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Pain was beyond bounds of human measure. It was his battle that seemed unbeatable for years.

I was in tears listening to the police officer who led us to the memorial site of the victims of the landslide in Ginsaugon Southern Leyte last February 5, 2011. His gloomy voice and his timid sobs made me feel as if I was there at the scene of the incident. His haunting experience was still fresh in his mind.

After being rained for two days, it was supposedly a sunny day. Everything went back to normal. Classes were held like ordinary days. People went back to their daily routines. At almost 11 in the morning, he decided to go to the town to buy some meat to cook for their lunch. His wife, who was a teacher and two of his children were in school at that time, while his eldest and youngest sons were left in their house with their nanny.

When he was on his way back home riding his motorcycle, he heard a loud cracking sound which seemed like an engine from a huge helicopter. His heart almost jumped out of its cage when he thought what it could possibly be. He knew something terrible happened though he prayed he was wrong.

A few meters from their house, he was already shaking in fear. There was nothing left uncovered from their house. Brown thick mud, gigantic rocks and debris from the mountain swathed the whole village. With what he saw, he threw himself from the motorcycle to walk along the horribly deserted place. There was blood everywhere. Seeing the tip of their neighbor’s terrace, he felt a little glint of hope. He searched and shouted for hours. Nobody was there.

He went to the school and did search for possible survivors. No one was there, too. He didn’t find anything even the slightest glimpse of his wife’s and children’s dead bodies. He cried so loud like he was trapped in hopelessness.

Pain was beyond bounds of human measure. It was his battle that seemed unbeatable for years. His whole village with more than 400 families was wiped out. More or less 1000 bodies including his family members were no longer found. Only less than 20 people survived. Almost 4000 people died.

We seated under the uncanny shed surrounded with epitaphs of those unrecovered victims. The place had changed a bit after the tragedy. The place was covered with full grown trees. There was a sweet smell of rice fields in the air, which somehow revived the place.

With a limited time we had, we joined together in a short yet heartfelt prayer for the souls of all the victims of the tragedy during the said landslide on February 17, 2006.