A city full of hopes buried beneath the soil. The City of Naga boasts of their flourishing mining and cement industries which earned its title as the Industrial Hub of Southern Cebu. Yet who would have thought that the land that has given its people a means to survive would be the same land that will disrupt their normal lives?
When Jonalyn Siton, 17, saw the damp land rushing toward their place, she immediately picked her four-year-old sister from bed and informed her mother about it, but before she knew it, they were already trapped under debris of land.
On the morning of September 20, the country woke up to a devastating news as a massive landslide swallowed dozens of houses along with its residents in Sitio Sindulan, Barangay Tina-an, Naga City, Cebu.
In an exclusive interview with The Quill, Jonalyn shared her horrible experience of being trapped under the rocks with barely enough air to breathe.
Her father, who was on the way to the market when the incident happened, immediately ran back to the area to locate them. But the land covering the house kept their voices unheard from above.
“Naay gasul sa akong luyo. Mao akong gidukdok para madungog ni papa asa mi dapit,” she recounted.
[“There was an LPG tank behind me. I pounded it repeatedly so that my father can hear where we were.”]
Unfortunately, her four-year-old sister, Althea Siton, died in her arms a few minutes after the incident. Her other younger sister died on the spot.
“Akong manghod [Althea] kay nagtyabaw na man kay sakit na daw ug wala’y hangin. Siya ma’y una nakuha.”
[“My sister cried in pain due to lack of air. She was the first one go.”]
After a few hours of agonizing hell, a kind neighbor was able to dig a hole from the piles of rocks leading to the rescue of Jonalyn and her mother.
However, on Friday, September 21, her mother, Jocelyn Siton, died from other complications in the city hospital.
When asked if she believed she still has a mission in this world, Jonalyn said that she feels she has a big responsibility now that there are only three of them, including her father and sister, from a family of six. Her other surviving sister, Eliza Siton, happened to have gone out of the house to comply an errand from her mother right before the landslide took place.
“Ako ma’y pinakamagulang. Naa pa gyud koy dako nga misyon sa kalibutan,” she added.
[“I am the eldest among my siblings. I believe that I still have a big mission in this world.”]
The landslide, triggered by heavy rains, left a physical trauma and a deep emotional wound to the victims, but soon enough, they will rise from the rocks and soil that buried their hopes.