Yesterday morning I awoke to swaying walls and my belongings crashing to the floor. I ran outside with my host family who were fleeing the house in their pajamas and bare feet. Listening to the sheer number of neighbors wailing and screaming was one of the most unnerving experiences I've ever had. In the Philippines large families live together in close proximity and hearing so many people panicking only escalated the chaotic environment.
After the initial 7.2 earthquake we lost power then felt a series of aftershocks that startled us during the day and kept us awake throughout the night. They have continued today, and earlier this morning we've felt as large as 5.1.
neighboring island of Bohol.
As a result I am hosting another Peace Corps volunteer who was travelling through and has found herself stranded in Cebu.
The damage caused in Cebu was widespread but most devastating was the partial destruction of Santo Niño, one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. Founded in the 16th century, and built during the Spanish rule, this is a historical and treasured monument in my city.
Luckily many people were at home with their families during the earthquake because it occurred on Id-ul-Alda (Feast of Sacrifice) a Muslim national holiday.
The Philippines is a country plagued by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons and flash floods. I am very thankful to report that all of my friends, host family and coworkers managed to get through the crisis safely. Please keep us in your thoughts during this chaotic time.