second life.. Part 1

August 7, 2008 1:14am CST
I was making some notes for my colleague here at work when suddenly, a memory flashed back. A ship that is on fire. I don't know how I got to think of that. I have no idea. Unconsciously, I was recalling all the things that happened that tragic night. My colleagues voice woke me up to reality. After which, I hurried to my computer and typed in the search box the words, SUPER FERRY 14. Results came and I saw some pictures of the remains of the burnt ship. So I decided to log to myLot and share with you my story on how I survived and got my second life. Last February 27, 2004, I, together with my 2 team mates and 2 mentors, and some of Region 10 delegates, got on board of Super Ferry 14. Students and teachers from the entire archipelago participated the National Schools Press Conference held in Laguna. The 5-day event held 9 contests and accommodated more than 3,000 participants. We were in full spirit and enthusiasm as we depart Laguna, bringing beautiful memories and stories to tell to our friends. Tired from the tour we had that afternoon, we were eager to get on the ship and have some rest. So by past 9, with heavy luggages and heavy feet we on board Super Ferry 14. We were so impressed with the vessel. An escalator carried us up to the hall of the vessel. The chandeliers and the paints and the interiors were dainty and clean. I forgot what section of the tourist area we were but I am sure we were right next to the cabin area. So we found our rooms but unfortunately, a ship crew told us that we have to move because the air-conditioning wasn't working on that room. We checked the other room but my teacher insisted that we will stay to the room we were designated. The crew told us to wait for an hour and they will fix the trouble. After then, some of my co-delegates from other provinces, whom I made friends with, invited me to roam around the ship. I asked for our teachers approval and they said it's ok. So there, we saw different function rooms. I was impressed because they have different function rooms named after different festivals of the country. I came to realize later that, that was the reason why the ship was called "the Festival Ship". There was ATI-ATIHAN ROOM, KADYAWAN, MASKARA, SINULOG and others. I got so tired from the entire things we did that day, so I decided to get back to our room. I closed my curtains and took a nap. In the middle of my sleeping, I heard my couch, Mr. Adonis Abi-abi, asking where is Miss Cadion, our other mentor. I was so tired to answer that I thought I was hallucinating. I went back to my sleeping. All of a sudden, I heard shouts. When I woke up, suffocating smokes welcomed my breathing and my eyes. I can still see the things around me. i got up and shouted for my classmates and teachers names, but all I hear are shouts and cries. There was two man I saw in the next bed, but I don't remember who they were and what they were doing. I didn't asked. I went down from my deck and just as I landed on the floor, the lamp on the ceiling fell down, so I hurriedly took my slippers (I was wearing a shoes, and took it off when I went to sleep, but I can't remember if I was wearing my socks when sleeping or if when did I took it off). I had two sandals, but I opted to wear the new one. I went for the new one because I was thinking it won't wear out easily! After which, I hurriedly went out the room. People were running, screaming for other people's name. There was a door in the hall that wen down so you have to fit yourself in the space that it left for you to go to the reception area. There in the reception area, I saw my teacher, Miss Cadion, and my two classmtes, Apple and Leny (both my cousins). I asked them what is happening, but all they say is that there was an explosion. Twice. The receptionist is telling us to be calm, and that everything is secure. Just to I asked Apple, who is my bestfriend, if she is fine. She seem to be shocked. She just nod. I was worried about her because she is such a baby for us. Then, I saw bloods near her feet, I asked if she was hurt but she was so shocked seeing the blood that she was uttering and seemed to be tongue-tied. So I carried her to the stairs. And told them I will go first to check if there is way out. I went ahead of them. I saw that there was a window that was opened big window glass that was opened that people were passing thru. I got there and as I was about to go upstairs a crew member stooped me telling me not to go up. So I went back my way. I saw an exit sign so I headed there. I passed a man pulling a girl just as about my age. She seems shocked. She was just walking straight. I went straight leaving them behind. So when I approached the exit door, the door flew open and people were coming in and going to my way so I went back again. Just then, I passed again the man and the girl. There I saw, the girls face was badly burned. her right eyes were closed and she was crying. That, on that very moment, the reality sunk in me. Everything that is