Typhoon Frank’s fury & innuendoes

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.

~ by gerryruiz on 24 June 2008.

21 Responses to “Typhoon Frank’s fury & innuendoes”

  1. hay i just hope that the balyuan amphitheatre would be reconstructed even after the fiesta time.

    sayang lang di sya magagamit sa pasangyaw festival

  2. ouch!

  3. Rest assured that I am one of your email readers who is very thankful for your amazing work. Your blog is the only source of information for me regarding the sad and the good happenings in Eastern Visayas particularly Tacloban and Basey. See, I was born in Basey, have a family and house in Tacloban, finished my Associate in Liberal Arts at St. Paul’s College and finished the rest of my college education at Southwestern University in Cebu in 1968. So, I love seeing photos from those places (thanks to your efforts) to make it available for me.

  4. Hey Marlou! Appreciate your comments. Will keep my best to continue bringing you updates on developments in our area. 🙂

  5. Gerry, hinay-hinay – it im dughan! (re-your gripes about the overlooked purpose of this site) and it is worded like a true artist would say (rather, write it).

    an unsolicited advice – just let the art grow and let the artist flow with the tides. long after the newsworthiness of the picture is gone – the artistic image remains and the artist is IMMORTALIZED!

    re-the Balyuan ampitheater – napa-balyu iton…..
    regards to Ludette and family

    P.S. (re the yellow umbrella)
    Its owner lost it to your art… now it belongs to everyone who sees that picture!

  6. I agree with you, Gerry, 100%. Keep on giving us your wonderful pictures. Thank you too, for your outstanding effort.

  7. Thanks, it was very informative, people will know and eliminate their doubts.

  8. hehehe thanks, ding for the concern!

    Thanks to you, too, Butz & Ed! My pleasure! 🙂

  9. how sad naman =(

  10. thats a shame about the ampetheater…

  11. I believe the tent was properly stretched and anchored to the frames otherwise the wind would have blown it off. I suspect the type of the tent material and the frame spacing might have contributed most of its failure. If we limit the frame spacing we are limiting the curve shell surface area of the roof/tent and thereby allowing more water to pond. Sana maayos ini.

  12. rexterd, the tent was not properly stretched and anchored Thursday evening when the rains started. At around midnight, they even let lose 2 ends of the tent thinking it would empty the water which had started to accumulate. Apparently, it did not stop the water from accumulating. Note this was Thursday night. The structure collapsed at around 4 o’clock Friday morning, June 20, BEFORE the typhoon hit us; Typhoon Frank’s strongest winds hit Tacloban Friday afternoon yet by which time, the workers had already secured the tent. By the way, the tent was not damaged.

  13. I take pride in the Taclobanons resiliency amidst natural disasters like this. Typhoons are not new to us LOL and time and time again we get back on our feet the next day. One of my vivid memories after a typhoon is when our family would drive through downtown the morning after a typhoon and see the damage and also see how quickly people pick up the pieces – literally and figuratively.

    Diri gud hiya magagamitan for Sangyaw?

    OT – I offered your name to Anton before informing you LOL

  14. love to see the fiesta in Tacloban thru this websites. Nakaka mingaw. Thanks for your good work. At least naka idea kami what’s happening there…More power and God Bless

  15. I agree with the observation of rexterd that it was a structural failure. If you will try to look clearly at the photo of Balyuan posted April 2008, although this is just an Computer Aided Drawing. You will notice that the tent is already sagging by its own weight, so water accumulation is inevitable.

    You said that the tent was not damage or rip apart. Does it mean that steel is weaker than the material used for the tent? You don’t have to answer this, let the contractor answer this. At least the contractor was able to convince the Taclobanon’s on his first alibi, I don’t know this one. Abangan an susunod na kabanata…

  16. Time will tell once the structure is finished and heavy rains or another typhoon comes again… 😉 in the meantime, speculative thinking, specially when anchored on incomplete data will lead us nowhere…

  17. based sa narinig ko may bagong changes daw na mangyayari sa project na yan para mas maging matatag pero still the same amount of proposal has been given…

    mang gerry, mag upload kana sana ng mga latest na pics sa dalawang mall na ginagawa… hope malaki na pinag-iba sa mga pics na makikita ku now =) tNx, mang gerry…

  18. they should take a second look at the structural design of the structure. it looks like the span is too wide. a space frame would have been more appropriate.

  19. what’s the update??? Are they going to proceed in finishing up the structure?

  20. As of last week, they have started to put back new trusses for the roof system.

  21. Hope that the structural design was reconsidered. I don’t buy the design of the “old” trusses–it’s too long for a span.

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