The night was supposed to be a romantic moonlit evening which one could easily connect with the popular song “Blue Moon,” sang by Elvis Presley or by Andy Williams or by a host of other famous singing boys of old.
It was a cloudy evening, a bit not conducive for those who wanted a clear view of the so-called Blue Moon, or the second full moon of the month. Some had a night out, fired up by romantic desires, to explore whatever possibilities the night had to offer.
Many had the shock of their lives.
The night of August 31, 2012 – a romantic evening it was not. Instead it was frightful night in which, at close to 9:00 PM, a big earthquake rocked the whole Visayas and Mindanao area in the Philippines.
It was a 7.6 magnitude earthquake with the epicenter more than a hundred kilometers way off the coast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
A tsunami alert was immediately announced by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in the frontline eastern provinces. Fortunately, the feared tsunami did not come.
More than a hundred houses were damaged and thousands of families affected.
Fortunately, again, only one casualty was reported and it was a landslide, not the feared tsunami, that did it. And it was in Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao, a coastal city but not a frontline area of the tsunami scare.
One can’t help but recall that just a few months ago in February of this year, another earthquake rocked Central Philippines, with the center near Negros Oriental.
It was lower in magnitude at 6.9 but there were more casualties and the damage was far bigger as the epicenter was much closer to land.
Following the February quake, I wrote the blog post entitled, “The Risk You Are Not Prepared to Take” which basically elucidated on the key findings of the “Earthquake Impact Reduction Study for Metro Manila, Philippines” prepared by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in coordination with Phivolcs and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
The study, among others, estimated the possible or likely effects if a 7.2 magnitude earthquake occurs in the Marikina fault line which practically cuts through the heart of the metropolis.
Among the most tellingly chilling findings is that “the active phase of the Marikina fault line is approaching” and that “Metro Manila is not prepared to deal with and would crumble if a 7.2 magnitude earthquake strikes.”
I am not going for an overkill on this issue but the key findings and details of the study can be easily Googled and are available for all to see.
My main area of concern is that, for those who have invested or are considering to invest in condominium units the risk just appears too horrendous to even think about.
Assume that you are an investor in condo unit in Metro Manila. Admit it or not, you are not prepared to face this risk and, more likely, nobody informed you about this before you took the investment plunge.
You may ask in protest that, if the risk is that horrifying, why is it that Metro Manila continues to enjoy an unprecedented building boom? Why is it that condominiums continue to sprout like mushrooms in the metropolis?
My dear, developers always follow where the money is, whether it rains or it shines, whether entailing big risk or small risk, whether or not Heavens may fall.
Thank the Almighty, it was not Metro Manila which was hit by the most recent quake.
Frankly, investing in condo units is fraught with risks and disaster risk is just one of them. But let us wait for the next post for the sum of all risks.
Meantime, there is one thing you can do … pray.