brings out the unexpected. That’s is the reason we go, right? If we knew what
tomorrow would bring, life would be a bore. Here's one instance of an uncommon
We were asleep -- sound asleep as most people are at 3:00AM -- when I thought I heard
what sounded like a civil defense siren wailing in the middle of the night.
tried to roll over and ignore it, since in developing nations such as the
Philippines, strange sounds at odd hours are common. It's a good reason to travel with ear plugs.
Although the siren wasn’t loud, it continued long enough to make me wonder why, at
three o’clock in the morning, this alert just didn't stop. Finally, I decided to get up and look outside our window.
A big one,
and right on the next block from us. These are small blocks,
and this raging fire was clearly visible from our room. From our window, I assessed
the situation to see if we were in immediate danger. Unless the winds changed
direction and blew towards us, I decided that we weren't immediately in harm's way.
There was all kinds of activity down on the road but as of yet no fire
department was in sight. The siren must have been a call out to the volunteer fire
fighters to wake up and go to work. I saw that Akaisha was still sleeping with her ear
plugs firmly in place, the commotion not rousing her one bit.
about going back to bed, after all, it was the middle of the night and we
had plans for the morning. I laid in bed but I could hear the activity outside
growing along with the sounds of trucks and people shouting orders. I got
back up and now contemplated going outside with my camera. What an
Actually my going out to take pictures was a no brainer, the
indecision was over whether or not I should wake Akaisha and let her know what I
was doing. If she
woke up and I was not here - believe me - I would hear about it, note or no
note. And how was I going to write a note without turning on
lights to find a pen and paper? With it being a little after
3:00 AM, I was still half
asleep and my
mind was working over time.
Akaisha rolled over and lifted off her eye cover blearily asking what I was doing out of
bed. (Whew! I was saved.) Oh, nothing dear, there's just this huge fire down
the street and I want to go take pictures. This got her attention, and not
wanting to miss the drama, she’s up in a flash.
I grabbed my gear and headed out to the action. She watched
- more or less safely - from above.
The heat from
the fire was powerful. I'm in shorts and flip-flops and I could
almost feel my legs and feet being singed. This was a scene I
had only seen on the evening news, and here I was taking photos
Here you can see that the fire department had finally arrived - some water trucks and
a couple of hoses.
The blaze was
so great, however, that the man power and water supply were no
match for it.
The fire did
jump across the street to the next block but the winds
were still blowing parallel to our hotel so there was actually no danger. If it
had been an
issue, believe me, I would have been back to our room and we would have been out of
there. But my
adrenaline was pumping. I didn't want to miss a thing!
The fire was
just raging! How could I leave this now?
direction from the Fire Chief.
devastation was complete. Nothing much was left of these
buildings when the fire was finally put out.
got the whole town roused up from their slumber.
I must have
been gone twenty or thirty minutes by now and figured I'd had
enough so I headed back to our hotel. There I found Akaisha
outside with both of our backpacks and all the belongings she
could carry! The hotel had set off the fire alarm and evacuated
It was now well past four in the morning and all of the hotel guests
excitedly talking and buzzing around. There really was no need to go back to bed now.
The commotion continued on well into daylight. Basically from what I could
tell the fireman did their best to just contain the fire but no way had the
resources to put it out. This is the view from our hotel room. That's how
close we were!
Here is the
view from our hotel window the day before the Great Dumaguete
Fire. The building on the upper left with the turquoise stripe
is the building which burned. Who would have known?
This is a view of our hotel
standing from the place of the fire the next morning. We had a
corner window view.
Even in the
morning, truck by
truck they still filled up with water from this water tower. We could
see this action from the top floor
of our hotel where the open-air restaurant was located.
cooled down the scavengers took over. People found value in the
charred remains of the buildings.
Later on in
the morning, people were still milling around and gawking.
carpenters came in to board off the area.
day and another photo opportunity while traveling!