NOTE: This is NOT a news report, so do not quote me 🙂 . This is only a humble blog trying to convey what I heard, and sharing my thoughts & ideas to help Aklan.




The morning of Saturday 230am, my husband received a call. It was from my sister in law informing us that Alta Tierra in Iloilo City experienced the worst flash flooding in the history of Iloilo. Typhoon Frank (international code name Fengshen) hit Western Visayas.


I was on an immediate text brigade mode, telling everyone from California to New York (I got unlimited text messaging from AT&T), of what has happened. The news was not on-line yet, but that didn’t stop me: all afternoon, I listened to Bombo Radyo Ilonggo edition.  I kept informing everyone I know of the damage that was causing my in-law’s and my adopted Ilonggo home.


True enough, the night of Saturday, Iloilo was on TV Patrol news.


But what about Aklan? I wondered and pondered. ‘No news is good news’, as they said. Friends asked me if I heard anything, but I said, oh well we had survived Undang in 1985, so this shouldn’t be bad. Now, I believe “No news is so EXTREMELY BAD news’


I almost flipped when I heard bits and pieces of news. Families in Aklan text’ed families in Manila, who sent out emails and phone calls about the worst thing that had happened to my beloved hometown.


First email I got was this: ‘10 times worse than bagyo undang. No electricity and water supply since saturday. indi ako kapadaea it kuwarta, no banks. no boats as well. there was a MUD FLOOD in Kalibo and hasta sa may second floor namon! And its now BYOB: Bring Your Own Bangkay (haul your own dead corpse) to the town plaza (unconfirmed)’ 


Second email, from a different source: Hanggang tuhod and putik sa buong town ng kalibo, madaming barangays ang nawala na sa mapa ng kalibo, even yung bliss community wala na…bubong na lang ng bhay ang nakikita. Just now, 115 dead bodies (unconfirmed) ang nasa plaza ng Kalibo…they don’t know the number of people died and missing.’ ~ From Roxanne T. Oquendo, forwarded by Anna Liza, New York. Holy cow.


Third email, different source: “Umapaw and Aklan river and it got to the point where the water was above the bridge papuntang Numancia. The bridge was damaged although I don’t know if it’s still passable. remember the shopping center? the water reached halos sa bubong eot ana kuno. It is also true that nobody’s selling anything because basically nothing was left. There isn’t any water to be had anywhere.” ~ From Cheryl Sevilla, forwarded by Ruben Mobo, Tennessee.


At this point, I started to call. Rommel Constantino, my dear friend and confidante, answered his cell phone. He just charged his cell phone for 50 pesos from a Korean Store that has generator.


What freaking happened?


I can hear my other friend Michelle rattling on and on I cannot understand what she was saying. My other friend Ariel, a non-stop talker too, cannot speak. I begged Rommel not to loose it and start talking calmly. I reminded him we were on the staff of our ill-fated high school publication, and it is now the time to speak up matter-of-fact.


Below is the best account of what had happened. Please remember that I have never done news reporting in my life, and my only source of information is my 3 closest friends who are in a state of disbelief, shock, exhaustion and full of mosquito bites. And this is just what happened in Kalibo, and they admitted they know nothing about the fates of Numancia, Banga, Malinao, Makato, Ibajay and all towns surrounding the Aklan River . I am also typing this as fast as I can, ignoring grammar and sentence structure, so that I may be able to reach Akeanons all over the world thru my emails, blogs, texting and non-stop speaking abilities.


So, here goes…


Friday, June 21, evening – People are preparing for the food festival in honor of San Juan Bautista. Radio said it was Signal No1. It started to rain hard, so people just went home.


            Saturday, June 22


2am – Heavy rains. Strong winds. Now it was Signal #3. Picture Undang.


                        5am-6am – Ceiling and rooftops blown away. Aklan River was rising.


9am-10am – Kalibo proper is starting to be flooded, waist deep. Strong currents and non-stop raining. People hold on to bamboos for floatation. To move from one place to another, people jump from rooftops to rooftops. Houses in lower C Laserna are gone.


3pm-4pm – Wind stopped. Water is at 7-8 feet, Kalibo Shopping Center now submerged. The entire Kalibo town was quiet, other than the sound of the falling rain.


7pm-8pm – In the dead of the night, with no lights nor electricity, people are screaming ‘tabang’. Children wailing, women crying. Some people, who owned 2-floor houses, refused to accept their neighbors for the fear that the added weight may collapse the house.


             Sunday, June 22


Sunrise– People got out of their shelters to see water and mud, tricycles upside down, boulders everywhere, dead pigs. It was like a scene from a B-rated zombie movie. First thing people looked for: DRINKING WATER.


