Thursday – June 14. The day it started. At first, we were so excited to see ashes falling as if we were somewhere else. On my way back to school at around past 12 noon, we noticed white flakes on our green tie and skirt uniform. We got too excited and didn’t even think that everything could turn out worst. We went to school. After few minutes, there was an announcement that all students should be sent home before everything comes worst. Everyone almost panicked. We went home.
At 2pm, it was a total darkness, literally. I saw my 6 year old brother going inside the bedroom:
Me : Anong gagawin mo dyan?
Brother : Kukuha akong pajama.
Me : Pajama???? Ang aga-aga pa, bakit matutulog ka na?
Brother : Ang dilim na sa labas eh.
Oo nga naman, madilim na kasi sa labas. Looks like it was already midnight. But that night was still fine. It’s just the ashes that kept pouring. The next day, we felt like we were in Alaska because of the white surroundings, as if there were snow flakes.
Friday – June 15. Mt. Pinatubo finally released its anger! It just erupted. Electricity went. No water. Plus the heavy rains with sand and stone that looks like a hollow block. After a while, I heard some crashing sounds. I checked from the window, it was our neighbor’s house (in front). Their house just collapsed. Then I called my mother and told her what happened. That time my cousin was staying with us. So we sent him there to pick the whole family up. They stayed with us for like a month I think.
For how many days, the ground kept shaking. It brought me to tears. I’ve been telling my mom let’s leave the house and go somewhere safe. We were still well-off that time and had some savings in the bank. But, everything was useless. Establishments were closed including the grocery stores. We were just lucky that we just did some shopping before it happened. There was no water and electricity for 3 months. Some bakeries stayed open to help people but only one loaf of bread sold to each family, not matter how many members you have. We were blessed to have my mother’s cousin stationed in the military base at that time. We had food and water supplies. They were the last batch to leave the base. Everyday, my uncle would pick us up to have bath in their house. Whatever gallons of water they gave us were reserved for drinking and cooking.
Olongapo was isolated. We tried to hire a truck and leave the place with some of our things, we got one. But how? Roads were closed.
Next to our place are the heights were people died because of the landslide. I saw trucks with hardened dead bodies loaded in it passing our street. I saw them. From upstairs. I felt so weak after seeing them.
My mother asked me to buy a loaf of bread in town. I went walking, barefooted. With slippers in my hand. It was just so hard to walk on a sand. As I was approaching the Bakery, I saw a building almost about to collapse. I almost fainted. I went back home without a loaf of bread. At that time, even a piece of bread was very important.
We received tons of relief goods. But I guess these people don’t check what they distribute. We were having lunch. Rice and sardines. As I opened it, I saw some white small particles. And they were moving!! Ewwwww! I almost puked. We opened and checked everything. Yes, there were worms. We were so hopeless at that time. Plus the fact that my father abroad worries for us.
After 3 months, classes resumed. Water and electricity came back. But we remained hopeless seeing these places….
It could’ve been better if it didn’t happen in June. Oh well, it’s been 16 long years now. I’m glad everything went back to normal and better.