Cebu City opens Abellana school gym to house 500 stranded passengers

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital | December 24,2019 - 05:05 PM

Stranded passengers in Cebu City will have to celebrate Christmas away from their families as they wait for the announcement of trips to resume. They are now staying at the Abellana National High School gym. | CDND PHOTO/ Gerard Francisco

CEBU CITY, Philippines — They may be spending Christmas away from their homes.

But at least passengers, who are stranded in Cebu City because of cancelled sea trips, have roofs over their heads as Typhoon Ursula passes through Cebu tonight, December 24.

The Cebu City government opened the doors of Abellana National High School’s gym to accommodate almost 500 individuals, who were left with no place to stay after the cancellation of sea trips as storm signal number one was hoisted over Cebu City on Monday, December 23.

Cebu City is under storm signal number 2 as of 2 p.m. on Tuesday, December 24.

READ: Signal No. 3 raised over Camotes as Ursula intensifies into a typhoon

READ: Orange rainfall alert in northern, central Cebu

Doctor Jeffrey Ybones, chief of the City’s Department of Social Welfare and Services, said the gym has been opened to accommodate stranded passengers since Monday evening, December 23.

Pancit and arroz caldo (hot porridge) were served to the stranded passengers.

Blankets and sleeping mats have been distributed for their comfort.

Ybones said the city government will cater to their needs until the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) says it is safe for sea trips to resume.

“We encourage stranded passengers, who do not have anywhere to stay in Cebu City, to go to the Abellana gym because it is relatively safer than staying and waiting in the ports,” he said.

The DSWS plans to expand the operation in the event that the number of stranded passengers will increase.

He said the Tinago gym is ready to be used when the need arises.

Rylen Baay, 33, was excited to go home to Bohol after seven years of working in Manila.

Baay said it will be her first time to see her family members and friends after seven years.

She was supposed to leave Cebu around 3 p.m. on Monday, December 23, to Talibon, Bohol.

But the PCG already ordered the cancellation of sea trips as signal number one was raised over Cebu City.

Baay, who is staying at the gym of Abellana National High School, said Christmas will be literally cold this year as she will be celebrating it away from family and in a place that she is not familiar with.

But the Boholana remains hopeful that she will be home for the rest of the holiday season.

“Akong wish kay makauli ko unya good health pud,” she told CDN Digital.

(My wish is that I can go home. I also wish for good health.)

Ruffo Diaz, 46, who hails from Surigao del Sur, arrived in Cebu City on Saturday, December 21, for a short vacation with friends.

They were supposed to go back home on Monday, December 23, when they were stranded in Cebu City.

Diaz’s wife and six children are waiting for him in Lianga, Surigao del Sur.

“Akong wish lang gyud kay makauli nako sa akong family,” he said.

(My only wish is that I can go home to my family.) / celr

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TAGS: Abellana National High School, Cebu City, Philippine Coast Guard, stranded passengers, Typhoon Ursula

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