CEBU - Elsie Ygay thought she would die. Several people fell on top of her while others stepped on her back and left leg.
"I could hardly breathe. I thought I would die today. But I did not want to die as I thought about my 7-year-old son," the 43-year-old woman told the Inquirer at the trauma centre of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center here on Tuesday noon.
"I prayed and prayed to God the Father. I left my fate to God," she said.
Ygay and a thousand others were at a public auditorium in Pinamungahan town, 65 kilometers southwest of the city, as early as 6 a.m., all eager to receive their cash assistance from the government, when the ground suddenly shook.
A mad scramble to get out ensued, leaving a 4-year-old girl dead after she was separated from her mother and at least 24 others injured. The girl was identified as Shaiza P. Mia.
Basilica del Sto. Niño
At the Basilica del Sto Niño here, Nenita Domencillo, 29, was hearing Mass about 8 a.m. when the walls started to shake from the 7.2-magnitude earthquake which hit Cebu and the rest of the Visayas.
A few seconds later, the bell tower on the right side of the church fell. Church security guards quickly ushered about 50 people out for their safety.
A passing motorist was hit by falling debris and suffered bruises.
"We were still lucky that it was a holiday and not so many people were inside the church when the earthquake occurred," said Fr. Jonas Mejares, the parish rector.
Several other churches in the city, including the century-old ones in Dumanjug and Boljoon towns, and in Carcar City, were damaged.
Cracks were found on the façade of Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and its bell tower on the left side. Lourdes Parish Church in Barangay (village) Punta, and Holy Cross Church and Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church, both in Basak Pardo, were also damaged.