Where were you when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991? Philippine Star back in 2011 came out with an article recalling Filipinos’ memories of the cataclysmic Pinatubo eruption:
Memories of the eruption
C.B. Fundales, Bulacan: I remember driving in zero visibility. Ash-covered trees, a rain of mud and floods that came with dust in the wind were my memories of the Pinatubo eruption.
Alexander Raquepo, Ilocos Sur: The scenario then was a la doomsday. I was there in Zambales a week after the eruption, to help in the rehabilitation efforts in San Marcelino, and everything then was covered by either lahar or ash.
Raymar Gurrea, Bacolod City: The most memorable moment was when Mt. Pinatubo spewed tons of ash in its first salvo of eruption.
June Deoferio, Cavite: I was in Taguig City during the 1991 Pinatubo eruption, when the day became dark with almost zero visibility because of ashfall.
Skin and respiratory problems
Ruben Viray, Antipolo City: Volcanic ash (lahar) engulfed almost the entire Metro Manila and nearby cities a few days after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. In Marikina, roofs, cars, and anything exposed to sunlight were not spared. No one knew when this ashfall would ever stop and it gave rise to various skin diseases. We were also at risk from the air we breathed, so we had our house fully screened. It was a scary atmosphere that lasted for weeks.
Pinatubo is a bad memory
Rose Leobrera, Manila: As long as I see remnants of our house in Bacolor, Pampanga with only the second floor and the attic showing, the bad memories of Pinatubo will forever be etched in my mind. What once was a very beautiful house with a wide garden full of ornamental plants, and an orchard is now old and neglected. It is where I spent my childhood days. Nowadays, the people of Bacolor live elsewhere in different parts, many in resettlement areas, others in nearby provinces, and some abroad, but on some occasions, many still try to visit their roots. The Pinatubo eruption erased our town from the map.
Thankful we survived
Danilo Rogayan Jr., Zambales: I was a Pinatubo baby. Our family was one of the immediate victims of the tragic Mt. Pinatubo eruption here in Zambales. Like everybody else, my parents never expected that the Pinatubo, after a 600-year slumber, would erupt. They thought then that it was the end of the world. Days turned into nights as ash covered the sky. Our family heeded the government’s instruction to evacuate as many of our kababayans were rushing to escape the rage of the eruption. Nothing was left of our property, except the roof of our house. Still, my parents said, our family was fortunate to have survived nature’s wrath.
C.B. Manalastas, Manila: I recall the unusual and different kind of dimness in the atmosphere and surroundings, then, all of a sudden, came the falling bits of fine dust. We could not tell where it was coming from, since we were not tuned in to the radio or TV then.
An epic disaster
William Gonzaga, Marikina City: We were living then in Cubao, Quezon City. When I woke up in the morning of that fateful day, I was dumbfounded to see not rain showers, but ash, falling from the sky. Later on, I learned from the news that Mt. Pinatubo volcano erupted, which wrought terrible destruction to surrounding areas.
Miguelito Herrera, Cabanatuan City: The ashfall did reach our city, but very minimal, compared to what the people of Pampanga and Zambales suffered. It was truly a disaster of epic proportions.
Deo Durante, Camarines Sur: I couldn’t imagine that a small volcano like Mt. Pinatubo could cause such huge damage as I had seen. The road going up to Baguio City revealed the reality of a grim catastrophe. Fresh ash was scattered as far as the eye could see. It was really nature’s fury unleashed.
Jose Fabello Jr., Cagayan de Oro City: Memories past became too unreal, as nature’s wrath was so incomprehensible. The volcano’s ire was too grandiose for comfort. Nothing, simply nothing, could be done to stop it.
Proof of Pinoys’ resilience
Rodolfo Talledo, Angeles City: Instead of recalling all the bitterness, pain, fear, angst and hopelessness, I console myself with the thought of how human beings endured and fought off the wrath of nature, then with grim determination, rose from the ashes a defining moment of the Pinoys’ resilience and bayanihan.
Thought it was the end of the world
Rey Ibalan, Antipolo City: It was horrible. I confessed my sins, thinking it was the end of the world.
Rico Fabello, Parañaque City: I visited the Pinatubo crater lake last year. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen. Both the beauty and power of that innocent-looking volcano won’t deny the fact of an existing God.
People without a home
Rudy Tagimacruz, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon: I can recall that after the eruption, the government hauled hundreds of Mt. Pinatubo victims to a farm settlement at Capodtara, Talakag, Bukidnon.
Monuments of corruption
Pedro Alagano Sr., Vigan City: The Mt. Pinatubo eruption is a wrath of nature that left a distinguishing mark dubbed as a “monument of corruption”, through the megadike and lahar quarrying projects.