Killer ‘Queenie’

By: Ares P. Gutierrez, Doris C. Bongcac, Edison Delos Angeles, Peter L. Romanillos November 28,2014 - 08:11 AM

Seven-year-old Jason Baldado was soundly asleep with his mother, Alona,  inside their shanty in barangay Sto. Niño in Malabuyoc town,  southern Cebu when heavy rains brought by tropical  depression Queenie fell before dawn Thursday.

Queenie, the 20th tropical cyclone to hit the country this year, made its 2nd landfall over Loay in Bohol at 1:25 a.m. and was moving towards Oslob town in Cebu at the time rains intensified in the southern portion of the province.

State weathermen raised storm signal no. 1 in areas where  Queenie was forecast to pass  as it made its first landfall in Surigao del Sur at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Queenie subsequently made its fourth landfall in the area of Bais-Tanjay in Negros Oriental at 5:15 a.m. and another in the Mabinay-Kabankalan area in Negros Occidental at 5:47 a.m. Rains of up to 15 millimeters fell within the 300-kilometer diameter of the tropical depression.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, Queenie was located 90km southeast of Cuyo in Palawan packing maximum winds of 55 kph near the center and is forecast to move west northwest, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.   Queenie is expected to be within the vicinity of Puerto Princesa City this afternoon and will exit the country between 7-8 p.m.

Storm signal no. 1 remains hoisted over Palawan including Calamian and Cuyo islands, southern Negros Occidental, Guimaras, Iloilo and Antique.

Cebu’s provincial and municipal disaster management teams were placed on alert as early as Wednesday and warned residents especially in coastal and landslide-prone areas to move to safe grounds. Close to 200 families living near river banks and coastal areas in the towns of Argao, Malabuyoc, Dalaguete and Sibonga were evacuated at the height of the storm, according to reports from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO).

DESOLATE. A farmer walks on water soaked earth. (CDN PHOTO/ TONEE DESPOJO)

DESOLATE. A farmer walks on water soaked earth. (CDN PHOTO/ TONEE DESPOJO)

Too confident

While many of the residents of a community along the Saliring River heeded the call to take necessary precautions, mother and son opted to stay back.

“Wala man gud sila’y katulugan nga balay aside sa ilang balay.. Kumpiyansa ra kaayo sila (They don’t have any other place to stay aside from their house. They were just too confident),” Janetta Fabrigar Obiasada, a neighbor of the Baldados, told Cebu Daily News .

A video showing Jason climbing a coconut tree to escape the rampaging river current was uploaded on Obiasada’s Facebook account.

The footage was viewed over 45,000 times and had over 28,000 shares as of 7 p.m. last night.

Obiasada said rains fell at around 3 a.m. An hour later, the river started to swell.

“Mura man to ug buhawi.  Kalit ra man kaayo nikusog ang uwan mga 30 minutes unya nawala ra sad dayon (It was like a whirlwind.

Heavy rains poured for about 30 minutes then it stopped),” said Malabuyoc Mayor Lito Creus.

Three houses including the Baldados’ home which was closest to the river were swept away by the strong torrent. By then, it was too late for mother and son to flee their home.

“Hapit alas-6 na ‘to sila nakabantay nga gi-anod na sila (It was almost 6 a.m. when they realized that they were already being swept away),” Obiasada said.

The boy however, managed to hold onto something while the body of his 50-year-old mother who drowned got snagged in a bamboo fence. Jason initially refused to leave his mother behind, but neighbors egged him on to climb the tree and save himself.

“Sige to siyag syagit nga patay na iyang mama (He kept on shouting that his mother’s already dead),” Obiasada said.

Alona’s body was eventually recovered after the water subsided in the afternoon, said Manolito Quiñanola, barangay captain of Poblacion Uno. The boy was later rescued down the coconut tree by barangay rescuers.

A total of 80 families from barangays Poblacion Uno and Sto. Niño in Malabuyoc were evacuated to the town’s sports complex while the bridge in Lisarang was closed, said Mayor Creus.

In the southernmost towns’ of Oslob and Samboan, two fishermen were reported missing after they set off to sea before Queenie made landfall in Oslob.

Rolando Mayorga of barangay Poblacion in Samboan town was rescued off the waters of barangay Bonbon, said Mayor Raymond Calderon. He said Mayorga was able to cling to a floater.

However, the other fisherman, 45-year-old Celesiano Looc remains missing, according to the PDRRMO.

Cebu PDRRMO head Baltazar Tribunalo said the towns of Malabuyoc, Argao, Santander, Oslob, Samboan, Dalaguete and Sibonga were the hardest-hit among the Cebu towns.

In Argao, more than a hundred families living near river banks were evacuated to the Cerge Remonde Sports Complex as houses situated near the Argao River were submerged in floodwaters.

