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Snap Shots of the Landslide and Flood Assessment in Salvador, Lanao Del Norte, Philippines

Last February 25-26, my team mate Bevs and I left Cagayan De Oro City for Lanao del Norte for yet another fieldwork. With our usual field tools, we set out for the adventure in the manner of Lara Croft looking for treasures (thanks Denz for the idea!) except that we weren’t after any treasures but landslides.

The following are snap shots of our fieldwork:

*Our accommodation was soo nice and comfortable that I was still sleepy by the time we need to hit the road for the field.. :-)*

*The weather was good as shown by these cirrus clouds. Shot taken from the MCCI ground at 5:30 in the morning.*

Okay, let’s go to the serious stuffs.

*This corn field was flattened when water overflowed towards Cabuyao River banks.*

The dense and strong onrushing water along Cabuyao River destroyed partially this spillway/submarine bridge that used to connect two barangays.

*The truss bridge connecting Barangay Poblacion and Daligdigan was damaged by the flood along Cabuyao River. The abutment’s foundation was eroded by the debris-laden flood water*

Brace your self for more serious observations we had in Lanao:

Yeah, that’s a spring. What’s amazing about this spring is that it’s new and that it gushed right out of a house’s kitchen’s floor in Barangay Inasagan!

According to the interviews we conducted, water gushed out of their floor after nine days of continuous rain. Formation of new intermittent (meaning water is not permanently gushing out) springs in Barangay Inasagan started after a weak earthquake days before the 9-day deluge. But these springs formed along the foot slopes of the hills proximal to the houses. During the 9-day deluge, springs started developing right inside people’s homes with water gushing out and flooding houses and streets. Portions of Barangay Inasagan now looked like a housing development with bad drainage system. Creeks formed between houses as shown by the following photos:

* I borrowed this Styrofoam boat from a kid, played with it and took a picture*

After assessing flood and spring occurrences in Barangay Inasagan and vicinities, we hit the road again to go to Barangay Buntong where landslides were said to have occurred and killed 6 people. The purpose of our visit was to traverse around landslides, plot them on the map by locating through GPS device and identify areas susceptible to recurrence of geohazards.

*This portion of the road was scoured by sediment-laden sheet flood water (sheet flood is a flood along flat surface such as roads where no river is in proximity and where water from rain just spread like a “sheet” in the absence of a drainage system)*

*A portion of a ridge showing debris flows that damaged crops. Note that the materials are greyish and appeared to have “flowed” as water would along a valley. This characteristic of the landslide indicate water saturation as the primary cause of the landslide. On close examination, the materials were mostly composed of sand with pebble to cobble-size volcanic rocks such as pumice, andesite and scoria.*

*More landslides! The hill interior of Barangay Buntong is actually prone to landslide due to the nature of its topography and geology. We rated the area as “High” in terms of susceptibility to landslide and flood. In this area’s case, the type of landslide is debris flow as the materials flowed downslope similar to water flowing along a valley (but slower) indicative of rain saturation. Debris flows, mud flows actually run faster along a slope compared to say, debris slide or mud slide (slide vs flow with the former having less water content compared to the latter) so there’s little chance of survival if you happen to be in its path. A sad fact.*

*This is a rill or something like a small dike that forms along the foot of a landslide where water flowed through. So this rill is another evidence of water saturation during the 9-day deluge as the primary cause of the debris flow occurrence in Barangay Buntong. This rill is about one meter deep.*

*I’ve merged two pictures of a ridge cut by numerous debris flow and debris slides (I hope by now you know the difference between the two)*

*These low lying hills are cut by recent landslide scarps whose debris meet in between them forming a valley of sand, pebbles and organic materials (grasses in this case)*

*After looking at several debris, we looked at the exposed face of the rock and found out that the area is underlain by an old lahar deposit (by old I meant a layman’s definition of the word but the lahar deposits look recent to us Geologists, which means it could be hundreds of years old).*

*This is the “killer” debris flow. In two minutes after the residents heard a bursting sound from the mountainside, the debris flow hit their houses killing 6 people on its path instantly.*

*Note that the trees are actually standing erect in spite of the high erodibility character of the sand comprising this mountain. This indicates that the movement of the debris downslope was fast (as opposed to creeping soil failure which is a slow downslope movement of materials and hence be indicated by slowly tilting trees or posts).*

*Some of the materials from the “killer” debris flow reached the river causing a temporary damming of water.*

*This is where the two young girls were buried by the debris. They were moved from their original position by about 10 meters. What you see here were their mat (what some Filipinos use for sleeping) and part of their house that was totally damaged by the debris flow.*

*The survivor named Tatah as he tells us the horrors of that night the debris flow hit them.*

The following shots are the not-so-serious photos of my team and me during the fieldwork. But before that, I’d like to express my deep and heart-felt condolences to those who lost their loved ones during the landslide and flood occurrence. One person is still missing……

