Ormoc, Leyte: Remembering the Tragedy 20 Years Ago

Ormoc, Leyte. I arrive and I find peace.
Yet peace belies a story that refuses to settle.

leyte ormoc

I listen as I walk in the dead of night.
Sounds that unravel a mystery but ignorance plagues my mind.

leyte ormoc night

I hear silence that echoes thousands of cries.
Cries that were never heard, of souls that remain unfound.

leyte holy week

Spirits reside in your quaint city with shadows that wander about.
How many have remained? How many have moved on?

leyte death

I can offer none but prayers,
For those who’ve passed away and those whose lives are still torn.

leyte church

But amidst the chaos and the loss,
Life goes on.

birds leyte

People have chosen to rise and continue.
To gather broken shards and glue the pieces back together.

leyte boulevard

A breath of new life begins like a walk in the park.
But forever will it be etched in memory, this tragedy that once was and will always be.

leyte new day

Ormoc, until we meet again.
Thank you for the peace, may peace you will also find.

ormoc leyte pier

November of this year, let us commemorate 20 years since a catastrophic flashflood wreaked havoc to the lives in Ormoc. In 1991, around 5000 people (more or less) perished in this calamity due to continuous rains that were brought about by Typhoon Thelma (Uring). This tragedy caused a landslide on a river system that led to the city, washing anything that crossed its path into the sea.


2008, I first stepped foot in Ormoc, Leyte while we were on our way to Dalutan Island in the province of Biliran.

For 2 nights, we spent the hours strolling around, observing the holy week festivity which added more eeriness to the town. Looking for a place to kill time during Lenten season, I simply joined a group of people who already planned their itinerary in this part of the country. There wasn’t much to do as it was, after all, the last days before Easter. But doing nothing was already a holiday itself.Β Despite the history, I wish to go back. Ormoc is a silent city and the people are friendly.

Photos posted were taken using a point and shoot camera. Most are accidental shots when I was still tinkering with the settings. At least I’ve been able to put them to use.





This is my entry to the Pinoy Travel Blogger’s Blog Carnival themed Dark Tourism which is hosted by Gael aka ThePinaySoloBackpacker. Click on the Blog Carnival Logo on the left to see more interesting posts and topics.




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soloflightEd.com is a travel blog by Edcel Suyo. He enjoys performing headstands and crazy stunts during his trips in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Now based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and working to earn a living, he takes time to enjoy the city and travel during weekends.
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35 thoughts on “Ormoc, Leyte: Remembering the Tragedy 20 Years Ago”

  1. @thepinaysolobackpacker: haha thanks gael! chamba nga yung photos, hinalukay ko lang sa album, kala ko di ko magagamit. buti na lang may blog carnival at tugmang-tugma sa theme ng blog carnival. hehe. salamat uli! πŸ˜€

    @lakwatsera de primera: thanks claire! it took me some time to write this (one day), hirap mag-laslas mode. naka ilang replay ako ng radiohead and snow patrol songs. lol.

    @drew: thanks drew! 

    @supertikoy: haha. ayoko na, na depress ako sa blog carnival. hahaha. pero nachallenge nga naman na makagawa ng entry. salamat!

    @bonzenti: thanks sir! haha. ok lang yan. nainspire tayo na magsulat kahit sumakit din ang ulo. hehehe.

    @morion: salamat!

    @mervz:  ey mervz, di ba? mapapacompare ka talaga. lol. bisita ka ng Ormoc. We also dropped by Sabin Hotel Resort. eto yung post ko noon: https://soloflighted.com/2008/03/25/leyte-day-1/ πŸ˜€

  2. @lakbay: kumikitang kabuhayan. hehe. pero salamat dwin!

    @may: thanks May! nangilabot nga ako cause I only knew about the tragedy fully after the trip. I didn't know how many thousands were lost and washed away into the sea! they had to use dump trucks to carry the bodies daw. πŸ™

  3. may ganitong side ka rin pala noh? hehe. actually, kinilabutan ako na nalungkot. love the photos and your poetic side, my friend πŸ˜€ dapat gumaganito ka paminsan-minsan hehe.
    let's all pray for the souls of the victims.