6am – People start to walk to the market for food. They walked in 2-feet mud. People lined up to buy bread (plastic still covered with mud), canned goods, medicine. Prices skyrocketed: rice that was PhP80 is now PhP150 (good for one day for a family of 6), candles 3 pcs for PhP100, tricycle trip PhP 1000 to-fro Kalibo Airport.


Everyone was in quiet shock, saying a low ‘kamusta’, and moved on to go to where their family & shelter was.


Everyone salvaged what was left. They tried to dry, using water from the rain, their clothing and beddings. Furnitures (tables, chairs) are damaged but usable. Magsig-magsig anay kuno, ah


The Provincial Hospital is damaged too, and the new PhP 45 Million CT Scan equipment is all lost. Where do the sick go? Stay at home and hope infection (feet are scraped and punctured due to walking on mud) doesn’t spread. That is why the corpse are now lying and embalmed at the town plaza, for we don’t have a hospital.


The rest is history. You will hear about it. (Dont blame me for giving the bad news, and I had wished I was just misinformed).


Below are some pictures of the aftermath, forwarded by Fritz Angeles. Pictures taken by Aaron Concepcion.





























courtesy of godfrey concepcionHay naku….


Okay, I asked, how can we help? Here’s what they said:


  1. Prayers. Jokingly, they said are too tired, too loss of words to do this.
  2. Media coverage.  If you know anyone in ABS-CBN, GMA, Bombo, Bandera, etc please beg them to cover Aklan. Remember, press coverage and pressure to the government will open emergency funds. Further, call all of our local Akeanon associations for help. If you know even a drop of Akeanon blood, inform them of what happened. If you need to forward my article, please do so, until a decent professionally-written write-up happens. Repost, forward, link on your blog, utilize Friendster/Multiply/Facebook. Anything, everything, everyday.
  3. Send money. Don’t do by bank (as for my write-up), send via Western Union or money order. Send it to your family or a person you know and trust.
  4. Relief goods. Airports are open. Roads to/fro Iloilo are passable. The following are needed:
    1. water
    2. katol or insect repellant
    3. canned goods
    4. rice
    5. lots of blankets
    6. towels
    7. flash light and batteries
    8. shoes
    9. jackets
    10. medicine: anti-diarrhea, vitamins, antibiotic, acetaminophen, cough/cold meds
    11. candles and matches
    12. soap & shampoo, toothpaste & toothbrush
    13. disinfectant
    14. cell phone load
    15. something to pass time: playing cards, books, pen & paper, radio
    16. children stuff (by the way, they are so traumatized)
    17. umbrellas
    18. bible, rosary and religious items
    19. etc
  5. Call them and when you get a hold of them, assure that we are doing something. Assure and reassure. Akeanons are quietly tough and I sensed morale is so low. They felt so alone. They cannot even talk to their neighbors: what for, they asked. Daily text will help and just say ‘Im here thinking of you’.

One last note: I have lived thru several hurricanes in North Carolina and Georgia. Hurricane Fran, Category 5 was the worst I experienced, having no electricity amidst freezing temperatures. But the County of Cumberland had this hour-by-hour Weather Channel and evacuation routes. Further, Americans fill their refrigerators and pantry with food, water and supplies. After the devastation, electricity was up the next day. FEMA came within the next few days.


It is so sad to even think that we don’t have the Red Cross, coast guard, Salvation Army or anyone who can help our fellow Aklanons. This is their 5th day of surviving.


Please help in any way you can.  All the way.




Cheryl Joy Martinez-Avaricio, from Sacramento, California

Kalibo Pilot Elementary School 1980-1985

Aklan College 1985-1989

And a proud Akeanon from Bulwang, Numancia, Aklan



** Please feel free to share my blog, all I ask you post the link (do NOT copy and paste hehe). Or contact me  



********************** UPDATES *********************



The much-awaited, “decent professionally-written write-ups” are starting to emerge. Thank goodness!


Unfortunately, these news reports made me more depressed. Kailangan talaga ng tulong! Anyway, below are some newsclips, videos and articles. Thank you all for sharing the link.


06/26/08 –

06/26/08 –

06/26/08 –

06/27/08 –

06/27/08 –

06/27/08 –

06/27/08 –  —> Journalist Boy Ryan Zabal is back writing!

06/28/08 –’t-be-used-for-classes

06/28/08 –





Here’s a link of a website that has a running list various organizations and donation centers, from Manila to California. Their detailed contact information is listed. Feel free to check them out and choose the organization you feel most comfortable sending your donations to.


I heard one organization will send your balikbayan box to Aklan for $20, as long as it includes relief items! Who-hoo! So please donate NOW!