*Our escort and me posing for the picture on the start of our trek.*

*My team! Congratulations for a job well done!*

*I took a photo of two Muslim kids chatting along the road.*

*This is a view of the garden from our corridor in MCCI where we stayed*

*2 comfortable beds for two tired geologists.*
*MY tired tired feet*

ZTE Deal and Filipinos in General

To Dennis: “Hehe, peace Denz.. I posted this string of our chat because I feel that Filipinos and foreigners reading my blogs should know of your sentiment as a citizen of our beloved Philippine Islands. Somehow, I feel that these sentiments are too good to be kept. I believe a lot of people out there actually share the same thing…”

Note to my readers/Disclaimer: If you’re too sensitive, I suggest you stop reading now and view my other blogs instead. This blog is not intended to offend any people involved in the issues Dennis and I talked about but rather to convey a common citizen’s rants about what’s happening around him. If you are offended or guilty about this, feel free to react (even violent reactions are welcome) and I will still post them. So sue me!

me: hi dennis

di ako nakareply sayo, sorry..
Dennis: uy!
10:36 AM me: 🙂
san na nga kayo magstay sa camiguin?
10:37 AM Dennis: sa villa paraiso resort and apartelle
it doesn’t look so bad from the photos
but wala pa syang reviews from my travel advisor site
10:38 AM me: bago lang kasi yata yan eh
10:39 AM Dennis: AH
me: btw, a foreigner contacted me after having read my work on storm surge camiguin.meron syang mansion sa camiguin and he offered accomodation to me next time i visit camiguin.. yahoo]
Dennis: whee!
ingat ka though, he might be an old-balls type na foreigner
pero i’m sure you’re gonna kick him in the nuts if he tries that
10:40 AM hehehe
me: he’s married to a filipina and even gave me her name and where i can find her
🙂 he was friendly, that’s all
and a little impressed with my report..
10:41 AM Dennis: astig
that’s better then!

