One thing that sets the city apart from the rest is the absence of any hard-hitting typhoons all year round.

You can look for great finds at CDO. From handicraft items to the most eccentric works of art, expect to find them just around the city.
You can look for great finds at CDO. From handicraft items to the most eccentric works of art, expect to find them just around the city. | Source

But when typhoon Sendong made its landfall last week at a late Friday night, it seemed to have washed out almost everything. A number of infrastructures were destroyed; surrounding land fields were distorted; massive floods submerged numerous villages; and a great number of dreams were shattered as more lifeless victims are found and accounted. Everyone was completely off guard. People have to deal, right there and there, with feelings of ambivalence; distraught; torment; and sudden loss.

An old woman groping for ropes as fellow residents rescue her from the muddy flash flood.
An old woman groping for ropes as fellow residents rescue her from the muddy flash flood. | Source
Rampaging typhoon crushed houses and settlements into debris...
Rampaging typhoon crushed houses and settlements into debris... | Source
This house was seen resting on a wall after typhoon Sendong hit the entire area.
This house was seen resting on a wall after typhoon Sendong hit the entire area. | Source

This is certainly devastating. Even though Cagayan de Oro is miles apart from where I am, I feel deeply for the destruction of such beautiful and peaceable city. I couldn’t imagine how the Cagayanos deal with each loss every single day. When Christmas means celebration of good will and happiness with family members came a toll which took almost every life known. These people struggle to live through chaos, lost children, missing parents, and unseen loved ones while clinging on a faint hope of finding them safe and alive. They crowd inside evacuation centers waiting for food, medications, and other provisions in order for them to have just enough energy to carry on in the coming days. For there was almost nothing left from crushed shelters, wiped-out livestock, and shattered dreams.

And here I am complaining about my failing financial resources when in reality, I have everything I need. In the absence of luxurious material things, I still have my sanity, my loving family, and my living all intact within my reach as compared to my poor fellowmen who have nothing but courage and prayers to hold on to. In lieu with this, I appeal to my fellow Filipinos here and in other parts of the world. Let us help in every way we can. it could be from donations of food, clothes, medications, or money. Monetary amount is never an issue but just a component of the gazillion things we can do and contribute. With willingness, we will never run out of efforts to give and will discover more reasons to continue giving.

This Time, Let's Put Our Mobile Phones in to Good Use.

Your extra prepaid load can be put to good use. For Globe subscribers you can help the Typhoon Sendong victims by texting DONATE (space) AMOUNT (space) MPIN (space) SLB and sending it to 2882 for free.

For more information, you can browse the internet relating to Philippine website pages discussing the recent calamity, 7-Eleven Philippines Facebook Page, or this article from Manila Bulletin.


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    • thesingernurse profile image

      thesingernurse 6 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      You're welcome kabayan. This is the least that I can do to spread the news about such event in order to reach out to more fellow Filipinos. Keep safe always and God bless!

    • MoiraCrochets profile image

      Moira Durano-Abesmo 6 years ago from Sagay, Camiguin, Philippines

      I am from Cagayan de Oro and I also got devastated by that flood. Thanks for writing this down, this is a beautiful tribute to our city and our people.

    • thesingernurse profile image

      thesingernurse 6 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Thank you very much for reading Arian Rey. And I adore you for your willingness to help in all ways you can. I am hoping that our brothers and sisters in CDO would recover and start anew, eventually.

    • Arian Rey profile image

      Arian Rey 6 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas (PHILIPPINES)

      I'm so glad I came across with your hub. I also participated on the Mobile Phone Brigade. I'm sure CDO will recover soon.

    • thesingernurse profile image

      thesingernurse 6 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      I was born and raised here in Manila which is why I am not able to master Ibanag so much. My father and relatives also knows how to speak Itawis. I really don't know what's the difference between Ibanag and Itawis but for some reasons, I can understand somehow. I just can't speak them fluently, but I know some words. Very limited though.

      That is very good to hear! We have brilliant nurses back there in Cagayan. I have cousins who are registered nurses by now. I guess ako lang ang naiba na nalihis ng landas. Hehe! Judging by the things you love to do, mukhang tayong mga Ibanag... we are very much inclined to music! Almost everyone I know from our dear province are natural-born singers or musicians. My papa loves the videoke and my grandparents were so much inclined to playing guitar. Too bad, I was not able to get the 'guitarist genes'. All I know about is singing. Hehehe!

      Sa akin naman, kung may kaya lang kami, I could have taken up music or law. I could have entered my dream school. Hindi ko na siguro kailangan na magpakahirap sa mga scholarship ko. But I am proud with my little accomplishments. And I am proud that I recognize hard work. We Ibanags are hard working people right? :D

      I would love to sing with you one of these days. And oh, I want to get a copy of your books Sir, can you mail me their titles?

