Moments before the deadly bombing happened at a night market Friday night in Davao City, the place was teeming with people having a relaxing night, most of them were probably anticipating a blissful weekend.
The spot where the bomb went off was also filled with massage therapists who were in jovial mood while providing relief to their weary but seemingly contented customers.
All these happy moments that instantly turned into misery because of the blast were witnessed by Facebook user Isel Jhian Abad who was a few meters away from the scene, and probably from being one of the fatalities, if not for her presence of mind.
“Before sumabog ang explosive device, nakita pa ng nga mata ko ang mga ngiti, kiliti and tawa ng mga taong nagmamasahe sa Roxas at ang himbing na mukha ng mga nagpapamasahe,” posted Abad on her FB account. “Nakita ko pa na tumatakbo-takbo ang mga bata na mahilig mag-caroling at manghingi ng barya. Nakita ko ang mga tao na naglalakad ng tahimik sa kalsada habang kasama ang kanilang mga classmates, pamilya o barkada.”
A graduating mass communications student of Ateneo de Davao University, Abad described how painful it was to see people lying on the ground, in pain, and there’s nothing she can do but run and save herself. The scene crushed her heart to pieces.
“Hindi ko maintindihan ang aking nararamdaman. Nabingi ako. Dinudurog ang aking puso nang hindi ko maintindihan.
Hindi ko namalayan na pati pala ako nasugatan din. Sugat na mag-iiwan sa aking puso,” said Abad.
Despite the chaos, Abad felt an obligation to help those who were sprawled and wounded notwithstanding the injury that she suffered on her right knee which she sustained while running away from the site of the blast that left 15 innocent people dead and more than 70 injured.
“Kahit na nabingi ako sa lakas ng pagsabog, gusto ko silang lapitan at tulungan pero hindi natuloy dahil may narinig akong isang malakas na sigaw may isa pang bomba na papuputukin sa lugar,” said abad. “Umiyak ako ng malakas nang hindi ko iniisip kung ano ang sasabihin ng mga tao sa palagid ko. Dahil hindi basta-basta ang humarap sa ganitong sitwasyon.”
The Ateneo student ended her post with a prayer for Davao, the victims of the tragedy, and the President.
“Pinagdadasal ko ang Lungsod ng Davao, ang bayang Pilipinas, ang mahal nating presidente, na sana maging mapayapa ang lahat at mabigyan ng hustisya ang mga nangangailangan.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said they understand the prerogative of western nations to issue travel warnings to the country but assured that security forces are on alert to ensure the safety and protection of the people.
The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Singapore recently issued travel warnings to their citizens in the Philippines following night market explosion in Davao City that left 15 people dead and scores injured.
“The AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and the PNP (Philippine National Police) have been on alert for the last few days, and life continues here in the Philippines. It’s still more fun in the Philippines. It’s just one place in the south where it happened,” said Andanar.
“The country has 7,100 islands and you can choose from other cities, other municipalities and other spots in the Philippines where you can enjoy the beauty of our island,” he adds. (With a report from Genalyn D. Kabiling)
(NOREEN A. JAZUL)