‘Presence of mind’ when visiting natural attractions

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | September 27,2021 - 02:28 PM
Tinubdan Falls, Catmon, Cebu

Photo courtesy of Catmon Police Station

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Tourists planning to visit natural attractions in Cebu province are told to always be on the lookout on their surroundings.

This developed after a family outing on Sunday, September 26, in Tinubdan Falls in Catmon town in northern Cebu turned into a tragedy.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) confirmed that heavy rains brought by localized thunderstorms in the hinterlands of Catmon resulted in the swelling of water levels in Tinubdan Falls on Sunday afternoon.

“No major weather system was monitored such as storms but there were localized thunderstorms covering Catmon and other parts of northern Cebu,” said Wilson Ramos, interim information officer of PDRRMO, during a press interview on Monday, September 27.

 

In turn, PDRRMO urged residents and local tourists to observe precautions when visiting waterfalls, rivers and other similar eco-tourism destinations.

These included identifying the nearest exits in case of bad weather or when water levels will start to rise, and to always stay alert for unusual changes in their environment.

“Let’s always keep a presence of mind. Keep a lookout on our surroundings. For example, when you notice the water in a river or in a waterfalls gradually becomes muddy, that’s an early sign of an incoming flash flood,” said Ramos.

The PDRRMO also urged local governments and barangays to ensure safety measures will be put in place before inviting tourists to visit natural spots in their localities to prevent another similar tragedy from happening in the future.

Neil Sanchez, chief of PDRRMO, said in a separate interview that Tinubdan Falls is considered a ‘relatively new tourist destination’, and that no proper safety protocols were being implemented there so far.

According to initial reports the PDRRMO received from their counterparts in Catmon town, there were more than 10 people taking a dip in Tinubdan Falls, in Barangay Tabili on Sunday morning, most of whom happened to be local tourists.

Visitors were warned that a large volume of water, brought by heavy rains experienced in more elevated areas of Catmon, were headed their way.

The gushing water swept away three people, two of whom were found dead hours after. The victims were identified as Kent Junde Monterolla, 17, and Princess Alastra, 7.

Alastra’s corpse was found around 11:30 a.m. on Monday along the river in Barangay Duyan, which is approximately six kilometers downstream from Tinubdan Falls.

Disaster and rescue unit earlier recovered the body of Monterolla on Sunday evening near a spillway in Katambisan in Barangay Corazon or seven kilometers away from the falls.

Search and retrieval operations are still ongoing for Jacel Alastra, 32, as of this writing.

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TAGS: Catmon, PDRRMO, Tinubdan Falls, Tinubdan Falls tragedy, Wilson Ramos

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