      Have a blessed day! :D

    • profile image

      conradofontanilla 6 years ago

      That's a welcome surprise; it would be more surprising if you could speak Ilocano or Ibanag. I have a sister nurse. I surmise if our family had more resources I could have taken up medicine. We share love of music: I play the harp and strum the guitar by wido. I sing Beatles, Matt Monro, Elvis P, Carpenters and Basil Valdez. For now I am glad to have stumbled upon cutting edge in the field of medicine, free radicals, stem cell and eicasanoids. I have control over health decisions and opted for chelation therapy instead of angioplasty or bypass surgery. I have written a book on a herbal plant, apatot or noni, now with a Chinese version being sold in Hong Kong. One of these days we will go jamming.

    • thesingernurse profile image

      thesingernurse 6 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      I totally agree Sir. There's not enough land areas for other Filipinos to use. Puro nasa mayayaman lahat. Thank you very much for sharing your wonderful insight. Did you say you live at Cagayan Valley? My father and grandparents were born and raised at Tuguegarao.

    • conradofontanilla profile image

      conradofontanilla 6 years ago from Philippines

      The Sendong tragedy is traced to land or lack of land for the poor. Because of poverty they opt to buy cheap piece of land that the "island" in Cagayan de Oro river happened to be. Actually, it is a delta of which I am familiar because of the proximity of our house to Abulug river Cagayan province,Cagayan Valley. Abulug river created a delta which farmers plant to bananas, bamboo, vegetables, corn for free because it has not been released for titling. We used to cut down small trees growing in the delta for firewood. If only the haciendas were broken up, land shared, and capital freed for industries this country could be better off and more jobs would be available.

    • thesingernurse profile image

      thesingernurse 6 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      You are right Cassy. I am very happy to know that people here are doing even the simplest measures to help. I mentioned the text message thing because it's like the fastest way to reach out to all Filipino people... I think our brothers and sisters in Cagayan de Oro need many other important things... but mostly, prayers... I pray that they may overcome all these hardships... I know they will...

      Thank you very much for dropping by my dear. And I am happy you liked your stay in the Philippines. :D

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      There are many things we can all do, and helping charities is one way, Tina. Donating some clothes is one and even donating blankets, and food parcels here in UK is well organized. Medicines is another good source that people need and building materials. I have been to the Philippines before and it is a beautiful place! Thanks for the wonderful hub!

    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      So many lives were lost and so much destruction happened. Hopefully, those who can help would help. I also hope that our government would have better disaster forecast and planning strategies. It's a pity how we are all aware of how much the Philippines is prone to typhoons and flash floods but actually do very little about them :(

    • thesingernurse profile image

      thesingernurse 6 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      It would always be kept a secret dear Princess unless there comes another Pinoy hubber who would read this comment thread. Hehe! The donation thing via extra load is sort of confusing for me because I am not in to text keywords... Donating old clothes or goods would do. I think Philippine Red Cross could provide avenues for these measures. :D

    • profile image

      Princess Pitt 6 years ago

      oh btw, bout the extra-prepaid load donation you mention.....

      I won't mind donating my iphone ( wala namng load un palageh eh)..ssshh.bili bili ako mac pro...tapos bukas wala pambayan sa rent! hahaha atin lang yan hah..hmmp!

    • thesingernurse profile image

      thesingernurse 6 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      I understand. Same here. That's why the least that I can do is to expose this story so everyone, Filipinos and other people alike, would learn of such unfortunate event. Maybe they have the kind heart to offer any form of help (and that would be so great if they do). I even came across some photos of the tragic event in CNN website and it was indeed "nakakaluntang". OUTRAGEOUS . Photos of demised children some not older than 2 years old! As how we Filipinos would exclaim in disbelief, "grabe!".

      I am praying that in time, all families would be able to recover, move on, and start a new...

    • profile image

      Princess Pitt 6 years ago

      Oouch. I have a pic, my best friend a student from CDO sent to me, a father holds his 2 year old dead daughter he looked at her muddy face full of love and pain....I can't breath if i wont cry.

      I feel sorry i can't do somethin, i'm super broke right last year in college...

      though i feel i'm used to these ordeals,,still its more painful 2 ignore u don't feel anything.

    • thesingernurse profile image

      thesingernurse 6 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Yeah, you're right. I hope in time, all of them would be able to move on a start anew. I have them in my prayers too...

    • rLcasaLme profile image

      rLcasaLme 6 years ago from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

      Hi Tina,

      Our church is already making arrangements on reaching out to the victims of the flood. Everyone is really showing compassion. It was a relief that everyone is willing to help. We can only contribute and help, but the pain of losing your loved ones and losing everything you've had is what really pierces our hearts. If only we could embrace those people, we would.

      We always pray to God that may He provide comfort to them and give them enough supply to start over and continue living.