  4. @micamyx: haha, matagal na akong ganito, di ko lang pinapakita sa blog na ito. hehe. and kung nakapagpost man ako (mga ilang entries din), mukhang malabo na makikita mo pa sa daming posts na nasa archive. hehe. thanks Mica, let's indeed pray. 20 years na since that fateful date. πŸ™

  5. Ed,  I love your poetry to bits. Gosh, is there anything you can't do? Even your "accidental" shots are moving and they complement the emotion of the poem so perfectly! In love na talaga ako…sa poetry mo. :p
    And I haven't realized it's been 20 years since that tragedy. Parang kelan lang. I can still remember watching it in the news. Thunders na nga ako. Anyway, my heart goes out to the people of Ormoc who have lost loved ones in that big flood.

  6. @batang lakwatsero: blurry shot lang yan ivan. hehe. yep, I was still 5 years old at the time. πŸ˜€

    @may: didn't realize how tragic this was until a colleague told me about his volunteer work when he was still a teenager and how many bodies he saw at the time. at night they could hear wails of people crying when they were sleeping.

    @AJ: wow, salamat AJ. actually depress-depressan ako nyan. to set myself in the mood. ayokong gawin uli kasi naapektuhan ako. lol. but thanks for the compliment! πŸ˜€ haha. minsan lang ako nagiging poet (pwet – corny na naman) but yes, 20 years since that tragedy that's why i never really heard about it. prayers for the eternal repose of the souls lost..

  7. grabe parang balot na balot ng misteryo yung lugar. Akala ko pacontest ito, paramihan ng makikitang casper at ang iba pang friendly ghost. hahah!
    ganda ng mga ginamit mong words. Elibs! Clap clap! perfect para sa karnabal na ito. And I agree with robbie, natawa ako sa comment ni gael. hahaha!

  8. di nga malilimutan yung nagyari dati. naalala ko nung pagpunta ko diyan pinakita yung canal na kung saan dumaloy yung baha. pero mga pinoy puno ng pagasa kaya masaya't makita na umusbong na rin ang kanilang pag asenso.

  9. @dong ho: grabe talaga nangyari dito. kinilabutan nga ako nung narinig ko ang kwento pagkatapos naming dumaan dito.

    @darwin: bwahahah. minsan lang yan darwin pag may topak ako. hehe

    @renz: thanks renz!

  10. Hi Ed,
    very nice blo entry for blog carnival, I felt like joing too but I dont know how.
    I just started blogging and not really focusing much on travelling yet I have a greate interest on it. Your blogs was one of the blogs that actually inspires me.
    Im giving this a try just incase you can help me to know how can I joint the contest.

    Maulaw ko kay dili pa man ko hawud pero I wanna try coz I found the theme "Dark ttourissm" so interisting.
     Thanks kindly,
    PS: need not to post, just want to get intouch:)

  11. I heard of this tragic event happened in Ormoc  when i was a kid. But I did not know it was Ormoc City. I googled it lately and found out that many people have perished .

  12. I remember watching a traumatic flooding and landslide which killed thousands of people in Leyte (teachers and students) in QTV this month lang. I am not so sure if this is the same with your poetic entry. The pictures looked really sad but real & creepy.

  13. @christeen: thanks for the kind words christeen! I PMed you πŸ˜€

    @chyng: waaa. anong klaseng tragedy shot yun?

    @chinchan: yeah, this happened to me when I was also a kid. it's nice if we become aware of these things cause you can understand the history of a place too.

    @mitch: they had other floods after the 1991 tragedy but I'm not sure how many casualties were also reported. thanks for dropping by mitch.

  14. for some reason, the picture you have , the one with the crowd in blur with yellow lighting reminds me of a scene in my head when reading, the summer solstice [Tatarin] by Nick Joaquin. so weird. =D


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