The launching of “Haligi ng Harayang Pilipino (Pillars of the Filipino Imagination)”, a travelling exhibit about Gawad ng Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA) national artists organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), was interrupted by a strong earthquake at exactly 3:16 PM last Saturday, September 8.
Guests, performers, students, teachers, and some GAMABA awardees present moved outside the Arrupe Hall as the ground started to shake.
Ms. Linda Osman Weaver, one of the T’boli performers who were not able to finish the dance, said she felt dizzy and was shocked.
“Nagstop ako. Pa-exit kami, nag courtship (dance) man kami ni Edgar kanina. Ang lakas-lakas talaga (ng lindol), tumingin ako doon sa taas akala ko bumagsak na iyon, hindi pala. Tumakbo na kami,” she said.
Weaver added they would not be able to continue their performance anymore because they were scheduled to return to Lake Sebu and others to Zamboanga by tomorrow.
“It was unpredictable. The plan of the Office of the President is to continue the launching on Monday during the National Artist Talk. It will be still facilitated by the NCCA and the Office of the President,” Mr. Jesus Montajes, founding director of Ateneo Sidlak Performing Arts Collective (ASPAC), told the Atenews.
All Ateneo performers were not able to perform. They were rescheduled to present on Monday during the said talk where students would be given the chance to have a face-to-face discussion with some of the GAMABA awardees.
The earthquake was measured to have a 6.4 magnitude according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs). Intensity 5 was felt in Davao and Mati.
Meanwhile, students undergoing PE classes at the Martin Hall rushed down the stairs and flocked in front of the Bellarmine Hall and Jubilee Building.
“Ang ceiling fan kay kusog kaayo bitaw ug labyog pati tung lights didto sa taas,” a first year Psychology student said.
Erol Ceniza Jr., an International Studies student, swung his arms, noting the ceiling fans already resembled swinging pendulums.
“Imong madunggan nalang jud sa taas (Martin Hall) no kay ‘Lord, Lord, Lord’,” he said.
During the launching of the art exhibit, University President Fr. Joel Tabora explained in his opening remarks that art is not always as expected.
“Sometimes art is dark, disturbing, and distressing. Depicting experience truth as it shocks and criticizes. As truth is not always beautiful, so is art, not always beautiful,” he said.