When I started out this photoblog, I told myself I’d confine my site to that of one where I’d post pictures plus a brief journal entry to support the photos (keep it brief and down to the least number of words!) and nothing more.
It was my attempt (it still is) to reinforce a new found passion of mine – the art of photography – something I thought would be a good enough reason to get me on my toes and keep pressing the camera’s shutter button. And something to showcase to the world to entice tourists to come visit our place in the sun.
Somehow I was jolted out of this perspective when I realized that a sizable lot of this blog’s readers were not coming back to appreciate the photography elements of the pictures I’ve posted (what a disappointment!), but more so for the news element it gave them. Even to just get a peek of the new mall under construction (gee! we have a mall! see?!!!)
What a let-down. Totally unexpected.
I am no stranger to the workings behind the press’ news department, having been with the mass media before (modesty aside, I was formerly producer-director at ABS-CBN Channel 3 in Cebu; station manager & news director-producer of PRTV 12 Tacloban – the guy behind newsreaders-then-and-currently Vice-Gov Mimiette Bagulaya, Councilor Bob Abellanosa and Larry Etong a.k.a. Ted Failon who was just our reporter then – among other stints). I cannot deny catching myself being tempted from time to time to assume the mind set of one on the nose for news and the like. Like getting a scoop.
I had a scoop – a photo scoop, that is – last Friday, June 20 – early in the morning, even before the brunt of Typhoon Frank’s fury was felt by majority of the Taclobanons. For the Balyuan Amphitheater construction had collapsed.
I could have easily posted the photos here right away and shouted to the world – look, guys, it collapsed!!!
But no, I did not. Not until now, that is, when things have a bit calmed down, so to speak, after the storm.
For several reasons:
- I had to remind myself I was no longer with the news thing.
- Generally, I do not like being the bearer of bad news nor do I derive any satisfaction from engaging in such an exercise as spreading sly remarks, half-truths and innuendos. I need to get the truth.
- Considering the current political rivalry between the Petilla’s and the Romualdezes in as far as “hosting” the Tacloban Fiesta festivities is concerned, I could be misread as favoring/disfavoring one faction over the other.
- This is a photoblog, not your 6 o’clock news.
- This is not something “touristy.”
- This is a photoblog.
With that out of the way, let me dispel some of the misconceptions some people have over the collapse of the Balyuan Amphitheater:
- No, it was not lacking nor deficient in its structural design (the guys who designed this are the same people behind several of Metro-Manila’s new landmarks like Bonifacio Highstreet, Robinson’s Malate and a huge tent structure in Ortigas center, all of which withstood Typhoon Frank’s fury).
- Its design was made based on modern, state-of-the-art, high technology, scientific systems.
- There are no irregularities involved like the use of substandard materials, etc. To my knowledge, that is.
- This is not the result of Sr. Sto. Nino’s disappointment over the feuding factions involved with the Tacloban Fiesta activities, nor of karma, etc.
- The Sangyaw Festival and the Kasadyaan Festival will definitely push thru.
From what I have gathered, the Balyuan Amphitheater collapsed basically due to the following reason: it was in an unfinished state and time ran out on them when the heavy rains came.
It was unfinished because they were not done putting up and stretching out the roof tent properly – such that when the rains came Thursday night, the engineers were not expecting that a huge volume of water would accumulate and bear down its weight on the structure which, by the way, was not designed to carry such a heavy weight and volume the size of a small swimming pool!
Had the tent been properly set up and stretched out according to its design specifications, no water would have accumulated on it – water would just slide down to its edges – and Typhoon Frank’s winds wouldn’t have been a threat factor at all. This is something scientifically designed. Not just a whimsical drawing made on a computer.
Anyway, upon reaching the Balyuan area early that Friday morning, at almost 8AM, what got my eye was not the tragic disarray, but the following scene:
Somehow someone lost an umbrella to a strong gust of wind and made it land upside down out in the water, floating away on Cancabato Bay. In an apparent attempt to retrieve it, a man began swimming towards it…
Faced against strong winds and current, the man eventually gave up the pursuit as the umbrella merrily sailed away further out into the bay. Once the rains came and filled it up with water, it would have a similar fate as the Balyuan Amphitheater’s giant umbrella-like tent, but in the fleeing umbrella’s case it would sink to the bottom of the sea. Unless its frames were made of light plastic.
Sources informed me the Manila-based contractors, who have not been paid yet for the project, are definitely going to repair the amphitheater’s structure and finish the project, but only after the fiesta festivities.