Notes: You may want to click the images for larger viewing. The photos were taken while back-riding on a motorcycle.
I had the chance to visit Cortez Bohol last Saturday, that was 5 days after the M7.2 earthquake hit Bohol. That was my second time to leave Panglao after the earthquake, the first was last Friday when we had to go to Tagbilaran to secure some food supplies.
My only plan that day was to visit the nearby church members and my Sunday School students. I am not yet still comfortable traveling long distances because of the earthquake. But Husband received an SMS from a pastor whose church was in the municipality of Cortez on Friday night. He was requesting us to continue to pray for their situation and for their immediate needs which included water and food. Hubby decided to visit the said Pastor the next day to bring some food and water. He has no one to bring to carry the commodities so I volunteered. We preferred to travel via motorcycle first to save on gas and second so we could pass through even on narrow roads since we were not yet sure if the usual route was passable.
The road to Cortez was passable that day though the road has several cracks.I noticed a landslide on the side of the road but the road itself was clear. I learned from the pastor we visited that it was cleared by the DPWH. Many thanks to the local DPWH who immediately attended to this concern.
We also need to pass on a bridge which was submerged with water from the river. On our way to the church, the water was not that deep yet. But I noticed that the water became deeper on our way home considering we didn’t stay long on the the pastor’s place. The rise in water level was caused by four landslides which blocked some parts of the rivers. There were some locals who advised the motorists on which part to pass by. I just hope that the blocking on the river will be addressed immediately by the authorities so the water level will not continue to rise.
The church we visited didn’t totally collapsed, thank God. Only part of the parsonage gave up but nobody was hurt when it collapsed, thank God again. But based on the current condition of the church and the continuous aftershocks, the building was not safe to dwell in. They just built a small pen outside the building and since night of the earthquake, it has been their dwelling place.
There were so many sign boards along the road asking for food and water. Some asked for trapal (waterproofed canvas) for their temporary roofs. There were several houses which collapsed. Some were partially damaged but there were others which were totally devastated. Some built tents outsides their houses. We should have brought extra goods but unfortunately, the goods we brought were not that much. I think it was just enough for two or three meals for the pastor’s family and one of his church members whose house were trampled by the earthquake. The municipality’s old Catholic church and part of the municipality building also collapsed.
On our way home, I noticed relief goods distribution in two different places. It seems that the donations were from private groups because the vehicles used where coasters and vans and not government vehicles. The packages given to the people were quite big, probably the included rice was more than 5kgs.
Last Saturday, the municipality Cortez has still no power supply. And if there is no electricity, there is also no water supply because the water supply in most places here in Bohol are electricity-dependent.
I believed the municipality of Cortez can recover from damages of the M7.2 earthquake very fast. The roads, though have some cracks, are still passable. It is just few kilometers away from the downtown where almost all the commodities can be bought. Only those whose houses collapsed may need sometime to recover and rebuild their homes. And our continuous prayer are with them.