Around Siargao & Tsunami Scare

Surigaonon Kids

The stars shine so bright
Heaven can’t be miles away
For it is right here

-Allisson Liddle

Beyond the roadblocks of delayed flights and bad weather, we were determined to make the most out of our summer plans. Bring it on!

Let our weekend adventure begin. We pulled off a flight marathon to Siargao and finally settled down in a secluded resort along the coastlines of Burgos town.

 

Are you up for a challenge? Here’s a picture perfect yet ever-changing weather during our Road Trip to Siargao Island. Yes! Welcome to the traffic-free zone.

Is it just me or do you also think this island is underpopulated?

Read the Previous entry about the Unexpected Hitchhiker and our Siargao Itinerary here.

Day 1 | 3:30 PM

After a power nap and an energizing late lunch, we hit the road to explore the nearby town. Amidst the drizzling weather, we hopped on a motorcycle for an afternoon stroll. We three (hubby, me and mr. driver) pretty fit into one bike, so I was a bit anxious about safety. Good thing, our driver is well familiar with the turns, the rugged terrain and the muddy road ahead. Hubby kept reminding me to relax ‘cos I tend to put my weight on the wrong places when the motorcycle leans to switch direction. Didn’t know being a passenger can be so complicated. :sidefrown:

one of the many classic bahay kubo (nipa hut) in the Philippines

the pier

En route to the pier we caught sight of the threshold to Taktak falls, or also known  as Sta. Monica falls, not my itching feet’s desire though and still under the weather a.k.a. jet lagged, we chose to skip trekking. Instead, we headed further to the end of the town and wander along the fisherman’s wharf.

Colorful boats are perfect contrast to the seemingly serene sea

This port is an entry point and a docking station for small passenger boats, fishing and cargo vessels from Surigao City. Mangrove forest can be seen from afar. Nothing much to do except for an  occasional conversation with locals and forage for some photo shoot-worthy finds.

The rich Mangrove forest reserves from afar.

Few meters away, big waves caresses the sea and breaks. I began to wonder if it’s this usual waves which made Siargao a world famous Surfing destination  all year round.

While we were lost in our own thoughts, we overheard some Surigaonons discussing fresh news. Apparently, a tsunami warning was issued earlier by the Philippine government affecting the towns along the Pacific ocean. Siargao Island made it through that list under level 2 alert. This originated from a deadly tsunami that sent walls of waters washing over coastal cities north of Japan following an epic magnitude 9 earthquake that morning. We weren’t really aware of what’s happening since we are officially detached with the world since our flight marathon.

Few minutes later, Hubby received couple of calls from friends trying to reach us and warn about the situation. I didn’t mind it at first since I haven’t seen a particular sign that a tsunami would just barge into the island anytime soon. Referring from the Tsunami videos in 2004 that struck Thailand, the shoreline should be dried out and waters will be swept off the coast towards the opposite direction at first and will take a few minutes before surprising the island with gigantic waves. But then again I might be wrong.

We went to this old church not far from the pier. I thanked God for the weekend break and prayed that we’ll be spared of with this tsunami scare.

En route to our cozy hut, we heard repeating alarm . Like that of a fire drill. So there is a disaster plan, me thinks. My guess is that it signals everyone that an evacuation is impose to all residents. It started to rain again. I can barely hear a speaker announcement to the community. Everyone is in panic, gathering as much as they can carry. Poultry, rice, pets, clothing, food, family members and more. Neighbors and families help each other to get to higher grounds.

Strange how I feel a sudden panic attack. This is so real. Oplan: Evacuate the Island low land.

~no pictures from here, either we were really panic stricken or the camera is too precious to get wet~

5:30 PM

We reached our accommodation where our British host, Marcos apologized for the inconvenience as we have to join them to crash at his friend’s house on the hill. We learned that a possible tsunami will hit our location at around 7:00 that evening.

