Bohol

Maribojoc in Bohol faces new cycle of destruction, renewal

Inday Espina-Varona
Maribojoc in Bohol faces new cycle of destruction, renewal

DESTROYED. After serving the Catholic faithful of Maribojoc, Bohol, since the disastrous 2013 quake, this alternate church was reduced to ruins by Typhoon Odette.

Photo by Reyn Barnido

Religious brother Reyn Barnido says Boholanos see the destruction to livelihood wrought by Typhoon Odette as worse than what the 2013 earthquake brought to the province

Reyn Barnido still remembers weeping over the 2013 Bohol quake, that reduced Maribojoc town’s Santa Cruz (Holy Cross) Parish Church, where he and his siblings and cousins attended masses as children. 

The church was finally reopened for masses less than a week ago. Barnido, who grew up to become a religious brother and executive director of Duyog Marawi, an ecumenical group that bridges peoples of various faiths, attended the first of the nine Christmas dawn masses on Thursday, December 16.

RECONSTRUCTED CHURCH. The Santa Cruz (Holy Cross) Parish Church in Maribojoc, Bohol opened only in early December 2021 after years of reconstruction following its destruction during the 2013 Bohol earthquake. Photo courtesy of Reyn Barnido

“The family came here to attend the Rededication of the Church last December 12, 2021,” Barnido, who goes by the name Rey Barnes on Facebook, told Rappler. 

Just after Mass, he posted photos of the clan with their famous relative, former Cabinet secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco, the Presidential Adviser on Streamlining of Government Processes, who left the island soon after breakfast.

Several hours later, Typhoon Odette swept through the province with its fifth and sixth landfalls in the early evening of December 16.

Barnido started a running commentary on his Facebook page, saying the wind sounded like a jet zooming too close to their family house. 

He described the “explosive” sounds of tin roofs and other building parts slamming into other structures as their sturdy home shook from winds that roared through at 175 km/h as of 11 pm on Thursday, with gustiness of up to 240 km/h.

“Nanaghoy ang hangin,” he said of the howling wind, using the Boholano word for cries of lamentation.

The morning after Odette’s onslaught, Barnido saw the newly rebuilt church intact. But the typhoon had reduced to rubble the “alternate church” used by parishioners since 2013.

ALTERNATE CHURCH. After serving the Catholic faithful of Maribojoc, Bohol, since the disastrous 2013 quake, this alternate church was reduced to ruins by Typhoon Odette. Photo courtesy of Reyn Barnido
DESTROYED. Another view of the church felled by Typhoon Odette. Photo courtesy of Reyn Barnido

At the town port, he saw the debris of homes in the water, with families coming back from evacuation to salvage anything of value. 

“Families still surviving from the earthquake to the pandemic now have to start from scratch again,” said Barnido. “Good thing they have been scheduled for relocation from this danger zone.” 

COLLAPSED HOMES. Scenes at the Maribojoc port in Bohol after Odette’s onslaught in the evening of December 16, 2021.

As of the time of writing, the town government still has to release data on lives lost and damage to property.

Barnido, however, told Rappler, “people here are saying that this is worse than the earthquake.

“It’s very understandable, The earthquake affected only a portion of this island-province. Odette spared no one on the island. The earthquake didn’t damage crops and fish cages. Odette destroyed all that,” he explained.

Barnido added:“When the earthquake happened, there was still food available since gardens and farms were safe. Now, we even have a problem looking for ulam. The market is empty.”

“Maribojoc has survived and bounced back from a 7.2 earthquake, he added. “Now it has to gather its spirit and its forces to bounce back from this disaster.”