In Wao, moms rush to rescue “angel” kids as tremors disrupt Easter Sunday ritual

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 16 April) — A magnitude 4.3 and 5.2 tremor three minutes apart before 5 a.m. disrupted, although briefly, an Easter Sunday ritual in Wao, Lanao del Sur, as moms rushed to rescue their children who played the role of angels, the parish priest said.

Fr. Flordelito “Yrap” Nazareno told MindaNews in a telephone interview that parishioners had just entered the Immaculate Conception Parish church after the traditional “sugat” or reenactment of the encounter between Mary and the resurrected Jesus Christ at the nearby plaza when they felt the tremors.

He said they were singing “Himaya sa Diyos” (Glory to God) when three successive tremors occurred, two of them “kusog-kusog” (strong).

The dome of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Wao, Lanao del Sur,  MINDANEWS PHOTO

The “kusog-kusog” he was referring to were the magnitude 4.3 quake at 4:37 a.m. that registered Intensity IV in Wao, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), and the magnitude 5.2 quake three minutes later, at 4:40 a.m., that registered Intensity V.

These are still aftershocks of the magnitude 6 quake on April 12, felt at Intensity VII in Wao and neighboring Kalilangan town in Bukidnon.

Nazareno recalled the mothers rushed to the front where their “angel” children were to rescue them but he advised them to keep calm. “Ang mga bata, kalma ra” (The children were calm), he said, adding there were about 30 “angels.”

The priest said the tremors took only a few seconds so it made it easier for him to  convince the mothers to calm down.


What occurred Easter Sunday morn, Nazareno said, was in contrast to what happened when a magnitude 4.7 quake struck at 7:20 p.m. during their Good Friday vigil: in their panic, two mothers ran out of the church, leaving their young children behind.

A primer on the April 12 quake ssued by Phivolcs on the same day said its epicenter was located at 13 km northwest of Wao, at a depth of one kilometer and was caused by “the movement of a northwest trending active fault in the area.”

Courtesy of Phivolcs

Hundreds of aftershocks have been recorded by Phivolcs since. April 12. MindaNews checked on those recorded at magnitude 4 and beyond: April 12: magnitude 4.6 at 1:01 p.m. (Intensity III); April 13: magnitude 5.3 at 4:01 a.m. (Intensity VI); April 14: magnitude 4.7 at 7:20 p.m. and same magnitude at 10:02 p.m. (Intensity V); and April 16: magnitude 4.2 at 4:37 a.m. and magnitude 5.3 at 4:40 a.m.

Residents in a number of barangay are still camping out every night since Wednesday, in makeshift tents, on the roadside and school grounds, Nazareno said.


On  Good Friday, the parish priest appealed for tents for residents who are seeking temporary shelter during evenings and those who lost their homes.

On Black Saturday,  the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region 12 office and the Office of Civil Defense of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) went to Wao to deliver tarpaulins and other relief goods. The non-governmental organization Balay Mindanaw also brought in some tarpaulins and other goods.

Tarpaulins distributed on April 15 at the Serran Elementary School in Wao, Lanao del Sur, where several families have been spending the night since the April 12 quake. Photo courtesy of DSWD Region 12 April 15 report to Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo

In its Report No. 3 to Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo dated April 15, a copy of which was furnished MindaNews,  Bai Zorahayda T. Taha, DSWD 12 regional director, said the number of affected families in Wao has reached  217 families or 1,085 persons and the number of partially damaged houses is 214 while three others are totally damaged.

The report said the Office of the Provincial Governor of Lanao del Sur brought “310 bottles of mineral water, 155 family food packs composed of 1/2 kl Sugar, five  cans sardines, 150g coffee,  6kls rice;” the OCD-ARMM brought “100 meters rolls of tarpaulin, 253 pcs dipper and  253 pcs pail, 250 collapsible (jerry cans) and 300 bottles mineral water” costing an estimated Php 700,000.00.

Taha said the regional office on Saturday “extended additional food and non-food items such as  100 family food pack, 200 pcs malong, five  rolls tarpaulin, 100 bottles mineral water” amounting to  Php108,394.00. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

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