We went back to our hut speechless. I stared back at the sea mocking me to give up my hopes for a luxurious getaway. Marcos said he didn’t notice anything unusual with the waves today, so I guess that is what I’ll be holding on for the rest of our trip. But to avoid any risk, together with him and his family, we’ll seek shelter for the night, or at least for few hours.

I’m guessing another sleepless night. What sleep?!

Finally, I had the chance to connect with the world with my trusty old nokia phone and a super slow mobile internet. I managed to find some videos of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami at Fukushima. It left me disconcerted seeing the damage, it finally sinked in how we are in serious danger too. Although I don’t think the hill is still the safest place.

The mood was more intense when Marcos started driving his jeep with only one headlight working in the midst of the dark night and heavy rains.  We have 3 babies on board and most of us were soaked with the wild downpour. The rough road seemed rougher this time, and Marcos was driving like crazy. Just like the movies, an intense cinematography with a tragic plot.  If it were, we’ll probably bagged the best visual effects. It scared the hell out of us.

Didn’t help that we were so near the sea that we can hear the waves wildly splashing by the shoreline. I was imagining huge waves gushing after us. Crazy me.

Few minutes later, we arrived at the hill. Safe and wet.

Marcos friends were very accommodating. I was impressed to learn that they were foreign volunteer workers who settled in at Siargao for quite a long time now. I’m yet to find out why a lot of foreigners chose to settle in at this quaint island.

They have other foreign visitors in town  too. They offered us drinks and made sure we feel at home.

We were only there for only about an hour. Marcos decided for us to go back and succumb to a false alarm.

7:00 PM

I’m a bit hesitant to go back right after all the chaotic mayhem. As if locking the door and windows of our room will stop the waters from coming in if it really happens. This is one helluva mind-blowing day! I fell asleep thinking of any survival strategy whenever the tsunami hit us.

The Day after the Tsunami Alert

10:00 PM

The tsunami alert was lifted. Didn’t made me feel any better though.

Haven Hunter -Weekend Haven

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12 Comments

  • Reply Mr. WeekendHaven June 14, 2011 at 8:23 am

    told yah, the tsunami alert scare was the best part of the trip ;P

  • Reply pinaytraveljunkie June 14, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Whew! So glad you guys are safe. That must have been sooo terrifying! :-(

  • Reply roman leo reyman June 15, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I can imagine your situation. Did you still enjoy Siargao after the tsunami scare?

  • Reply lakwatsera de primera June 20, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Sometimes misadventures like this one turns out to be one of our most memorable experience, (at least di natuloy tsunami)

  • Reply Experience Pinas June 25, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Hello… nice blog post here… galing naman!!! Happy Blogging…

    kiss me back$$ Mabuhay :)

  • Reply Happy Sole June 26, 2011 at 8:11 am

    i agree with lakwatsera de primera.. now you’ll never forget about your siargao trip because of the tsunami scare. a nice story for your grand kids. :)

    • havenhunter
      Reply havenhunter July 14, 2011 at 11:58 pm

      true. sana naman hindi namin maexperience ang totoong tsunami if ever. :)

  • Reply Dylan July 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Whoa! What a memorable experience…
    Great storytelling!
    I can feel the scare and the thrill from your post.

    • havenhunter
      Reply havenhunter July 14, 2011 at 11:48 pm

      Just like those hurricane movies, my paranoia hit at once when I realized that we’re trapped in the island with nowhere to go to. o_0

    • Reply Eric March 14, 2014 at 12:09 am

      DigitalAquariustheres no need to leave the islands, they need to move to hgeihr ground, there are lots of places where its safe, and Im sure they have monthly drills on what to do.I hope everyone is safe in Hawaii. the rest of the US is thinking about you guys.

  • Reply Waking up in an Island Dream | Weekend Haven August 14, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    […] This is a continuation to the epic tsunami scare which spiced up our journey to Southern Philippines. […]

  • Reply laagnalilyput July 15, 2012 at 3:54 am

    Whooaa! I was at the edge of my seat while reading this! galing ng pagkakasulat. feeling ko kasama ako dun sa pangyayari hehe

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