going on the ship is terrible and that I will die! So I hurried to the back to the stairs ( where a crew stopped me) and going there I saw my teacher and my classmates, I don't have any idea where they were!. We climbed at the top most part of the ship. There, I saw many people, I saw thick and black smoke coming from the floor of the tower, some crews were instructing other passengers to sit down and cover their mouths and noses since the smoke is suffocating, I saw other people on the other side of the ship, and I saw others putting their life vests on. So I looked for vests that was located in a stock room just near us, about 15 steps away. I was holding Apple's hands and so was Leny with Miss Cadion. I rushed to the stock room and struggled to get some vests, I gave each to them and I reserved one for my coach, Sir Don. I was having a hard time putting the life vest on, so I have to ask another man to help me. So I asked him, (this is the funniest part): Me: (speaking tagalog) Manong, tulungan nyo naman po ako dito. Hindi ako marunong eh. (Sir, excuse me, can you help me put this, I don't know how to.) Man: In.ani na sya day. (In bisaya)., (trans: this is how to do it lady.) Me: ah.. ok.. daghang salamat kaayo.. (thank you) I was speaking to man in another dialect when all this time he is Visayan too! But anyways, we gathered to one corner. Luckily Leny, brought her shower towel so we used that cover our mouths and noses. We could hear people praying and crying. But everyone was calm. We were then instructed to go to the left side of the boat as people from the other side went to the right. Wearing vests, all of us four held hands, I told them not to let go of each others hand no matter what. I was leading the group. Holding Apple as she was holding Leny and Leny holding Miss Cadion. We settled on the wall of the boat. We were not crying. We were not afraid. We prayed. I looked up the sky, the stars were so many. I looked at the sea, it was so calm. All that you see are the reflections of the stars adn the fire from the ship that is illuminating in the sea. Every seconds and minutes of waiting was like hours for me. So I prayed. I asked God and Mama Mary to help us all. I prayed that Sir Don is safe. and I prayed that if I will be dead, I want them to look after my Mom, my Dad and my brothers. and if I will be dead, I want them to remember me. I want that my mom won't suffer to much. All I could think of that time was that I would die. I saw a woman with her daughter. She was holding two bags but she but it in a corner and said, " Lord, I don't need these things, please make my daughter be safe. I lift everything to you. Please make my daughter alive." I was so touched with that scenario, I remembered my Mom. We saw each other just two days ago in Manila, she was attending a trade show. She wanted to come with me in Laguna so we would go home together, but she changed her mind because her flight was already fixed. I didn't know, my mom was trying to contact me already. She woke in the middle of her sleep, she checked the watch it was past 12, almost 1 AM. She tried to get back to her sleep but she can't anymore. So she got up. And thought of watching the tv. But there was no show already because it was already midnight. She went to the kitchen to make a coffee (she drinks coffee when she wants to sleep). Out of nowhere, she turned the radio on and listen to a local station. All this time, radio news are already spreading. She listened. Hearing the news she didn't mind totally since the initial reports were the ship is going to Bacolod and left manila at 11 PM. She knew that we were leaving by 10 and the vessel is bound for Cagayan De Oro. I texted her earlier that night. But she didn't knew the name of the vessel that the vessel was via Bacolod and that there was a delay so we left by 11 PM. She continued listening when all of the sudden the radio announcer announced that the vessel is going to Cagayan de Oro via Bacolod, left around 11 PM and is carrying the delegates from the National Schools Press Conference from Laguna. My mom cried and called my Dad, they tried to call me, but my phone was just ringing and there was no answer. After trying many times, I was out of coverage area. By then, they all panicked. She called my Uncle who is also in Manila. Their entire family was there because my first-cousin also qualified for the NSPC also. This will be all for now.. I have to get back to my work now... This took me 4 hours to write. Til next time!
2 people like this
1 response
@rsa101 (15608)
• Quezon City, Philippines
7 Aug 08
You are indeed one of the few who survived in that ship. I hope you are okay right now and coping with that tragic experience you just had experience. I was wondering if Superferry made any effort for your welfare after the incident. Did they offer you any therapy of some sort to at least ease the trauma you've experienced with them. As you are also well aware of the recent tragic incident with Sulpicio which is much worst than that I think.