Loonanons commemorate the 7.2 earthquake ten years ago with a marker that narrates the ordeal they went through in its aftermath.
The municipality of Loon, in partnership with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and the provincial government, held an unveiling ceremony to reveal the marker to the public on Oct. 11 at the Our Lady of Light Parish Church at its entrance gate to mark the 2013 earthquake’s tenth anniversary.
The ceremony was led by Mayor Elvi Peter Relampagos, together with Rep. Edgar Chatto of the first district, Vice Gov. Dionisio Victor Balite, representing Gov. Aris Aumentado, provincial government’s supervising administrative officer John Maraguinot, Dr. Teresito Bacolcol, PHIVOLCS director; Dr. Anthony Damalerio, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office head, and Parish Priest Fr. Desiderio Magdoza.
Relampagos honored the lives lost and the families displaced due to houses and infrastructures destroyed 10 years ago. The town was dubbed as the most devastated municipality in Bohol during the 2013 earthquake, with 72 deaths, 136 injured, and an estimated damage worth 330 million pesos.
“Today, we pause to remember the lives lost, we pause for the families still in mourning, and we pause for Loon still recuperating. Until today, we cannot say that we have recovered 100 percent, but we can say that almost everything is good and back to normal,” Relampagos said.
The mayor thanked the provincial government, the national government agencies, and non-government organizations who stood by Loon to aid in its distress in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Chatto, Balite, and Maraguinot emphasized the resiliency of Loonanons during the hardships they experienced in the aftermath, highlighting faith in God, faith in other people, and faith in self as significant foundational qualities that led to the town’s recovery a decade later.
Loon experienced an alteration of its geological landscape, particularly the Loon uplifted marine terrace, a known 417-hectare geosite of the Bohol Island UNESCO Global Geopark, that surfaced during the earthquake.
The powerful earthquake reduced the Our Lady of Light Parish’s coral stone structure into rubble. The church was finished in 1864 and had other historical structures in its complex, such as the old convent, the six-sided Morada, and the Cementerio de Mamposteria.
The reconstruction of the church started in 2017 and was completed and turned over by the National Museum of the Philippines to the Diocese of Tagbilaran in 2021. It was declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines and a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. (PIMO/GMC)