Landslides were also recorded in barangays’ Bal-as, Linut-od and Calagasan while two footbridges were destroyed in barangay Jomgao, in Argao town.

Power and potable water supply was cut off in the towns of Santander and Dalaguete due to heavy flooding and fallen electricity poles.

Meanwhile, in Dalaguete, 10 houses were destroyed while 20 sustained damage caused by  flooding due to the damage in the river control dikes in Sulung-on.

According to the PDRRMO, an unidentified adult was injured in Dalaguete town after a roofing sheet fell on him.

Marie Nillama, information officer of the Department of Public Works and Highways in Central Visayas (DPWH-7), said four bridges in southern Cebu were not yet passable as of 2 p.m. yesterday.

WHERE TO? Marissa Godena, 13 of Boljoon town, southern Cebu takes care of her 3-year-old brother after their dwelling, an abandoned truck owned by the local government was swept away by floodwaters.  Six Godena siblings live in the abandoned truck with their father who drives a trisikad. Their mother died years ago. (CDN PHOTO/ TONEE DESPOJO)

WHERE TO? Marissa Godena, 13 of Boljoon town, southern Cebu takes care of her 3-year-old brother after their dwelling, an abandoned truck owned by the local government was swept away by floodwaters. Six Godena siblings live in the abandoned truck with their father who drives a trisikad. Their mother died years ago. (CDN PHOTO/ TONEE DESPOJO)

Landslide covered portions of the Paling-Paling Road in barangay Mantalungon, Dalaguete. Floodwater also damaged parts of the Saliring bridge in Malabuyoc, Boljoon bridge and Tapon bridge in Boljoon town. The DPWH fourth engineering district office located in Dalaguete town was also affected by flood, she added.

Classes in public elementary and high schools were suspended yesterday in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu Lapu and the entire Cebu province.

Several colleges, universities and private schools like the University of Cebu, University of the Visayas, St. Theresa’s College, Don Bosco Technological School, Cebu Eastern College and St. Joseph’s Academy in Mandaue City announced the suspension of the classes yesterday morning.

The Cebu station of the Philippine Coast Guard grounded 49 vessels plying routes in the Visayas leaving close to 3,000 people stranded in the ports of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor.

Power supply was cut off in various parts of southern Cebu. In Cebu City, power supply was also cut off starting at midnight in at least five barangays – Bulacao, Tisa, Lahug, Apas and Lorega – because of a damaged transformer. An uprooted tree also fell on an electric pole in barangay Lorega.

BEAT DOWN. The Boljoon town abattoir takes a beating from tropical depression Queenie. (CDN PHOTO/ TONEE DESPOJO)

BEAT DOWN. The Boljoon town abattoir takes a beating from tropical depression Queenie. (CDN PHOTO/ TONEE DESPOJO)



The body of a crew member of a cargo vessel that took shelter from the storm was recovered eight hours after he was reported missing in Jagna town, Bohol.

Cesario dela Serna, chief engineer of M/V Edward Lawrence, was found by Rosario Ortiz in her kitchen in Barangay Looc, Jagna town about 5 a.m. yesterday. Ortiz’s house, located along the shoreline, was damaged by strong waves.  Dela Serna was identified by Jemar Catapan, also a crew member of the cargo vessel, about 6:30 a.m., said PO2 Jupiter Aceron, Jagna police desk officer.

According to Catapan, the vessel took shelter near the coast of barangay Looc on Wednesday because the waves were too strong. Ship captain Roland Apparices conducted a head count of personnel about 9 p.m. on Wednesday and noticed that Dela Serna, 59, and a resident of Cebu, was missing.

Alfonso Damalerio, Bohol provincial administrator, said that several pump boats and houses in the coastal towns in the eastern part of the province were damaged.   He added they had also cleared the roads of the trees that fell due to the strong wind. But Damalerio said they were still assessing, as of Thursday, the damage caused by Queenie because they had not received reports from other towns.

Several barangays in Tandag City and the towns of Cagwait, San Miguel and Tago in Surigao del Sur were struck by flash floods brought by heavy rains Wednesday night, causing several hours of power outages in these affected areas. In Surigao City, a total of 274 residents were also evacuated by the disaster response team.


Search and rescue operations were launched for the three passengers of a motorized boat that capsized in the waters off Zamboangita town, Negros Oriental early yesterday.  PO3 Ramil Melon of the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office operations center said they were still getting the complete names of the passengers who were only identified by their nicknames -Michael, Joker and Maymay./Managing Editor Ares P. Gutierrez, Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac, Reporter Peter L. Romanillos and Correspondent Edison A. delos Angeles

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TAGS: Badian, Boljoon, Cebu, Cebu Daily News, flood, landslide, Queenie, tropical depression, typhoon

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