The Great Manila Earthquake is Coming, and Prayer Won’t Stop It

Shortly after the Loma Prieta Earthquake hit California in 1989, I remember the Philippine Daily Inquirer running a lower-right column headline about a stronger earthquake that would hit the Philippines in the near future. True enough, the great Luzon Earthquake of 16 July 1990 struck with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter Scale. Indeed this was stronger than Loma Prieta’s 6.9, and it also claimed the lives of around 1,700 people. The worst hit major city was Baguio, which was virtually isolated from the rest of the world for day after the quake, and with aid coming mainly from the US Armed Forces that had bases in the country at that time. People old enough to remember the quake still perhaps have memories of the giant hotel buildings collapsing into heaps of rubble all over Baguio, especially the grand Hyatt Terraces. As a world-class international tourist destination, Baguio never really recovered after the 1990 quake. Though I was still only in elementary school at that time, I can still remember much of what I as a Baguio native had to go through when a major cataclysmic event would strike. The Bohol Earthquake of 2013 is still fresh on many Visayans’ minds; I hope that the recovery there is swift, and that they can learn fast from experience.

baguio_earthquake_1990

Metro Manila was spared in 1990. A moderate earthquake hit the City in 1998, but this caused only the most minimal of damage. Twenty-five years after 1990, however, I have doubts if Manila and its environs would quickly recover from something that is inevitable. Recent headlines have emphasized the long overdue future shifting of the West Valley Fault, and that a quake as strong (or perhaps even stronger) than that of 1990 would strike Central-Southern Luzon at any time. The Philippine Institute of Vulcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and the Department of National Defense (DND) have projected that when a major earthquake strikes the capital, deaths can run into the tens of thousands, and the economic losses can potentially run into the trillions of pesos. In other words, if the residents of Manila don’t act up soon, they’re quite literally and figuratively f–ked.

So how exactly are people reacting these projections? Not very well it seems, based on these articles. Here are a few sample comments:

  • Wag ng mag sisihan….magdasal na lng tayo (“Don’t blame each other, let’s just pray.”)
  • walang imposible sa Dios ipanalangin nating hindi mngyyari. (“Nothing is impossible with God, let’s pray that this doesn’t happen.”)
  • In JESUS name sana wag matuloy (“In Jesus’s name, wish that it doesn’t occur.”)
  • GOD will not allow it to hapen,LORD pls hev MERCY on US !
  • May God and with intercession of mama Mary prevent this Amen.
  • READ THE BIBLE. THE END IS NEAR. JESUS IS COMING BACK AND GOD’S JUDGEMENT IS SURE. ARE YOU READY??

…ad nauseam. Clearly a lot of Filipino internet users would rather turn their backs on the scientific reality of things and resort to blind religious faith. Now I’m no atheist, but to ask higher powers to “stop” something from happening or to “spare” people isn’t exactly the best kind of prayer to offer, and it definitely isn’t a good application of religion. No amount of “hashtag pray for the Philippines” would stop billions of years of geologic activity. Filipinos should be quick to be reminded that Nepal, one of the most religious nations on Earth, was recently hit by TWO major earthquakes, one striking a week after the first. If any devout Filipino Catholic reading this would claim “Oh, but Nepal is a Hindu country,” then look no further than the 2010 earthquake that hit Haiti, a predominantly Catholic nation. That calamity claimed more than 200,000 lives, and Haiti has barely recovered afterwards.

Manila was slow to respond to a PREDICTABLE disaster in 2009. Religion and triumphalism couldn’t save it then, religion and triumphalism would not save it when the West Valley Fault gives way.

Fine, the Philippine government might be a shitty cesspool filled to the brim with money-grubbing fat-encrusted blowhards, but that doesn’t excuse the private citizens of Manila (or any Filipino, for that matter) from physically preparing for its own Big One. Understandably, the government can only do so much. If your house is within at least 50 feet of the West Valley Fault, then you need to get the hell out of there. If you plan to buy real estate, make sure that your property can withstand any kind of sudden natural disaster (such as an earthquake or tsunami), and try your best to buy insurance as well. Retrofit your property, or ask your landlord to do it for you. Participate in disaster drills, and be aware at all times where to go when disaster does strike. This blog might help, for those with questions about locations in and around the West Valley Fault.

The Filipino “bahala na” attitude should not apply. In any case, when (not if) the earthquake does come for Manila, buildings will fall and people will get killed; only you would determine if you’d want to be a fatality or not, and the blame will (and SHOULD) fall on yourself. Anderson Cooper may have talked about “resilience” when typhoon Haiyan struck Tacloban, but religious fatalism won’t cut it this time.

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Post Author: MidwayHaven

But enough about me.

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71 Comments on "The Great Manila Earthquake is Coming, and Prayer Won’t Stop It"

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Chem
Guest

Great article. Prayers make one lazy to do the practical actions on something.

Kiatan
Guest

Most filipinos think their God will just miraculously weld shut the fault.

omg
Guest

he would need an awful lot of electrodes

Robert Haighton
Member

Thank god, because of this article I dont and wont need to send any money because now you can all help yourself. You all have been warned by MidwayHeaven (no sarcasm by the way).

