LEGAZPI CITY, Albay: The people of Albay commemorate super Typhoon Reming that hit the Bicol Region 10 years ago, recalling remarkable lessons it left that educated the people about impact of extreme climate.
Father Eman Avila, parish priest, said the tragedy imparted important lessons as the Bicolanos learned to unite, segregate trash and plant more trees to fight climate change.
“Ten years ago, we were swallowed by the catastrophic super Typhoon Reming on November 30, 2006. I was a deacon then and Bishop Jose Carino put on hold our ordination because all roads were impassable and the Albay Cathedral was destroyed. Instead, we were told to do pastoral work to help the victims so they could pick up the remaining pieces [of their lives]and get back on their own feet again,” Father Avila said during the Mass at the start of the commemoration.
Because of Reming, according to the priest, the Bicolanos bonded together and the people of Legazpi learned proper disposal of garbage through segregation and planted more trees to cushion adverse effects of climate change.
Mayor Noel Rosal said the arrival of Reming in Albay is history to all Albayanos.
He added that the most important lesson they learned was being ready in case of any eventuality.
The survivors of the typhoon and local officials gathered together for the 10th year at ground zero in Padang Shrine in honor of the dead and missing persons.
The Padang Shrine was put up by Ako Bicol party-list lawmakers Christopher Co, lawyers Alfredo Garbin and Rodel Batocabe.
Maria Arquero, 75, a survivor, remembered that she was able to save two elderly persons by pulling them out of a rampaging flash flood.
“I was taking refuge at the rooftop of their house when the cascading flash flood from the foot of Mount Mayon hit us. Luckily, I was able to hold the post and grabbed the couple’s hands. After the tragedy, they went to Mindanao and never returned to Bicol,” she said.
For 10 years now, Arquero has been attending yearly commemorations of the Reming tragedy in Padang Shrine to celebrate life, survival and resiliency.
For the survivors, the shrine is a symbol of hope and memories of the dead as the unforgettable disaster on November 30, 2006 redefined the Albayanos’ readiness and adaptability to an extreme climatic event.
About 85 to 90 percent of Padang village was washed away by walls of volcanic materials and turned the progressive and happy village into a barren land.
Today, Padang village is back to life although majority of the population have been relocated to Taysan Resettlement Site.
RHAYDZ B. BARCIA