Re-visiting ‘Reming’ victims in Albay

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LEGAZPI CITY: Almost nine years ago after the onslaught of Typhoon Reming, tales of so-called wandering souls still ‘haunt’ Padang village where hundreds were buried alive.

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At the no-barren land, there are three interconnected crosses built by businessman Elizaldy Co, called “Typhoon Reming Memorial Shrine” to pay tribute to residents whose precious lives were lost to raging natural calamities aggravated by climate change.

Inscribed in the memorial shrine read as follows:

To nature’s beauty and wrath;

To those who perished & others who survived;

You are not forgotten, neither will you ever be.

To our individual resilience and communal determination;

To our triumph over tragedy;

Let this mark the change, not the end of strength, hope & peace.

Padang village is used to be a vibrant community. The place is now barren and lifeless because many of the residents have died after the onslaught of the typhoon.

More than 200 people were buried alive, while some remains were unearthed a majority of the corpses remain beneath the ground.

Ghost stories in Padang begun immediately after the typhoon, said Gina Arienda, a mother of five.

“There are times that you can hear voices from afar begging for help. Sometimes they seem like people gasping for air from raging waters. Their voices reverberate either in the middle of the night or in the afternoon,” she said.

“At first we were afraid but we got used to the idea that there are wandering souls here. I think they’re asking for our prayers because of their untimely demise due to natural calamities,” she added.

Jeepney and bus drivers do not pick up passengers going through the national highway from Padang to the first district of Albay covering the towns of Sto. Domingo, Bacacay, Malilipot, Tabaco, Malinao and Tiwi.

Glen Banzuela, a motorist, told The Manila Times that there are times when he would pass through the highway and experience a bizarre queue of people from all ages with forlorn faces.

“It was a horrible experience to see a white lady and a group of people on the middle of the night out of nowhere,” Glen said.

Today, particularly on All Soul’s Day, surviving family members of casualties would visit Padang and offer prayers for their loved ones.

On November 30, as it has become an annual activity, survivors of typhoon Reming would visit the site to attend a holy mass.

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