10:42 AM Dennis: in my time here in makati, and in europe, i grew a lot less impressed with foreigners
10:43 AM me: 🙂
i’m writing another blog on landslide in lanao del norte where 6 people died
10:44 AM Dennis: but i also grew a lot more pissed off with greedy and stupid filipinos who don’t know the meaning of social change, that it all starts with them, and not with going out to rallies every time they don’t agree with a government official
10:46 AM sige gras, i’ll check it out
i watched the incubus light grenades pacific rim concert last night pala
10:47 AM me: ha? why did you suddenly veer off from our topic? lol or are we talking on parallel topics?:p
great.. buti ka pa.. i was stranded in the mountains for 2 days
10:49 AM why so?
i’m applying for work pa naman in australia..lol
hay, puro apply
10:50 AM Dennis: i’m a schizo kasi
10:51 AM me: actually, magaling naman talaga mga pinoy eh
so madalas naiimpress mga foreigner sa atin..not for bragging, a swiss consultant of holcim was impressed with me and my team mates during a resource mapping for cement that he bragged about us to the ceo of holcim!
10:53 AM Dennis: oo nga grass
i know that pinoys have no intellectual deficiencies of any kind when it comes to that
10:54 AM me: but?
Dennis: that’s why i’m only pissed at how this culture manages to breed more corruption, kahit na matatalino naman yung mga tao
10:55 AM me: sigh.. you’re right..
10:56 AM Dennis: it’s in how a lot of us think, and for all the vaunted rallies on the streets of people professing their great love for the country, there are only an actual few who really do.
10:58 AM take korea, for example, i know i’m pissed at their shabby treatment for us pinoys, but that’s not the issue right now.
10:59 AM in the 50s , just after they got liberated from the japanese after more than 10 years of colonial rule, they were dirt poor
me: okay, i’m listening..:)
yes, my korean friend told me that.. hmmm
11:00 AM Dennis: they don’t have natural resources, and no other country wanted to lend them enough money for rehabilitation
11:01 AM so what they did, they sent a whole bunch of koreans to work mostly in the iron foundries in germany and in other parts of the world
11:02 AM but then, when their economy gained 30 years later, a lot of these koreans came back, even with their sons or daughters already in more successful fields, like medicine, research, electronics and engineering
they came back, even at the negative expense of smaller wages
11:03 AM me: japayuki or japanese version of it
Dennis: and then it made their economy boom even more
11:04 AM so if you’ll remember, the brands like LG and SAMSUNG were unheard of only ten years ago
and now they’re household names na, synonymous with quality and high standards
11:07 AM i feel sad that even with all our resources, our beautiful natural tourist attractions, our intelligentsia, our world-famous hospitality, we have yet to come up with a filipino brand that stands out in the world
11:09 AM me: we have some…
11:10 AM pero raw materials, hindi technologuy
11:11 AM Dennis: oo nga, kasi that’s the resources talking
what about a finished product, a name in electronics let’s say
or a purely filipino owned call center
me: electronics wala.. all we have are baskets, fibers,
11:12 AM not altogether pathetic but backward technology
and we have manny pacquiao
and leah salonga
and other world class singers and dancers
11:13 AM Dennis: these baskets, fibers, and other related products are actually bought off in bulk from here, then repackaged under different brands na
me: yes, they are… but a lot of filipino small scale business owners make bags, furnitures that are expensive
at least, that’s a start..
Dennis: that’s it, you’re right grass, manny pacquiao is a very concrete example of this trait that i wish all filipinos should have
11:14 AM that’s largely why he’s also my idol
he has a very different mindset
me: and we offer excellent domestic helpers, nurses and the likes..hehe
maybe next time we should import politicians too
11:15 AM to make foreigners’ governance all too exciting
Dennis: most pinoys believe in the MIRACLE, one-big break, one-time bigtime, rags to riches, instant swerte way of life
me: and let’s tell foreign countries that these politicians are ready for rough handling :))
11:16 AM Dennis: examples of this are cory aquino, erap estrada, pera o bayong, kwarta o kahon, kotong, suhol, betting
cory was a housewife who became president, and people flocked to her
11:17 AM me: yes i know, i’m actually ashamed of this part of our history.. sigh
Dennis: erap was an artista who was charismatic, and didn’t know shit with good governance, but they also flocked to him
me: i mean, cory aquino? what were our parents thinking?LOL
11:18 AM Dennis: people are actually prepared to toil their lives away unthinkingly just waiting for the big break
me: i hope we young people learn from our hippy parents and relatives who messed up Philippine history and do better
Dennis: manny pacquiao, and leah salonga, and all the other you mentioned, chose to start early
11:19 AM did you know that manny pacquiao came to manila when he was 15 years old, with only 50 pesos?
me: no,i know little about him except that he’s an achiever
11:20 AM did you know that i go to school in high school and college with little money and only had enough for transportation?
Dennis: i know
me too
me: that i had to borrow money from friends just to get me by?
so the thing is denz, a lot of filipinos were like Manny Pacquiao
or started like Manny
11:21 AM 🙂
Dennis: he was a construction worker too?
me: Some of them are now slaving for multinational industries
11:22 AM Dennis: many was one until his first professional bout
me: others got knocked up and married to lousy partners
still others are now working for the government and are not getting paid well.. oh, that would be me
Dennis: 😀
11:23 AM me: but i’m going to change that status hopefully soon
there’s still time for improvement denz, it’s not as hopeless as it seems
Dennis: that’s what i’m talking about it!!
me: the government needs young people
not those hippies around me now
whose goal are to earn money through corruption
11:24 AM a lot of young people like us have better mindset.. what they need are chances to prove that
Dennis: 😀
here’s a person who you’ll like
me: who is that?
Dennis: one of his most notable sayings is this though:
11:25 AM I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.
you know him? 😀
Henry David Thoreau.
me: z philozopher?
11:27 AM Dennis: yeah, among his other designations
11:28 AM me: and i think i remember he is a poet too
but i might be thinking of another person lol
denz, are you saying activism is bad? coz i’m an activist and i beg to disagree..
11:31 AM Dennis: activism?
it’s good
the french are very advanced in this
11:32 AM me: yeah
Dennis: and they’re also among the top in the world
i only think there’s something wrong with how it’s done here
take lozada for example,
the people seems as some sort of hero
me: cuba is quite advanced on this also
11:33 AM Dennis: and i admire him for what he’s done
me: naku denz, wala ako masyado alam sa zte case..sobra as in..
Dennis: he could’ve just stayed quiet and he’d earn millions
me: and ?
11:34 AM Dennis: then you’d see him all over the news, in his shabby clothes in defiance to the uniforms and barongs in malacañan.
he’s the star witness and the people are rallying to him
inviting him to speak in schools, rallies, everywhere they can put him in
11:35 AM and he relishes it.
he even pulls quotes from rizal, his idol.
11:36 AM i mean, fine, he’s the star witness, and i can understand that he’s trying to efface himself from his deeds, but quit with the grandstanding already.
11:37 AM the ZTE deal Grass, to make the long story short, was blown open because the thieves fought among themselves
me: about the loot?
11:38 AM how much is the loot btw?
11:40 AM Dennis: YEP. the ZTE broadband deal was supposed to have the whole goverment in a protected network working in DSL speeds, everything, as in all departments, all regions, all government offices would be connected in one huge network. The infrastructure needed to wire the whole country together is enormously huge, as you can imagine.
11:41 AM that was just the start of it, ZTE would also start commercialing here
11:42 AM to commercialize pala
me: tapos? that would be great.. but then, ano nangyari? walang bidding?
11:43 AM Dennis: there was a bidding nga, and ZTN was their partner na
syempre under the table deals
11:44 AM then they report to the government that the whole deal is worth $329 million dollars
11:45 AM pero, yung mga commission and mga patong pala would amount to $135 million dollars, or 6 MUTHAFUCKIN’ BILLION PESOS!!!!!
11:47 AM sobrang kapal ng mga mukha ng mga putang ina!!
me: god.. that’s a lot of money and would have been enough to pay part of our utangz sa world bank
cool ka lang denz
sana maayos na ung kaso.. or how’s the case nga pala?
11:48 AM Dennis: did you also know, that in most government deals, normal lang yung 20% na patong or cut for your commission?
that in itself is already infuriating
11:49 AM that it’s almost 50% percent sa ZTE, and given the already ludicrous amount, how could they even dare!?!
11:50 AM imagine grass, you’re trying to help the country, and you believe in the country by also putting your hard-earned tax money into it, only to go to a few families in the government?
11:52 AM the worse part is magiging utang muna to, so who will pay for this?!
YOU and ME. and every hard-working FILIPINO. 😦

5 minutes
11:57 AM me: i know about the 20 percent commission..standard un.
11:58 AM and i dislike it too..
and depressing din yan .. i was ranting when i found out about that
kaya nga di na ako nagbabayad ng tax ngayon eh hahahahaha
11:59 AM Dennis: hehe
12:03 PM anyway, grass. that’s enough ranting for now i guess
12:04 PM see you next next week
me: hehehe
Dennis: sama ka wwr ha
me: sana 🙂
12:05 PM 🙂
Dennis: wala nang sana sana
dapat.. suna
as in sure na ba!!
12:06 PM me: hehehe baka kasi magfield ako pero try ko makarating before 21 🙂
12:07 PM Dennis: ah
have to run!

Losing the Love

I was humming a song this morning which I somehow recalled at random.. Then I realized that I used to sing it when I was in college and so I tried to recall and sing the words that comprise its lyrics but ended up inventing words that rhymed and formed into completely hilarious balderdash! LOL I sounded like a total idiot! And so before I annoy my neighbors again with my usual bleating, I looked “the song” up on google. I could not remember the title, the singer’s name and only knew a few phrases of the song so just imagine how difficult it would have been to find the song! Luckily, the search phrase I typed were good enough for Google. I clicked the first result and voila, I rediscovered that the song was by Joy Enriquez and its title was “Losing the Love”. Good ole google!

Next, I looked it up on YOUTUBE and found a nice vid clip made by an anime buff with the lyrics as subtitle (similar to videoke vids minus the dancing ass-naked creatures or the ultra-boring “emote” mode actor wannabes)…. so enjoy!

And here’s the lyrics too!

Losing The Love

There are days when I regret it
The things I said to you
I put my trust in no one
It broke my heart and I blamed it on you
You were kind and oh so gentle
But I refused to see
That someone like you existed
I was somewhere in denial
While you were loving me

I cried myself to sleep last night
When I woke up
There were tear stains on my pillow
It hurt so much to sacrifice what I gave up
Without you in my life
I will always feel lonely
Losing the love
From someone like you

Not a day goes by without something
Reminding me of you
The truth is that I miss you
It gets so hard not being with you
There are times when I go crazy
In the twilight of the night
How I long to be your woman again
There’s pain that I hold
That will not let me go

I cried myself to sleep last night
When I woke up
There were tear stains on my pillow
It hurt so much to sacrifice what I gave up
Without you in my life
I will always feel lonely
Losing the love
From someone like you

I don’t wanna make this too hard
But I just wanna be where you are
In your life, by your side, forever

I cried myself to sleep last night
When I woke up
There were tear stains on my pillow
It hurt so much to sacrifice what I gave up
Without you in my life
I will always feel lonely
Losing the love
From someone like you

Surviving Valentine’s Day: Guide for Singletons

Soooo.. Valentine’s Day is here again! Here’s another blog on how to survive the “single awareness day!”.. Awesome!

1. Buy yourself a flower and send it to your office addressed to you… When you arrive, fake a surprised “oh, flowers….” while giving everybody a mischievous grin and pretend that you are really happy because someone special or a secret admirer actually gave it to you ! Red roses are too common.. Try red tulips! They’re expensive (and thus put some pogi points on whoever sent it) and will actually look good on your pink shirt (wearing pink on V.Day means you’re in love daw! how lousy is that??)

2. Write yourself a card and have it sent through the mail (addressed to you of course!).. Just wear inconspicuous clothes while hunting for a Hallmark card in National Bookstore.. Remember, someone might sneak up on you and “boo!” your secret is out! It would be best if you buy a card from “across the miles” and you can do this by hiring your friend abroad to send you one.. This way you don’t have to drag a guy to your office and make him pretend he’s the one who gave you the card.

3. Prepare the following:

Paper Bags

Paper bags are very useful! You can use it to spy on people who’s got no dates on V.Day.. Just put two holes for your eyes, wear it on your head and sit nonchalantly on mall or park benches. Once you’ve spotted one interesting, hot damn mama (or papa), why not ask him or her out. I’m sure s/he’ll appreciate your fashion statement! And hey, the paper bag does look good on you! NO, don’t remove it.. Oh please, no.. waaaahhhh.. MUMU!!

You can use the bag for left overs from your dinner date (supposing you had one even if it was with your “smug married” or “in-a-relationship-yada-yada” friends!)

You can tear it into pieces and eat it for your dessert (if you’re out of moolah!) and pretend they’re actually some nice crackers! This way you don’t get fat (remember SUMMER is 2 months away!) and plus the flavorings from the left over should not go to waste, righty??

If you’re unfortunate enough to have a date with some random loser, why not use the bag to barf in after eating some “so called food” from “so called cheapaz na restaurant” your date managed to drag you in! This way you keep your figure and save yourself from being poisoned!

You can also use the paper bag to wrap your gift if you’re out of cash! After all, little red heart figurines are expensive these days.. so why spend more on wrappers???

Razor Blade

Razor blades are useful in shaving off extra hair but it can also be useful in cutting yourself in case your “smug marrieds” or “obviously taken but not in love” friends try to get smart on you by setting you up on blind dates with losers. Then pretend that you had an accident and can’t go out as you’re hemophiliac or something and don’t want to scare your date with blood. While you’re at it, buy some fake fingers from Joke Shops and show it to your date in case your sucker of a friend managed to hook you up. Tell him/her it’s actually your finger cut off by a stupid razor blade! If she/he tells you it’s okay, s/he’s lying!


Tsk.. Tsk.. not so fast! While having sex is such a good thing in most days, getting laid on V.Day is not! After all, the inns/motels/parks/bushes are way too crowded and filthy during that day (and so i was told! as if you’d catch me in one of those places, duh!)! So what you and your date can do is simply make balloons out of condoms and use them to smack each other on the face.. That’s more fun than being in a queue inside a pretentious motel waiting with other couples for vacant rooms! I’m not sure if there are still queues along the bushes in Luneta Park though.. huhum..

If you’re not dating anyone, you can still use the condom balloons, tie it with a string and walk it along the road pretending it’s your pet dog (hot dog!)… or you can fill it with your vomit and throw it at people who ask you if you’re dating someone! They should learn not to bother you with stupid questions, them morons!

And finally, eat heart-shaped chocolates and imagine they’re human hearts! Then, wear rugs and put feathers on your head and around your body and imagine you’re some chief and making human heart sacrifices! While shouting Ho Ho Ho Ho.. oh wait, that would be Santa Claus’s..

Dolphin Island, Misamis Occidental, Philippines

Being a beach bum, one of my favorite adventures are to beach/island hop and skin dive. Skin diving is simply diving with mask, snorkel and fins without the aid of compressed air tank. So normally during skin diving, the average depth that you can reach is about 10 feet. Since most of our coral reef formations here in Philippines are “fringing reef type”, most of the coral formations here are quite shallow. One of the good places where one can do such activities is the Island of Mindanao. The Island of Mindanao offers majestic and breathtaking sites where one can soak in the sun, go white water rafting in rivers, spelunk, hike, dive, island hop, trek etc..If you want to dive to some coral reef formation, go TARZAN among mangroves (exaggerating!), feed fishes and swim with them then I recommend you go to the Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park in Sinacaban, Misamis Occidental!
I have attached here some of the pictures my friends and I took during our escapade there!
How to get there?
If you’re from outside the Philippines:
Take a plane going to Manila. From Manila, take another plane to Dipolog City which is about 3 hours away from Sinacaban going south by bus. An alternate route is by barge from Manila to Ozamiz City. Ozamiz City is the capital of Misamis Occidental and is about 30 minutes away from Sinacaban by bus. Get off the bus when you get to Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park (MOAP). You can always ask the driver to get you to MOAP as it’s a famous place around the area and plus most bus drivers are nice and accommodating so don’t hesitate to ask for directions!
For more information on how to get there, you can visit this site:
Where you can stay?
MOAP has dorm type and cottage type accomodations.
What you expect to experience?
MOAP has mini zoo where you can find exotic animals such as Philippine crocodiles, bird, tarsier, monkeys and snakes. The zoo is situated right within a mangrove area and the animal cages can be accessed through a network of elevated bamboo bridge. Since the zoo is within a mangrove area it gets flooded with sea water during high tides so that one can also observe fishes, jellyfishes, etc. swimming below the bridge. Aside from the zoo, you can also visit their fish ponds and aquariums that house Philippine Carps, fresh water prawns, lobsters and other yummy fishes. So if you want to eat fresh sea food, just purchase them by the kilo and ask the restaurant there to cook it for you.
Of course, your trip in MOAP is not complete if you don’t hop (figuratively, of course!) towards the DOLPHIN ISLAND! To get there, just cross another bamboo bridge towards the floating restaurant. This restaurant is situated on the sea (hence, floating) about 100 meters (if I’m not mistaken) from the coast. You can ask the restaurant’s staffs that you want to go to the island and they can arrange the trip for you, it’s that easy! It takes about 15 minutes to get from MOAP to the island on a pump boat or forever if you swim (kidding). If you plan to snorkel, the best time to leave for Dolphin Island is early in the morning during high tide. Once you get to the island, it’s best to order what you want to have for lunch on the island’s restaurant first as it takes quite a bit of a time for them to “process” your order 🙂 Then after ordering for your food, you can cross another network of bamboo bridge to observe the dolphins (hence the island’s name!), tortoises (average length of adults is 1 meter) and other cute and colorful fishes! If you’re not satisfied, you can rent snorkeling gears (mask, snorkel and fins). They are usually cheap so don’t worry about spending a lot.. and actually, you can bring your own gears if you have them.If you’re not a confident swimmer, you can hire a small boat/canoe so you can kayak your way around the island! -) For booking, visit


The pictures I’ve attached here in my blog are some of the the highlights of our MOAP and Dolphin Island adventure last 2006.

Storm Surge in Camiguin

This is a copy of a report I ‘ve submitted lat November, 2007 regarding a storm surge occurrence in Philippines specifically, Camiguin Island.




On November 18-November 27, two typhoons namely, Lando and Mina (internationally coded as Hagibis and Mitag respectively) hit the country with heavy downpour and strong winds. The strong winds and low pressure associated with these typhoons pushed the ocean’s surface to the level higher than ordinary sea level and caused storm surges along most coastal areas of the Philippine Islands.

Storm surges occurred along coastal barangays in Pangasinan, the Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao last November 27 at 7 pm resulting to coastal erosions, floods and damage to properties and deaths. According to PAG-ASA, the big waves that hit these towns were due to the strong winds triggered by the northeast monsoon and the two typhoons.


The two typhoons that hit the Philippine Islands as taken by a satellite. The figure shows the exact location of the two typhoons Lando (Hagibis) and Mina (Mitag) on November 21, 2007.

How does a storm surge occur?

A storm surge or storm tide is the result of piling up of water on the oceans surface as it is pushed by strong winds associated with a low pressure weather system such as tropical cyclones. The water during storm surge is higher than the ordinary sea level, high tide or low tide. However, flooding and coastal erosion due to storm surge are huge when it occurs during high tide. The figure below illustrates a typical scenario during a storm surge.

In computing for the storm surge height, it is important to note of the normal high or low tide, mean sea level and the actual height of the wave. The difference between the height of the storm tide and the normal tide is the surge height. The height of storm surge caused by landfalling tropical cyclones (or typhoons in the case of the Philippines) is a function of a number of factors such as speed, intensity, size of the radius of maximum winds (RMW), radius of the wind fields, angle of the track relative to the coastline, the physical characteristics of the coastline, and the bathymetry of the water offshore.


For the purpose of this blog, these factors shall be lightly discussed in an attempt to explain how the storm surge caused erosion and damage to properties along the coastal barangays of Sagay, Camiguin.

The Study Area

The island of Camiguin is located 10 Kilometers off the coast of Misamis Oriental, Northern Mindanao. It can be reached by taking a bus to Balingoan Port in Balingoan, Misamis Oriental and from there by taking a barge that ply to Benoni Port in Guinsiliban, Camiguin. Coastal barangays can be reached through the circumferential road around the island.

The Island of Camiguin from Afar

Sagay is a 5th class municipality in the Province of Camiguin. It is politically divided into nine barangays namely, Alangilan, Bacnit, Balite, Bonbon, Bugang, Cuna, Manuyog, Mayana and Poblacion. The Municipality of Sagay is bounded on the east by Bohol Sea, on the west by Guinsiliban and Mahinog, on the north by Catarman and on the south by Bohol Sea. Specifically, the coastal barangays of Sagay are approximately bounded by the coordinates North 9° 05 12’, East 124° 45’ 26’’ and North 9° 06’ 37’’, East 124° 42’ 07’’.


Based on the Corona Climatic Classification, the Island of Camiguin is under type II which means that it has no pronounced dry season but has very pronounced rainy season from November to January. Camiguin has an annual temperature of 23.64 degrees centigrade with the lowest temperature averaging at 23.41 degrees centigrade between April and August. The average humidity of the island is 76.77% all-year round. Rainfall distribution of the province indicates that the northeastern part of the island receives an average of 2,300 mm of rainfall, due to the northeast monsoons. The western part of the island receives a slightly lower rainfall of 2,000 mm. Typhoons coming from southeast usually occur between the months of October and January.

Topographic Setting

Camiguin is a volcanic island whose geology and topography is a product of activities of its seven volcanoes, wave action along the coast and constant erosion by rainfall and wind action. The island is the northern extension of the Misamis Peninsula and is part of the Northern Mindanao earthquake epicenter. The highest peak in the island is Mt. Timpoong which rises to about 1, 580 masl.

In general, the topography of the island can be divided into two sections: 1) the steep volcanic terrains in the interior middle of the island with highland plateaus and 2) the narrow and flat lowland terrains along its circumference. There are two islets that surround Camiguin namely, White Sand and Mantigue. Mantigue Islet which is fringed by white sand and coral reefs is located offshore of Mahinog. White island is technically a sand bar that is likewise fringed with coral formations.





The Municipality of Sagay is underlain by three types of rocks: Lava Flow deposits, Airfall Pyroclastics and Recent Alluvium. Outcrops of the lava flow deposits and airfall pyroclastics can be observed along the road from Barangay Liong to Bugang, Sagay. The said deposits were observed to be highly altered to orange-brown soil. In most parts, parent rocks are relatively unaltered or sometimes occur in combination with soil which often forms scree on the foot slopes.

Scree deposits that originated from these rock units and recent alluvium underlie most of the coastal barangays of Sagay. The alluvium deposits along the beach were noted to be made up of well-rounded cobbles, pebbles and very coarse sand in decreasing amount respectively. The coarse-sized nature of the beach deposits usually indicates high energy environment and therefore suggests that strong wave or current action usually hit the coastline.

Geologic Hazards

Based on the Geohazard Susceptibility mapping done by previous workers from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-10, Sagay is susceptible to at least three types of geohazards: Landslide, Floods and Mudflow. Occurrences of tsunami or seismic waves on the island were also reported by PHIVOLCS and the locals. In February 8, 1990, movement along Alicia Thrust Fault in Bohol resulted to magnitude 6.0 earthquake which triggered tsunami or seismic waves that inundated five towns on the southeast part of Bohol. The said event triggered anomalous big waves along Camiguin which is about 50 Kilometers southeast of Bohol. This event would indicate that Camiguin Island is also susceptible to tsunami whenever there are strong tsunamigenic earthquakes along its vicinities.



The team which is composed of Ms. Maria Gracia Collantes and Ms. Joy Christine V. Asis, geologists from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office 10 set out to Sagay, Camiguin to conduct a rapid assessment of the coastal erosion and damage due to storm surge. Each coastal barangay was assessed in terms of the area inundated by coastal flood, number of houses and other structures damaged by storm surge, area affected by erosion and the physical characteristic of the coastline. Locations were taken using a GPS and plotted on a digital map. Pictures were also taken to document the assessment and the damage caused by the storm surge.


Results and Discussions

Occurrence of storm surges is quite common in the Philippines considering its geographic location, proximity to large bodies of water and its archipelagic nature. The Philippine Islands lie within the typhoon belt along western pacific such that about 19 typhoons strike the country every year. The different bathymetries on its more than 7,000 islands become an important factor as to the degree of damage and devastation caused by storm surges. When assessing storm surges due to tropical cyclones, it is important to note of the typhoon’s speed, intensity, size of the radius of maximum winds (RMW), radius of the wind fields, angle of the track relative to the coastline, the physical characteristics of the coastline, and the bathymetry of the water offshore. Since the team was not able to collate enough data on the two typhoons Lando and Mina, this discussion will focus primarily on what transpired during the two typhoon events, on the physical characteristics of the coastline as observed during the assessment and secondary data on bathymetry of Camiguin if available.

It should be noted that when Lando left Philippines Islands towards South China Sea, its maximum sustained winds increased to about 95 Kilometers per hour. While Lando was getting strong, Typhoon Mina (at 140 Kilometers per hour near the center and gusts of up to 170 Kilometers per hour) was devastating portions of northern Luzon on Sunday afternoon, November 25, 2007. However, the devastation was further intensified when Mina “pulled” Lando by doing a dramatic U-turn from the South China Sea and landfalling on Palawan Island. This phenomenon where two tropical cyclones interact with one another is known as the Fujiwhara Effect. This interaction of Mina and Lando and the northeast monsoon resulted to strong winds that caused surface of the sea to pile up and hit coastal barangays as storm surges.

The storm surges in Sagay resulted to damage in properties and seawalls, partially to totally uprooted trees and brought debris towards the road. It is noteworthy that the coast of Sagay is narrow and dominantly lined with well-rounded cobbles. In some parts of Sagay, sea stacks were likewise noted. These two observations indicate that the coast of Sagay is often hit by strong waves and therefore is very prone to erosion. Strong winds coming from southwest and northwest will expectedly result to strong wave currents.



Coastal defense or management is seemingly the best way to mitigate the effects of anomalous big waves such as tsunami and storm surges. An appropriate and well-designed coastal defense will reduce coastal erosion and flooding. The following methods are the components of coastal management:

1) Abandon Coastal Erosion and Flood Prone Areas


This method involves desertion of houses and other properties and let the coast take care of itself. It is environment-friendly and probably the cheapest way to allay the damage of coastal erosion and flood which is by taking people and their properties away from hazard-prone areas. This kind of set-up however may also result to loss of livelihood and money from tourism. In addition, finding a resettlement area is quite difficult in the case of Sagay considering that there are portions within the area that are prone to other geologic hazards such as mudflow and landslide. So in considering for a resettlement area, these hazards should also be taken into account.


2) Construction of Structures for Defense Against Wave Action

There are two types of structures that can be used to reduce the power of wave action: the Hard Construction Techniques and the Soft Construction Techniques. The list below includes all the structures that seem appropriate in the case of Sagay.


A. Hard Construction Techniques

· Groynes

Groynes are any concrete or wooden barriers or walls constructed at right angle to the shoreline. This structure can interrupt or decrease wave energy associated with longshore drift coming at an angle to the coast of Sagay. When longshore drift approaches a groyne structure,it loses energy and deposits sand materials on the updrift side. Once the updrift side has accumulated enough sand wave energy can be further absorbed and thus reduce erosion on portions of the coast protected by the groyne. However, by constructing groyne the normal erosion and deposition process along the coast is interrupted. In the downdrift side, no sand materials are deposited such that there is an imbalance in the depths of water on each side of groynes. In addition, construction of groynes may be expensive as they are usually built in pairs. Groynes can also affect the aesthetics of the coast.

· Seawalls

A seawall is a form of hard coastal defense constructed parallel to the shore and usually built on the inland part of the coast. A well-designed seawall is effective in reducing the effects of strong waves. In constructing seawalls various materials are used such as steel or wire cages filled with pebbles (gabions), reinforced concrete and boulders. Seawalls were observed along portions of Sagay coast. However, in Barangay _______ the seawall was not able to withstand the storm surge that occurred last November 27, 2007. This was probably due to the poor design of the seawall. Seawalls should be monitored all the time as their bases are often attacked by onrushing waves. Seawalls in Sagay can be improved by increasing their heights and using curved or stepped seawalls. Steps and curves on seawalls increase its capability of deflecting and dissipating waves. A pile of boulders can also be added along the base of the seawalls to protect their base from constant attack of waves.

· Rock Armor

To prevent cliffs from eroding and forming sea stacks, a pile of boulders naturally found along the coast of Sagay should be put along their foot slopes to protect them from wave action.

· Gabions

In constructing gabions, boulders and cobbles of rocks are wired into mesh cages and usually put along the coast most vulnerable to erosion or built perpendicular to the coast similar to groynes. When the seawater breaks on the gabion, the water drains through leaving sediments, also the rocks absorb a moderate amount of the wave energy. Abundant amount of these cobbles and boulders can be found along the coast of Sagay. Therefore, designing and building appropriate gabions appear to be a cost-effective method in reducing coastal erosion in the area.

· Offshore Breakwater

This is probably one of the costliest structure that could be built offshore of Sagay. In constructing breakwater, enormous concrete and rock boulders are sunk offshore to filter the wave energies. Waves break further offshore and therefore erosive power is reduced.

B. Soft Construction Techniques

· Beach Nourishment

This technique is done by incorporating or introducing more sand into the beach. Sand is an effective absorber of wave energy such that if a beach line is predominantly sand, coastal erosion is less. The type of sand to be used should be similar to the pre-existing sand in affected areas in Sagay. In addition, the source of sand should be proximal to the affected areas so that the cost of transportation is minimal. However, this technique is only effective if used on the beach where sand is the dominant material. Adding sand to cobble-dominated beach lines is costly as the volume of sand to be added on these should be enormous to serve the purpose of protecting the coast from erosion. Furthermore, sand materials do not naturally adhere to cobbles and boulders being of different properties so that during storm surge these are easily washed away which defeats its purpose.

In areas where the beach is composed of silt to sand, planting mangroves can be done. When these mangroves are mature enough, their roots and trunks can help protect the coast from erosion. In addition, mangroves are important habitat for young fishes and crustaceans so that not only are coastal erosion reduced but marine environment is also enhanced. However, this technique will expectedly take time before the outcome is experienced.

Finally, above all else, the locals should be vigilant at all times. They should monitor change in weather conditions and observe the change in tides every time. Should earthquakes occur within or in the vicinities of Camiguin Island, locals should watch out for any unusual retreat of sea water. Evacuation to higher grounds should be done immediately once retreat of sea water is observed and wait for at least three hours after the first tsunami hit the coast before returning to their houses. During storm surge, it is wise to immediately abandon houses along the coast. If there is a tropical cyclone along with the storm surge, it is wise to avoid sloping terrains where landslides and mudflows are expected to occur. The Local Government Unit should contact the office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-10 or PENRO so that technical staffs will be sent to look further into any geologic hazards that occurred in their respective areas



Besana, G. M., Daligdig, J.A., Abigania, M.T., Talisic, J.E. Insights on the 1990 Bohol Tsunamigenic Earthquake, Bohol Island, Philippines (internet)









The authors would like to extend their warmest gratitude to PENRO Gaudioso B. Malaton and his staffs for accommodating and guiding us during the assessment, and for introducing us to barangay officials and locals. We would like to thank also the locals for having spent some time during our interviews. Finally, thanks to Mr. Abner Padrique, geologist of Crewgold Philippines, for sharing his technical knowledge during the assessment.


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