Briones: The decade that was

Publio Briones

I WAS going to write about the year that was when I realized that we are entering another decade.

I know. Where did the time go? How could 10 years be so fleeting? Which might explain why I don’t remember much of what happened between 2010 and 2015. However, 2016 was memorable. That was the year the mayor of Davao City was elected President of the country. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Don’t get me wrong. I am aware of several important events that transpired during this period. Just don’t ask me when these took place exactly because I wouldn’t be able to give you an answer even if my life depended on it.

Two things spring to mind, though.

How could I ever forget about the earthquakes? Yes, there was more than one. And, if my memory serves me right, these happened one year apart. I can look it up on the internet but that would be cheating. But here’s what I remember.

The first major one happened while I was already awake. That meant it must have taken place past 9 a.m. because I hardly wake up before that time. I was coming out of the bathroom at our house in Sto. Niño Village in Banilad when I thought a big truck—I mean a really big truck, humongous—had pulled over outside. The tremors I didn’t feel immediately. It was the sound that was disconcerting. A sort of rumbling that invaded my auditory senses; a natural sense-surround with the volume cranked up that didn’t seem to stop but seemed to get louder and louder as the seconds passed.

Later that day, I was at the Cebu Normal University. Don’t ask me what I was doing there. As I said, my memory of the early years of the decade is lost in a fog of denial that I had just turned 40.

Now, if you’re going to ask me how old I am I wrote last month that I had just turned 50. You do the math. I, for one, have stopped counting. As they say, age is but a number. One that I would rather keep locked in some vault buried several miles underground.

But where was I? Oh yes. The earthquake. The first one.

I heard a commotion outside. I looked out of the window and saw people, many people, along Jones Ave., heading towards the Capitol area. They seemed to be in a hurry.

What happened next was one for the history books. I guess you could say that the early part of the decade was full of calamities. The following year, another more powerful and more devastating earthquake struck. That happened in October. Then a month after, two days before my birthday, super typhoon Yolanda made landfall.

Maybe it’s not that I don’t remember much of what happened in the last 10 years. Perhaps it has more to do with me wanting to forget.