Big waves pounded the coast of Talisay city in south Cebu as “Gener” intensified into a typhoon.
Over 100 families in five barangays were temporarily displaced, as waves destroyed part of a dike and several light houses.
Residents fled when sea water entered their houses at dawn yesterday even though some were already built on stilts.
Unless you’re gong on an important trip, refrain from traveling by sea today, said the state weather bureau.
“The Visayan seaboard is expected to be rough to very rough with wave height of three to five meters,” said weather specialist Alice Canasa of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) in Mactan.
The Habagat or southwest monsoon and typhoon Gener will bring strong winds, cloudy skies and rain in Central Visayas, until the storm exits the country on Wednesday or Thursday.
Talisay city administrator Ritchel Bacaltos declared a coastal alert and prepared public schools as evacuation sites.
By 10 a.m. the sea was at low tide and the weather had calmed down. But residents still worry since the tide could reach a height of 1.9 meters.
Barangay Poblacion was the hardest hit by big waves, with at least 100 houses affected in three sitios.
Other affected areas were barangay Dumlog, Biasong, Cansojong, Tangke and San Roque.
Lolita Javier of sitio Kalubihan in Poblacion said the whole family didn’t sleep a wink since Sunday evening because of the crashing waves. Like their neighbors, they stayed put to guard their belongings.
In barangay Biasong, 12 houses near the shore were submerged in knee-high seawater which entered 20 other houses starting 5 a.m.
A concrete dike was destroyed, unable to hold back the sea from flooding part of Zone 2 in Biasong.
“I woke up and found some of our things already floating in the water. I immediately woke my children and put them on top of the table to keep them safe,” said Vivian Oyangoren.
She later sent her children away to her in-laws in barangay Lawaan Dos while she and her husband watch over the house and their belongings.
Jovelyn Abosejo also packed some of her valuables and brought them to her parents’ house away from Biasong.
She said she woke up early in the morning to the sound of an explosion.
“It was so loud. It went “Boom! Boom!” I heard it very loud twice. It was like an explosion. When I went out, my neighbors along the shore were running to the street away from the splashes of water,” she said.
Barangay captain Marlowe Dagohoy said it was the first time they experienced sea water flooding Zone 2.
While he asked residents to evacuate, they chose to stay put and guard their belongings. The barangay hall and Mohon High School can be used as temporary shelters, he said.
A nearby fish pond overflowed. Residents scooped up fish released from the pond. By the afternoon, neighbors were busy cleaning up the area of seaweed and garbage residue.
Since most coastal families rely on fishing, the bad weather means a loss of livelihood.
Allan Baller, a Talisay fisherman, said he wasn’t able to go to sea to fish since Friday.
“I don’t know where to get money to buy rice and other needs of the family. Fishing is the only livelihood I know,” he said after the four-day hiatus.
He said he hopes the city will continue to supply them with basic relief goods until they can go back to sea.
One house in sitio Kalubihan was destroyed and 69 houses were partly damaged.
Usually, when big waves hit, sitio Litmon is the most damaged area until local officials built a a seawall there two years ago.
Yesterday, the waves leaped off the seawall and water entered their houses. The seawall doesn’t extend to sitio Kalubihan yet, making it the most vulnerable and prompting residents to call for government action.
Chona Hernando, a resident, said a seawall was the only solution.
“We grew up here. We won’t leave. The typhoon comes every year.
If the government doesnt take action, I don’t know where we’ll end up in the next storm,” she said in Cebuano.
The seawall connecting sitio Litmon in barangay Dumlog and sitio Litmon in Poblacion was built through efforts of Talisay city and province officials.
Poblacion barangay captain Teodoro “Balo” Belleza said there were promises to extend the seawall to sitio Kalubihan but due to budget restraints, this remain unfulfilled.
He promised to bring it up again to the city government.
City Councilor Danny Caballero visited the area, distributing bread and two sacks of rice as his personal donation.
Belleza said the Talisay City Sports Complex and covered court near Sta. Teresa Parish Church are ready as evacuation centers
No houses were damaged in barangay Dumlog but part of the seawall was destroyed up to 50 meters.
Barangay captain Charles Basillote called in engineers to do immediate repair. If this isn’t acted on quickly, the destruction would get worse and reach the road like what happened before, he said.
He said big waves were not to blame but people who continue to extract sand in the area which affects the foundation of the seawall. /Gabriel C. Bonjoc, Carine M. Asutilla And Jhunnex Napallacan, Correspondents