But I am afraid that when that quake will hit that the Philippines is in need of a lot of foreign aid.

mrericx
Guest

In the near future, Manny Pacquiao will become a god for the Filipinos and many stupid people will worship him and our country will still be in misery.

Rumble McSkirmish
Guest

I wonder what them folks are gonna call it? Pacquioaism? Mannyism?

colbey007
Guest

You can accuse me looking at the glass half-empty; but it’s scenarios like these as to why I will never consider investing in a “condo’ in Manila/Makati.

MidwayHaven
Guest

That’s okay. From a purely economic perspective, even if those places weren’t in an earthquake zone, the Philippines is already entering a housing bubble dilemma.

Chris
Guest

I never found a condo in the Phil. to be a good investment. Overpriced. Inconvenient to get to.

11HHayyden007Toro
Guest

Nobody can stop, or predict an Earthquake, accurately.
The Marikina Fault Lines will surely move , if a tectonic earthquake, will occur.

You cannot control the movement of this Planet Earth. You cannot stop natural calamities from happening…we are destroying this Planet Earth, our Home. So, it is fighting back, with natural calmities.

ChinoF
Member

Pastors I know preach that prayer should be accompanied by action, along with the mention of the passage, “faith without works is dead.” Pray, then prepare.

nagtatanong_lang
Guest

Amen to that, ChinoF.

viah lopez
Guest

Very true. “Bahala na” isn’t a prayer. You should pray for the strength of your umbrella, and not for the rain to stop.

WinterSoldier
Guest

I certainly agree on that.

Zemino
Guest

Now that’s a routine worth copying.

domo
Guest

Amen ChinoF. God already gave us a brain to think independently and that gift of His to us will be a total waste for failipinos if they just always ask God to solve their problems while all they do is nothing but hayahay.

crackedmeme
Guest

‘failipinos’ I see what you did there.

Ricardo_Diaz
Guest

As Filipinos would rather turn to delusion than face reality, this is going to bite the country hard, big time. And if Manila is crippled, I can’t help but wonder what will happen to the city.

It turned into a colossal wreck after decades of being “free” and the complete opposite of what it was during the Marcos Era. But after this disaster… I won’t be surprised if it looks like something out of Mad Max.

Realist
Guest

You are damn right it will be like Mad Max if/when that damn fault decides to move! Tacloban is a far smaller city yet people rioted and looted in the wake of Yolanda! What more Metro Manila?

We should be preparing for an 8.5 magnitude rather than just 7.2! The Fault hasn’t moved in so long so it’s only prudent to expect more intensity than what is being forecast!

saboteur
Guest

reminds me of upcoming movie for this year: San Andreas starring Dwayne Johnson

mher
Guest

With your respect.. If you will be ask with same question, what will you do?.. at least most of the filipinos think God, ask for God’s help.. yes the danger is eminent but with God’s grace this might turn to slow, less intensified earthquake, you can lower the force if you prolong the time of occurences, as physics says, and that might God will do.. And there are still others that God can do for those who believe in Him.. Anyway, God answers prayers in different ways..

Kiatan
Guest

That’s the problem they only think for some invisible deity to spare them, why won’t they act? Maybe because if they act to prepare for the quake it will be like defying the plan of their so called “GOD” so they would rather die for his grand plan.
Really? we can lower the force by praying? Haha! Why don’t you give that awesome advice to the geologists(specially the foreign ones).
Oh please! God does not always answer all prayers, there is just so many humans asking for it.

MidwayHaven
Guest

God certainly didn’t “lessen” Haiyan/Yolanda’s intensity, and Tacloban is a very religious city.

Simple _Citizen
Guest
I agree with you ChinoF up there.. When we pray we must have faith and faith includes action for faith without action is dead..Read James 2:14-26 .. So we must pray to God and at the same time we must prepare for what is about to come. Yet in preparing, we must prepare not just in physical things but more important in our spiritual life. For we may survive this earthquake but still we’re all gonna die and we will face His judgement (Hebrews 9:27New International Version (NIV) 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that… Read more »
Amaya jannah
Guest

Ameen…

Irineo B. R. Salazar
Guest
Even before the earthquake happens – I remember Ruby Towers early 1970s from childhood – Manila may sink due to too much groundwater being taken out. The place is overbuilt, sea levels are rising anyway. And from what I have read Manila Bay is drowning in garbage anyway. Luzon has a way to high population density anyway – better emphasize growth in regional centers like Cebu and Davao, even Tuguegarao, Legazpi or Subic if it has to be Luzon, unclog Manila before it is too late. God helps those who help themselves – MORE than he helps those who just… Read more »
benign0
Admin

In short, addressing earthquake preparedness now is like building a house on sand. There are fundamental infrastructure issues that need to be developed in the Philippines to serve as robust foundation for higher-level disaster response capability development. You can’t invest in the share market if you haven’t paid your credit card debt, in short.

