Earthquake in Dumaguete, Philippines — February 6, 2012

An earthquake struck the central Philippines this morning at 11:49am PHT, about half an hour after the NY Giants Super Bowl victory.  This was incredible – the entire house was rumbling, walls were shaking and the floor felt like it was going out from under my feet.  It sounded similar to thunder, and I’m guessing it lasted for about 30 seconds, maybe a little more.  Cell service was down for awhile, as everyone was trying to call or text everyone they knew to make sure loved ones were ok.

We lost power in our barangay immediately following the earthquake, so we turned on our battery-powered radio for news.  After a few minutes reports started coming in that this earthquake measured 6.9 on the Richter scale, and the epicentre was a mere 44 miles from our home city of Dumaguete!

The earthquake was just off the coast between Negros and the nearby island of Cebu.  A number of small aftershocks followed, and then it seemed quiet.   I took a trike downtown around 1:30pm to run a few errands and was surprised to see virtually every trike just packed with people.  I learned that the schools had been closed and watched as businesses shut down, their outdoor security gates being locked up tight.  All of these students and employees were heading for home.

Rumors were flying that the seawall down along Rizal Boulevard had already been breached and that water was beginning to fill the streets.  As I was having no luck finding a trike, I decided to walk down to the Boulevard to see for myself.  Delighted to discover this was not true, I resumed my search for a ride home.  Hopping in a trike after a 30-minute wait, I joined the sea of cars, trikes, motorcycles and bicycles, many people heeding advice to evacuate for higher ground due to the possibility of a tsunami.  I was so impressed as my incredibly patient driver just battled the bumper-to-bumper traffic without a single complaint, and I arrived home in about 45 minutes (a trip that normally takes no more than about eight minutes).

While I was downtown I did not see any destruction first-hand, but I heard on the news this evening that there was some damage, including three bridges that are considered “impassable” (I don’t know yet which bridges these are).  Thankfully there is no more talk of a tsunami, but sadly, as of this post there are 13 known fatalities here in Negros, including some elementary school students.  Periodic aftershocks continue, even into this evening.  Most are not significant, but the last one about 90 minutes ago was enough to make me sway a bit as I stood.  I checked in with a friend who lives in Banilad on the island of Cebu, and he said that there was no damage there but that they are still experiencing aftershocks, as well.  I do hope these are over now – it’s even more unsettling after dark.

* * *

Please visit again for follow-up posts providing more details as I learn them.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tacticianjenro
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 00:11:54

    Keep safe!

    Reply

  2. Marie
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 18:21:39

    When it happened, being from Oklahoma and not accustomed to earthquakes, I ran and asked my hubby, “Is this an earthquake??!!” He said that it most certainly was. Everyone in the neighborhood was outside and very excited/scared about what had just happened (the same thing we do in Oklahoma when there is a tornado coming, LOL!). Luckily, no serious damage here at our place. It has been over 24 hours, and the last report I heard is that there have been 896 aftershocks….I am sure that number has gone up since that report. I feel terribly for those who lost their lives and those who have suffered loss of any kind due to the earthquake.
    LOVE your blog, keep on blogging!!

    Reply

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