Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tectonic Blues

The recent magnitude 6.9 earthquake that hit Negros and Cebu islands in the Visayas and which caused several dozen deaths and extensive infrastructure damage has forced many people here in Lianga to rethink and reevaluate their community's vulnerability to a calamity of a similar nature happening here.

Lianga, in living memory, has not been the victim of a major earthquake or any of its attendant destructive effects like tsunamis and landslides.  Yet it is no stranger to smaller earth tremors and nary does a month go by here without at least one or two noticeable quakes being felt by the local population.  In the latter part of last year, a series of quakes, one of them measuring at least a magnitude 5, did shake up much of the province of Surigao del Sur and the Caraga region.  No major damage was, however, reported.

In the two decades I have resided in Lianga, I have personally experienced more than a couple of strong tremors at one time or the other.  Most involve just a sudden, unexpected shaking of the ground lasting a few seconds  or more.  A few were really strong quakes which rattled walls or toppled books and other knickknacks on shelves especially on the second floor of the house.  One or two of these, I could clearly recall, were preceded by a loud rushing, screeching sound like a runaway train locomotive passing by.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Corona's Travails

By some misguided sense of intellectual disdain and arrogance, I had automatically assumed that our household would be one among the few in Lianga who would spare the time (when they can) to tune in their television sets on most afternoons to the live coverage of the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona which happens to be on its 14th day today.  Just by asking around, I learned, to my shame, that there are many individuals and even families, much more than few I had thought, who were interested enough to watch portions, if not the entirety, of the proceedings on an almost daily basis.

Of course, the reasons why people here are willing to spend hours watching legal experts argue legal questions and technicalities in what amounts to a quasi-judicial proceeding varies from person to person. The lawyers, would-be lawyers, and self-proclaimed legal pundits see the impeachment trial as a chance to observe the best legal minds in the country strut their stuff live on national television.  They revel in the legal posturing and maneuvering, the arcane technical language and procedures, and, most of all, in the thrusting and parrying of what can be seen as gladiatorial combat albeit on a more mental and logical level yet no less as fierce and deadly or as physically demanding as the original life and death contests of the ancient Roman arena.

The less legally attuned minds here are more fascinated by the high drama and spectacle of this event cut into daily episodes served piecemeal everyday like their favorite prime time telenovelas or television soap operas.  There is constant discussion and commentary on what can be seen and heard by the cameras - both inside and outside the Senate building,  All and everything are fertile subjects for discussion and criticism.