Jin
Guest

Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa!

Serge
Guest

If he was merciful, he would’ve put 3/4 of the populace there out of their misery. No, God is a cruel asshole who enjoys watching people suffer.

Aaron
Guest

This post is leading some people away from God…i know we cant stop natural calamities but God can lead us the good path during a disaster and its true that nothing is impossible with God.So we just need to be prepared and pray.

not sure
Guest

how many times have god personally lead people out of disasters? I only saw people risking their lives for other people and god nowhere to be found? Couldn’t he have used his divine powers for some salvation or whatnot? Perhaps prevention or something else… Face it assuming god is real then either god is dead, god is angry emotional and punishing us for some undisclosed reason, or god doesn’t care but what would be the point of worshipping a uncaring god then..

biffa bacon
Guest

Are you shitting me??? Ask your landlord to retrofit your building ???? Move away from the fault ??? Ask 20 million people to participate in emergency drills??? Are you talking about Manila,Philippines,or some other planet??????
GET REAL !!!

biffa bacon
Guest

Its way too late to do anything!!! Manila cant even deal with a rainstorm !!! How on earth do you REALLY think this is going to unfold,if a giant earthquake strikes????…take a good look at the Birch Towers in Malate…it looks like it will topple over if you move your furniture around….Oh no..its way too late for retrofitting etc..im not necessarily criticising your article,your intentions are good,but Manila is a house of cards,built on unstable ground,and full of shoddy buildings that do not remotely meet any kind of codes…..

biffa bacon
Guest

Besides,preparation involves planning for the future,unfortunately a concept which is beyond the grasp of most filipinos….Govt.agencies set up to enforce building codes,emergency preparedness,doling out supplies,etc,exist in name only,and are nothing but a hollw,emptied out facade…..

LK25
Guest

There was nothing people can do anyways, you can’t hate them for being scared. I mean what else should they do besides being prepared and wait for the inevitable? come to think of it, our house is decades old and i’ve seen some cracks, and we don’t have the money for renovation in case it happens here. i guess i better pray too lol.

eternal mangekyō sharingan
Guest
eternal mangekyō sharingan
The said great earthquake waiting to happen in manila was already opened up by JICA to the philippine government long time ago, they just ignore their warnings. this was already shown on tv also a long time ago. They (government) just opened the topic to create a scare tactics for the filipino people to turn their focus on other topics and foget about the passing of the BBL, and it worked. The filipino people just turn their heads on another topic for a second about great earthquake and then BOOM the congress approves the BBL. An indian friend of mine… Read more »
biffa bacon
Guest

Excellent points !

d_forsaken
Guest

Organize, don’t agonize.

Anonymous
Guest
Neither right nor wrong – the fact that the writer is trying to convince people not to be convinced by the beliefs of others is a way of showing bias for what he believes in and showing disrespect for the people who want to believe what they want to believe in. Prayer can be a tool for uplifting our spirits. Can it not be seen as such alone? Yes, we must be aware and prepare for the worst but that shouldn’t be something to replace prayer or lessen the amount of the way we manage our faith. A better way… Read more »
Robert Haighton
Member

Why do you call something disrespectfull what is just a plain fact?
Pls get your act straight. Make sure your house is quake proof so you dont have to cry me a river when your house is gone to rumble. Or do you really expect god will keep your house intact?

Anonymous
Guest
It is disrespectful indeed, sir. Why? Belief is something we all have and we all have differently. The fact that each belief is different and we’re trying to bash on what others believe in is useless. I did not say that God will keep anything intact. Please stay on track of the argument when trying to prove a point. I am not for any sides here because too much dependance on religion is not a good thing and bashing on what others think is also not a good thing. That is my point here. In filipino, ano pakialam ng iba… Read more »
Robert Haighton
Member
For me, there is a big difference knowing YOU did everything to protect yourself from getting killed/injured (by an earthquake or landslide or tsunami or typhon or whatever) and did everything to protect your house from getting destroyed (by an earthquake or landslide or tsunami or whatever). Only then I will consider sending donations/aid. But if/when I know all you did is rely on god (or allah or buddha or who ever imaginary) then I wont do anything. So there is no meeting in the middle and there is no middle way. In other words: only you and you alone… Read more »
MidwayHaven
Guest

Where is it exactly where I mentioned that prayer must be replaced?

Dale Jose Gozar
Member
GOOD GOVERNANCE is a vital/key component in coping with these problems. Links below was my Competition entry 5yrs. ago (Design Against the Elements) for Climate Change Adaptation, Disaster Risk Reduction & Preparedness, Earthquake, Fire and Flooding which our President (Noynoy Aquino, Government and NGO ignored or simply did not care understand. But after experiencing numerous disaster every year with increasing no. of deaths, casualties & damages (Ondoy, Sendong, Pablo, Yolanda) – recently our Government (Dinky Soliman & Napoleon Nazareno) is now slowly implementing and copying my no.1 recommendation in my presentation: COMMUNICATION To avoid PANIC, LOOTING & CHAOS – it… Read more »
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