24 Minutes

December 16, 2011, 1:00 am, most of the people were sound asleep in a small community in Hinaplanon, Iligan city. The rain was wild and the wind as well, but no one was worried enough about the situation.  A video recorded from a CCTV camera on one of the houses in the area shows the water is slowly rising.  A Few minutes later people from other houses start to wake up and pack up their belongings to evacuate. You can see from the video that some vehicles and people are evacuating, 1:05 am.

1:07 the water is still rising, neighbors were knocking on the gate of the house with the camera. As shown on the CCTV,  they were welcomed in.

The water was knee deep already. On the camera set outside more people are still evacuating, but most are in their houses, still sound asleep.  Others are just hoping that the flood will be gone after the rain ceases, but for a few more hours it never did.

1:10, caught on cam set outside is a house being washed away by the rushing water. The current is getting stronger and some destructive logs from the mountains are going with the flood.

1:20, a man was caught on cam floating along with the current with a floating device. 1:24, the water reached the cameras of the two story house, the camera was broken, and the video feed stopped.

In the morning news broke out about the flood on that community and other communities near the area, including a subdivision.  But from an aerial view, almost all parts of the city had been flooded. Thousands were dead, hundreds are missing, entire homes washed away. Whole family drowned in an instant, children were orphaned and parents were left looking for their missing children and other family members.  This is the horrible sight that the people of Iligan City experienced 7 days before Christmas.

Within 24 minutes families were torn apart, homes were destroyed, lives were taken, hearts were broken. On that day both rich and poor, Christian and Muslim felt the same agony and walked the same mud. Dead people with no names are on the streets filled with mud.

A sight that struck me the most when I went to the area the day after is a father crying while carrying his dead son, placing his son among other dead bodies lined up for identification and body count.

As a citizen of the city and as a nurse I did my part to rebuild and try to restore what can be rebuilt and restored and offered a prayer for those who suffered the devastating effects of that 24 dreaded minutes.

Published in Culture and People, Philippines

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Meet the Author

A lover of health science, travel, adventure, and heart pumping activities. A freelance writer and photographer that documents amazing and boring things of life through words and depicting pictures.


  1. Michael

    Thanks for sharing such a personal story Dana! Mother nature can be exciting, amazing, and even sometimes cruel. I’m glad there are people out there like you trying to rebuild and give hope to people.

    We share a lot of stories about adventure and just having fun on this website but it’s most important to not overlook the people traveling to volunteer, help rebuild, and important causes. thanks!

  2. Elmer Cruz

    I guess it’s about time that we all start to think about our safety and being prepared for disasters, even when we think that it will never happen. Iligan is not one of those places that get hit by typhoons. My prayers and donations to the people that fell victim to this calamity. Thanks for sharing Dana. The pictures drove the point. Cheers.

  3. loredana valles Post author

    thank you for your responses guys! the good thing is, people from all over the world are helping rebuild the lives of the victims. it proves that the Filipino people are not alone in this time of trouble. 🙂

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