Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ondoy's Wrath Tear Up a Family

Posted by SwitSexyThing at 4:41 PM
This made me cry. It is so heartbreaking!

Last Family Portrait

Dad’s lament: ‘I wish I had died with them’
By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines -- Miguel Asuela's world ended on the night of September 26 when in a matter of hours, he lost everything and everyone he held dear to tropical storm “Ondoy:” His mother, wife and their five children.
How do you measure a man’s grief? In his case, it seems impossible. “I wish I had died with them,” he said in Filipino, his eyes a study in anguish.
As Asuela stood at the El Capitan Memorial Homes in Marikina City, the 33-year-old looked like a man defeated. His shoulders were slumped, his eyes sunken and his cheeks gaunt. Silently he beheld the enormity of his loss: Six white gold-trimmed caskets lined one after another.
At the center was the casket for his wife, 29-year-old Desiree Bonifacio. Tucked into her left arm was their youngest son Lucky, who had been born only two weeks earlier.

Water-filled bungalow

Asuela’s entire family perished in floodwaters that had filled his bungalow on Patola Street in Concepcion I, Barangay Tumana. They were found in a heap inside the house, apparently trapped as strong currents prevented them from opening the door and fleeing.
Desiree was clutching Lucky to her body with one arm and one-year-old M.J. with the other. Beside them lay Asuela’s mother Ma. Flor Bonzo, 55; and Asuela’s other children Ma. Flordeliza, 11; Trixie, 9; and Miguelito, 7.
“Every night I can’t stop thinking about them. I keep thinking I should have been with them. I wish I had died too,” he said, almost in a whisper.
The Asuelas were a family of vendors selling religious items like rosaries, religious icons and sampaguita garlands and doing other odd jobs around the Immaculate Conception Parish Church.
That Saturday, Asuela had been working as a barker for jeepneys plying the Montalban and San Mateo route.
“At first, it was just a light drizzle. I didn’t really mind the rain. I never thought the water would rise so much,” he recalled.
Soon, the flood was knee-level and then waist-deep. Asuela began to worry. He rushed to the neighborhood and found that the waters down the ridge were almost up to his neck.
Senior Police Officer 3 Nonie de Belen of the Marikina Police Community Precinct 6 remembered how Asuela had tried to dive into the rampaging waters.
“I stopped him. I told him he’d drown, that he might end up dead while his family turned out to be okay,” he said. But De Belen was wrong.
Asuela said that when the floods subsided, he searched for his family in local schools that had served as impromptu evacuation centers for the flood victims.
“I didn’t go to the house. I was still hoping they were safe,” he said. When he found them nowhere, he returned to his house, accompanied by De Belen.
What Asuela found was more than he could bear.

Heartbreaking sight

He just sat in one corner and started crying, De Belen recalled. The policeman said, “I also couldn’t help but cry. The sight was heartbreaking.”
Asuela said his last moment with his family was over breakfast of hot pandesal and coffee. He said their happiest moment as a family came on July 12, 2008, when M.J. celebrated his first birthday.
“We shared a simple meal. We were all happy,” he said.
Asuela’s mother-in-law, Remedios Bonifacio, 54, said Asuela’s family was not completely gone. He actually has a remaining child, 3-year-old Leonardo, whom Asuela’s in-laws adopted after Desiree had given birth.
“He does not understand yet, Bonifacio said, referring to Leonardo. “When we ask him what happened to his siblings, he’d answer, ‘Sleeping,’” she said.

4 comments on "Ondoy's Wrath Tear Up a Family"

carlamaldita on October 6, 2009 at 8:24 PM said...

read about this too! sad...

(and this is by me too)

SwitSexyThing on October 7, 2009 at 9:27 AM said...

i tear up just telling the story to hubby...

Ted Teodoro on October 21, 2009 at 10:59 PM said...

Our daily inconveniences have become trivial compared to Mr. Asuela's loss. A man used to complain that he had no shoes until he met a man who had no feet. Wishing Mr.Asuela all the fortitude that God or nature can give him.

SwitSexyThing on October 22, 2009 at 10:22 AM said...

I know what u mean. At least my mom is safe even if our condo building got submerged in water. I would go crazy siguro if I am him.


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