Lagonoy River, Philippines - Helen Nolasco

One of the first times I remember worrying for someone’s life was when I was around 14 years old.

I was with my uncle, brother, and a few cousins. We were on our way to our local beach walking through the rice fields and had to cross a creek – a tributary of the Lagonoy River. It was early in the morning. We didn’t realize the creek was quite deep. The bridge to cross it wasn’t really a bridge – it was actually a tree trunk of a coconut tree. If more than one person was crossing, the tree trunk would wobble so only person could pass at a time. Most of us were wearing slippers, but one my cousins was wearing clogs. No surprise, she slipped and fell off the bridge and into the creek. I remember her being underwater for a while, but I’m sure it was just a few seconds. When she finally emerged, my other other cousin quickly ran back onto the bridge and helped pull her out.

That was the first time I remember feeling any kind panic. I really didn’t know what to do – I don’t think any of us did. Ever since then, we never took this route to the beach again.

Ruby Pajares
Helen Nolasco

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