Of Debris and Miracle: A real life story of survival from the experience of typhoon Sendong victims

February 20, 2012—Cheerful by nature, this man with approximately 5’4” height, brown complexion and contagious smile approached us offering a ride to wherever our destination was.
We had to take early lunch outside the airport since we skipped breakfast for our early flight. It was almost past 10 in the morning when we reached the Cagayan de Oro airport.
Since we were not that in a hurry, we almost easily rejected all taxi drivers who attempted to offer us a ride that in most cases, over priced.

When we finished our lunch in a nearby turo-turo (canteen) a man who sat next to our table, who was about to eat his lunch asked us if we need a ride. The negotiation was not too long since the cheerful driver spellbinded us with his giggle and light way of bargaining. Finally we secured our bags in his taxi and we were ready to go.
We easily got comfortable with his company and talked as if we have known each other for a long time. We even sang and laughed together when he played his CD of April Boy Regino.
As we passed thru Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, we noticed the remains of the tragic recent flashflood that robbed many lives and families. We asked him about the details of the recent flashflood and were surprised to know that his family was one of the victims.

He told us that his wife and youngest daughter were sleeping when suddenly a big flood came gushing, sweeping his house in minutes. During the incident, he was out working and so was not around when the catastrophe happened. Based from his wife and daughter’s story along with three other survivors, they were really shocked to find that their houses were struck down by the flood in an instant.
The moment it swept through their residence around 11:00 PM; his youngest daughter cannot see clearly what’s happening because of darkness. As wood debris and logs started to appear, she had the instinct to grab one of them along with her mom. They just let the river carry them not knowing where it will lead them.

They even rescued another three neighbors (one of them is a small child) who were also struggling to survive. The flood carried them along until they reached the sea close to Camiguin islands. You can imagine an approximately 68km distance from Cagayan de Oro to Camiguin islands. They were rescued around 9am the following day. Miraculously, they were found without any wounds or scratches.

Hand that holds
Up to now his daughter testifies to how unfathomably they survive through the aid of a log. She even testified that it is as if someone is in control– an invincible hand that maneuvered it leading them to their safety.
The joyful driver simply remarked, “I believe it was God who was in control.”

photo source:http://www.smh.com.au