As someone who has lived in the city for most of her life, my level of excitement jumps from 0 to 100 every time I get to explore different places, especially other provinces in my country. I am proud of how diverse Filipino culture is and I feel the urge to explore my culture by visiting different places.
My adventure began when my friends and I decided to visit the provinces of Cebu and Leyte to explore my friend’s home provinces.
Unfortunately low pressure in those regions caused continuous rainfall and strong winds. The only mode of transportation that we had from Cebu to Leyte was the roll-on-roll-off (RORO) ship.
Signs of misadventure started to show on our way back from Leyte to Cebu. The ship’s arrival was delayed and followed by intense rainfall and wind patterns. Our planned trip, originally scheduled for 11:00 a.m., was postponed to 5:00 p.m. Everything seemed to be going smoothly but at around midnight, real disaster struck. Our ship got stuck in a certain part of the sea. Some passengers went outside to check the damage while some remained indoors and went back to sleep.
At approximately 4:00 a.m., the entire ship suddenly lost electricity. 4 hours went by…8 hours by…10 hours… We still didn’t receive any rescue. I heard families panicking because the ship was starting to tilt.
I am the kind of person who is game for heart-pumping adventure but during those moments on the powerless ship, I actually paused because I feared for my life. I expected the worst but I still remained very hopeful. For once, my friends and I started to ask ourselves, “Why do we have to experience being stranded on a ship without electricity, clean restrooms, and cellphone batteries?”
Despite everything that happened, the experience has definitely made a difference in the lives of my friends and me. It has made us appreciate our lives and the lives of our loved ones. It’s not everyday that one gets to see strangers comforting strangers and telling them everything ‘will be all right.’ Mothers would always sacrifice their lives for their children but it’s not everyday one witnesses a mother giving her own child to rescuers she doesn’t even know and telling them to make sure she will be safe. It’s not everyday one gets to meet people who would allow you to be rescued first before themselves. It’s not everyday that one is saved by rescuers who are willing to go back and forth between ship and a port 10-minutes away to make sure everyone is safe.
The experience made me appreciate the value of life even more. I realized that the world is still full of people who care deeply about others even though they are just strangers to one another. The experience renewed my hope for humanity – it showed me what the great powers of solidarity and love can bring.
By Joyce Cedeño, a regional intern at World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific