Anything Under the Sun
The Sinking of MV Don Juan (5)
MV Tacloban City rescued 320 passengers and picked out 12 dead. Its sister tanker, MV Laoag City had 506 survivors and 10 dead. Both tankers left the tragic place at 1:00 o'clock in the morning and landed at daylight at Batangas City. MV Don Julio, a sister ship of MV Don Juan which left Manila, passed the place and joined in the rescue work and brought back to Manila 80 dead and transferring 62 survivors and 74 dead to another sister ship, MV Doña Florentina en route to Iloilo City.
Inside MV Doña Florentina which left Manila two hours after MV Don Juan were two women who nearly made it to MV Don Juan. One was the mother of the MV Don Juan male nurse. She had already her baggage on the ill-fated ship but at the last minute she changed her mind and took MV Doña Florentina. She lost all her baggage in MV Don Juan.
The other lady from Bacolod City together with her husband was about to board MV Don Juan to attend a civil case hearing in Iloilo City. But while she was about to step on the boarding plank, a strange feeling overcame her and she told her husband no to pass Bacolod City but to go directly to Iloilo City. So, she took MV Doña Florentina instead.
The next day, her name appeared in the newspaper as one of the passengers in MV Don Juan manifest causing great anxiety to her family in Bacolod and Iloilo.
When the news of the tragedy broke out, seven vessels and ten aircrafts including helicopters of the Philippine Navy and the United States Navy participated in the search and rescue operations covering 20 nautical miles off Maestre de Campo Isle facing the town of Gloria, Oriental Mindoro.
The lucky and the unlucky
The horror of the tragedy is in seeing many people die before one's eyes. A 21-year old student saw "many persons die before my eyes." But most horrible is to see a loved one die. A man hugging his 8-year old daughter lost his grip on her. Before his eyes, she slipped and disappeared into the dark sea. A teenager witnessed the drowning of her teenage older sister. A man saw his father swallowed by the sea after their raft capsized.