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By Francis Allan L. Angelo and Tara Yap

ILONGGO passengers who survived the sinking of SuperFerry 9 told tales of heroism and tragedy during their ordeal in the seas off Zamboanga peninsula.

Wilfredo Bunda, 51, a native of Iloilo City who has been living in Sultan Kudarat, was one of the unlikely heroes of the tragedies.

Bunda recounted that when the passengers were jumping off the ship, an Army soldier who was carrying his 2-year-old child approached and asked him if he could hold on to the child as the soldier will jump in the water first. 

Bunda agreed, held the child and lightly tossed the baby to the father. But the father was far from where the baby fell. Rescuers later picked up the baby and loaded the child on a lifeboat.

A few minutes later, Bunda saw 8-year-old Mic Mars Balasa of Ungka, Jaro, Iloilo City.

The boy was holding on the ropes in the left side of the tilting ship. The child hollered to Bunda if he could stay close beside him as they would abandon the ship.

“Daw nahadlok man siguro si Mic Mars nga siya lang isa mag lumpat (I guess Mic Mars was scared to jump off the ship by himself),” Bunda said.

Bunda immediately took the child by his side. Together, they jumped off the ship and waited a few minutes for a rubber boat to rescue them.

Inside the Iloilo domestic port, the Balasa family hugged and thanked Bunda for saving the boy.

“Kanami lang sang pamatyagan naka bulig ako salbar sang kabuhi sang iban kag indi lang ang akon nga kaugalingon (It’s a great feeling that I was able to help save the life of others and I wasn’t just looking to save myself),” Bunda added. 

Balasa said he got separated from his father Marvin when they scampered to get off Superferry 9. They later learned that Marvin was safe in Zamboanga City.

Glen Bermejo, 31, of Maasin, Iloilo held on to his 89-year-old grandmother, Irene Samis as SuperFerry 9 listed and eventually sunk off the coast of Zamboanga.

Bermejo said they were sleeping in their bunk when they heard a loud bang around 2am Sunday.

Bermejo said they waited on the sinking boat until 8am when rescuers arrived and loaded them on a lifeboat.

“I held on to my grandmother because she is very old. I did not leave her until rescuers arrived,” he added.

Wedding gone awry

Three ladies who were supposed to be part of a wedding entourage arrived in Iloilo City Monday with nothing but the clothes on their back.

Jasmine Gozy, Leah Gomez and Mary Lynn Taculod of General Santos City are thankful that they have survived the ordeal, but are still trying to locate their friend and bride-to-be Femelyn Servando.

The SuperFerry website listed Servando as one of the passengers who has been accounted for but her location cannot be ascertained as of presstime.

Servando is set to marry a man in Passi City and the three lady survivors were to be her bridesmaids. 

The family of Paterno Orbina, 64, of Brgy. Tabucan, Cabatuan, Iloilo continues to hope that he survived the sea mishap.

Orbina, his wife Eufemia and niece Gina Guadalupe were on their way back to Iloilo when the accident happened.

Only Eufemia and Guadalupe were accounted for while Paterno is still missing.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo and Tara Yap

A VILLAGE chief from Leganes, Iloilo was one of the casualties in the sinking of Aboitiz-owned SuperFerry 9 off Zamboanga peninsula early Sunday morning.

Emilia Golveo, 71, punong barangay of Cagamutan Norte, Leganes, Iloilo was confirmed dead by her family Monday morning.

Golveo and her husband Gideon went to Surallah, South Cotabato August 26 to attend the funeral of a relative.

Golveo’s grandson Rainier said their grandparents informed them around 3am that the ship was listing on its starboard (right) side.

“We told her not to panic and to securely tie her life jacket. We also advised her not to separate from Lolo whatever happens. But we could sense that she was afraid,” Rainier said.

The Golveos later heard over the radio that their grandmother was one of the casualties after rescuers found her DILG ID card.

Golveo’s remains were brought to Alisbo funeral homes in Bacolod City yesterday.

Golveo was village chief of Cagamutan Norte since 1997. Members of the barangay council went to their residence Monday to condole and give moral support to the bereaved family.

Leganes Mayor Adolfo Jaen sent a vehicle that will fetch Golveo’s remains at the Dumangas port from Bacolod City via the roll on-roll off vessel.

Meanwhile, a total of 49 SuperFerry survivors arrived in Iloilo City 10am. They left Zamboanga onboard SuperFerry 5 Sunday and arrived in Bacolod City 8am Monday.

From Bacolod City, the survivors boarded a fast craft bound for Iloilo City.

Upon arrival at the Iloilo City domestic port, the Aboitiz management in cooperation with the Philippine National Red Cross gave medical assistance to the survivors.

Joel Ybañez, Aboitiz Transport Co. area manager, assured that the survivors and families of casualties will be provided ample assistance.

Ybañez said the survivors will receive P11,000 immediate financial assistance from the company.

Seven additional survivors later arrived via plane Monday afternoon.

Another 119 rescued passengers are expected to arrive in Iloilo City 5:30am today aboard SuperFerry 1 which departed Zamboanga 11pm Sunday. Another 56 rescued passengers bound for Manila are in the same vessel.

The ill-fated SuperFerry 9, which carried approximately 1,000 passengers, was bound for Iloilo City and left General Santos 10 am Saturday. It sank off the coast of Zamboanga del Norte Sunday morning.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

WARNING: Swindlers are more sinister than evil spirits and monsters.

The LaPaz police is hunting 3 Atis who allegedly scoured P18,000 from a dentist in Iloilo City.

The story began when the suspects passed by the house of the complainant who asked not to be identified.

The Atis told the dentist that their house was plagued by malevolent creatures and spirits.

The suspects then suggested to exorcise the creatures from the dentist’s house by reciting a special prayer (orasyon) for seven days. The prayer has special powers that can drive away the evil creatures from the dentist’s house.

The Atis also told the complainant to offer fruits, black candle, flowers and P18,000 cash inside an envelope.

When the suspects received the offerings, they did not return to continue the special prayers. The P18,000 cash inside the envelope has been transformed into worthless newspaper cutting.

The complainant described the suspects as between 13-20 years old.

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