The memorial service procession on the one month anniversary
Tim McRobert at work
Memorial service, cross and memorabilia on the one month anniversary
Person lighting candle at the cross
Bucket with names of the dead on it
One month anniversary of the mudslide. Several thousand attended a memorial at the site. I cried watching the procession of people drive past me, losing count after 30 cars. Shift your American mindset: a carload of people in the Philippines can be 30 pax, with people hanging off the side and on the roof.
After, Tim and I hiked to the landslide, about 35-40 minutes. There is a much shorter way but we'd need to cross a shallow river, and we're freaked out about dropping the gear. A third way by car has been closed off due to threat of more slides. The area's been deemed unsafe. People say there are cracks of one meter in the mountain.
I can't describe to you what it feels like to stand there, dwarfed by the enormity. It is so big, photos don’t do it justice. It's completely rewritten the landscape. Compared to the normal busy-noises of a barangay (village), it’s eerie to close your eyes and hear nothing but the wind and the birds. I was not prepared for devastation of this enormity.
This afternoon after we taxied back to the town of St. Bernard, we learned about an evacuation center in Mahayahay. We taxied there to interview people. We met the youngest and oldest survivor of the tragedy- a 73 year old woman, and a 1 ½ year old boy. They were all so gracious to share their thoughts with us.