Tragic Realities in the Narratives of Washi (Sendong) Survivors

Authors: Merceditha Alicando, Nelia Balgoa (Mindanao State University, Iligan Institute of Technology, The Philippines)
Speakers: Merceditha Alicando
Strand: Narrative and Metanarrative
Session Type: General Session


This study examines the tragic realities in the personal experiences of the Sendong (Typhoon Washi) survivors in the three worst-hit barangays of Iligan City. Forty (40) oral narratives from the Sendong survivors were gathered through audio-recording. These chosen survivors were aging twenty-one (21) to thirty-one (31) years old in consideration of the reminiscence bump theory of Rubin, Wetzler, and Nebes. To determine the tragic realities, the different narrative elements were identified first, employing Labov and Waletzky’s narrative schema model. Each schema then was analyzed to determine the tragic realities experienced by the survivors.

Based on the findings, it is quite evident that though the informants have survived the deadly typhoon, they suffered and, worse, are still facing its long-term effects even today. Right after the typhoon, the survivors had to endure the inconveniences in the congested, chaotic, and disordered evacuation centers with insufficient water supply and sanitation problems. They also dealt with relief and cash aids controversies like difficulty of getting relief goods, the abuse of power, and the unfulfilled promises on relief and cash assistance. The findings also reveal that these survivors went, and some are still going through psycho-emotional conditions despite the fact that the catastrophe took place during 2011. After the devastating flood, many of the survivors were in pain as they felt helpless in saving their loved ones while other informants lost some of them. Most of them also experienced, and a few still suffer, from post-Sendong traumas

Finally, the study shows that though many of them are relocated already, still they are facing dilemmas in their relocation sites, such as the long wait for the relocation, the lack of water supply as well as source of income, the clash with some non-Sendong survivor occupants, and others. In conclusion, this study has redefined the idea of Sendong being not just as a natural tragedy but also as a social, economic and political disaster collectively experienced by most of the Sendong survivors in the worst-hit barangays of Iligan City.

Keywords: Sendong narratives, Conversational narratives, Tragic realities, Narratives of personal experiences.